THE Irish golfer Rory McIlroy announced the end of his relationship with tennis star Caroline Wozniacki just as the news came as Coldplay’s latest album, Ghost Stories, inspired by the breakdown of Chris Martin’s marriage to Gwyneth Paltrow, raced to the top of the download charts.
Yes, it’s been busy in celebrity splitsville. But what lessons can we learn from the break-ups of the rich, famous and newsworthy?
- DO BE DISCREET
There are many celebrity strategies for coping with the public end to a private relationship. Other stars take the “please respect our privacy at this difficult time” approach.
Gwyneth Paltrow gave the English language a new euphemism, and many people a new reason to dislike her, when she announced that she and Chris Martin had – like a couple of railway carriages that joined in the night – performed a “conscious uncoupling”.
None of this might seem to have any bearing on the lives of us less famous folk, but these days, social media exposes us all to the glare of other people’s scrutiny.
Word of advice: Restrict tear- stained venting and bemoaning to your real friends, in real life, not your virtual buddies in cyberspace.
As for Rory McIlroy, the press conference at which he confirmed his parting from Caroline Wozniacki was nicely judged. He was restrained, yet clearly wounded. He had, however, committed a serious faux-pas – which leads to the next point:
- DON’T LEAVE HER, OR HIM, AT THE ALTAR
Rory McIlroy says he left Wozniacki just days after the couple had sent out their wedding invitations because that “made me realise that I wasn’t ready for all that marriage entails”.
You dropped her while the invitations were in the post. “Ouch!” doesn’t begin to cover that perfect storm of rejection, embarrassment and abject humiliation.
Men can feel it, too. In 1991, Kiefer Sutherland was dumped by Julia Roberts just days before their wedding.
The experience sent him into a downward personal and professional spiral that was only arrested when he made the drastic decision to man up by becoming a professional rodeo rider for two years, before returning in triumph to Hollywood.
- DO BE GRACEFUL UNDER PRESSURE
For the gold standard in how to do it, consider Neil Diamond. His songs may be schmaltzy, but when he and Marcia, his wife of 25 years, divorced in 1995, he was a real stand-up guy.
First, he took responsibility, saying: “25 years on the road, working in studios all night, I think a woman needs more attention than I was able to give. I blame myself absolutely.”
Then he was generous with both wallet and spirit.
- DON’T BE DRUNK AND DISORDERLY
Mel and his wife Robyn divorced – at a cost of more than £250-million (R4.4-billion) to him – because he was having an affair with Russian singer-songwriter Oksana Grigorieva, with whom he had a daughter, Lucia.
When that relationship went sour, Mel phoned Oksana to tell her that he wouldn’t mind if she were “raped by a pack of n——–”.
The pair then had a fracas that led to him being accused of domestic violence, before he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge of battery.
- DO RESIST THE TEMPTATION TO BOIL BUNNIES
Perhaps because they tend to be perceived as victims of male aggression, promiscuity and irresponsibility – avenging wives have been granted a certain licence. However, ladies, epic female craziness is not a good look.
- DON’T WASTE YOUR MONEY ON LAWYERS
There’s an old Jewish story about two men who fight over which of them owns a cow. One of the men pulls the cow by the tail, while the other tugs frantically at the poor beast’s horns. The lawyer sits in between them, milking the cow.
That is exactly what can happen when lawyers become involved in the aftermath of a relationship.
- DO POUR IT ALL INTO YOUR MUSIC
Sad songs mean so much – and they sell so well, too.
For those of us who don’t happen to be rock stars it is, of course, acceptable, and even obligatory, to join in with our favourite tragic tunes.
Once again, however, discretion is the key. Singing in the shower, yes.
Wild, chardonnay-fuelled caterwauling at a karaoke night, no thank you. – The Telegraph