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Posted at 9:30 AM ET, 12/24/2009

Celeb splits: Why we take them to heart

By Liz Kelly

Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins in 2000. (AP)
Gallery: Sarandon and Robbins

Bah humbug. We just didn't see it coming. Like them or not, most followers of celeb relationships have long kept Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins firmly planted in the (short) list of happy and healthy Hollywood relationships. That ended yesterday when, through a publicist, Sarandon announced an end to the couple's 23 years together.

Most of us know what a good relationship looks like. And, unfortunately, the opposite. A bad match is usually visible miles away. We've either been in -- or party to -- pairings that result in infidelity, shouting matches and general ickiness. Which is why we're so quick to judge when it comes to celebrity couples. No matter how far removed we may be from the world of red carpets and gated Hollywood homes, we've all got definite ideas about the love-styles of the rich and famous.

Conventional wisdom: Brad and Angelina -- tenuous; a passionate love that may burn out as quickly as it burned through Pitt's love for ex-wife Jennifer Aniston. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes -- a sham match made in a Scientological test tube and sealed by a rigorous prenup. Victoria and David Beckham -- sure they're pretty, but also seem to be pretty in love. You get the point -- these things are usually a cinch to call. We see splits, like that of Madonna and Guy Ritchie, coming miles away.

But Sarandon and Robbins were, as one of my friends put it on Facebook, a couple for the ages -- akin to Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward or Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. This wasn't supposed to happen. And so it's dispiriting. How, we wonder, can we possibly trust the shelf-life of our own relationships if Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins can't make it? It's just that much more jarring when this comes from a couple that seemed so, well, solid.

Where one went, the other followed. They bonded on their passion for political activism and raised three happy kids. There were no blind items in the New York Post hinting at late night strip club calls for Robbins or cabana boys for Sarandon. And, unlike the recent bust up of Tiger Woods's happy family, no parade of mistresses has come forward to tarnish the image of either party.

There was simply... nothing. The way things look now (and I grant that could change depending on any further details), Sarandon and Robbins just fell out of love. Their relationship ran its course. And so they've moved on. And while they've had months to get used to the change, they chose to break the news to us on Christmas eve eve, like a wistful Santa sneaking in to fill our stockings with coal, but not because we've been bad. Just because.

And, like it or not, "just because" is as good a reason as any other for a relationship to end. No matter how uncomfortable that may make us feel, the tragedy of this break up is that it holds up a mirror to our own relationships and forces us to realize that we are all equally vulnerable to "just because."

By Liz Kelly  | December 24, 2009; 9:30 AM ET
Categories:  Celebrities  | Tags:  sarandon robbins, susan sarandon, tim robbins  
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the real reason is dunbar's number... we use celebs as proxies so we can find common societal ground. speaking of common societal ground - i have to stop hiding from my family now... merry xmas all ;)

Posted by: quintiliusvarus | December 24, 2009 1:04 PM | Report abuse

I'm sad for Susan and Tim, because I like them both very much.

But why would I feel the need to compare my 24-year marriage to their relationship?

Does my non-celebrity status make my commitment less?

Does one need to be a star to have a stable relationship (now, that's funny) and the rest of us can only bask in their example and feel somehow threatened when their light goes out?

And since when are celebrities the barometer by which other peoples' relationships are measured?

I really like you, Liz, but that statement really surpassed absurdity.

Posted by: jhershelredpuppy1 | December 26, 2009 9:34 PM | Report abuse

I'm having Celebritology withdrawals already!!

Posted by: wadejg | December 28, 2009 11:27 AM | Report abuse

You must be at work too wade like I am. And like you, I'm also having withdrawl pains of Celebritology-interruptus. Yike.

In other news, Roman Polanski is 'deeply touched' by letters from supporters. I'd say he's way more than deeply touched, he's gone off the deep end. How that man is allowed to have children is a travesty.

Speaking of jail, where Roman ought to be, it's where Charlie Sheen spent part of Christmas for, guess what!, a 'domestic situation', where he wielded a weapon of some sort. When will he ever learn.....
isn't age supposed to help make one wiser?

Couldn't Dave Barry be fill-in Celebritologist for the week? or Gene? someone? anyone? isn't there an obit writer there over the holidays?

Posted by: agog1 | December 28, 2009 11:44 AM | Report abuse

Here ya go, agog:

Lowlights of a Downer Year: Dave Barry on the money, madness and misery of 2009

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 28, 2009 4:13 PM | Report abuse

Couldn't Dave Barry be fill-in Celebritologist for the week? or Gene? someone? anyone? isn't there an obit writer there over the holidays?

Posted by: agog1



Let's see if this helps, Gog:

Halle Berry, Colin Farrell and Matthew Fox have been added to the list of presenters at the Golden Globes. (Although in Halle's case, they're more honey-brown than golden.)

Brooke Mueller says Charlie Sheen threatened her because she said she wanted a divorce; he says the fight was about his daughter Sam. (At least they both agree that the maid on 2.5 Men is really annoying.)

Headline at E!Online: "Eric Dane & Rebecca Gayheart Are Having a Girl!" (Yeah, we know; the video came out a couple of months ago.)

Tyra Banks is ceasing production of her daytime talk show to focus on re-runs. (No, really - The Hollywood Reporter says, "Warner Bros.... confirmed that it will stop producing originals at the end of this season and will air "The Best of 'The Tyra Banks Show'" on the CW next season.")

Turns out it wasn't really a picture of JFK on a boat full of naked ladies. (Nobody would have been more disappointed than JFK himself.)

Susan Boyle will perform a duet with opera singing legend Andrea Bocelli for a UK reality show called "Pop Star To Opera Star". (Let's hope that show makes it across the pond, because if there are two things American tv viewers love, it's opera and women with mustaches.)

[Dave Barry, Gene, someone, anyone, the obit writer and Liz Kelly will return next week, presumably. Until then, we'll have to make do.]

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 29, 2009 12:52 AM | Report abuse

That whole Charlie Sheen thing gives me the squeems. Someone put some chlorine & Prozac in his dating pool please.

Posted by: wadejg | December 29, 2009 8:01 AM | Report abuse

if you can't even agree on what the argument is about, you probably shouldn't be married.

I like the maid. I remember when she was on the original ER, with George Clooney as her nephew.

Posted by: epjd | December 29, 2009 12:01 PM | Report abuse

The housekeeper is played by Conchata Ferrell, who's originally from West Virginia (i.e., semi-local gal). She's really a marvelous character actress, but I agree that the best thing re her role on 2½ Men is that it doubtless pays her bills with cash to spare.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 29, 2009 2:26 PM | Report abuse

So now Taylor Lautner and Taylor Swift are just friends. (Just as well - when two Taylors marry, you never know who hems the pants in the family.)

A source close to Brooke Mueller says that a divorce from Charlie Sheen is "a possibility." (Also a possibility: that she'll take Connery's advice from 'The Untouchables' and fight back the Chicago way next time.)

Denise Richards tweeted that "one day" she will "spill [her] guts about EVERYTHING." (For some reason, this makes Martin Sheen much more nervous than it does Charlie.)

Jon Gosselin's lawyer says that Hailey Glassman is going to jail, "as simple as that," for vandalizing Jon's apartment. Hailey's lawyer points out that she hasn't even been arrested and calls Gosselin's lawyer's claim "the most ludicrous, ridiculous, unnecessary statement I have ever in my life heard." (This story kind of feels like an ad for Summer's Eve, doesn't it?)

One of the contestants on the new season of "The Bachelor" turns out to have been shtupping one of the show's crew. (Honey, "Rock Of Love Bus" is taping on the studio lot next door.)

A poll named Megan Fox as the worst actress of the year. (Said she, "What has big thumbs, big cans, and doesn't give a s***? [gestures at self with thumbs] This girl.")

Jude Law seen in the Barbados with former ex Sienna Miller. Leo Dicaprio seen in Mexico with former ex Bar Rafaeli. (So maybe that *was* Hailey in Jon's apartment. One can only hope - and while we're at it, hope that there's a carbon monoxide leak.)

Photos everywhere of Kevin Jonas (I'll have to ask my daughter which one he is) and his new bride. (They look like outtakes from a 'Jersey Shore' photo shoot.)

The guy charged with trying to extort $2M from Dave Letterman says it should be alright because Tiger Woods paid some of his girlfriends to keep shtum. (By that logic, I think Dave's allowed to go after the guy with a 9-iron, no?)

A blogger who says he knows a guy who knows a guy says that Tiger, by the way, had two teeth broken, lacerations and other injuries after Elin teed off on him and the reason we haven't seen him in a few weeks is that he's recovering from plastic surgery to repair the damage. (Perhaps Tiger's paying off his medical bill by helping his doc with his short game.)

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 30, 2009 12:15 AM | Report abuse

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Sunglasses(Oakey,coach,gucci,Armaini) $16
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Posted by: iofferkicks246 | December 30, 2009 8:41 AM | Report abuse

Liz, we have definitely found your fill-in when you go on vacation. Thanks for the morning mix Byoolin. But, where is the afternoon post?

"who hems the pants in the family" needs to go in the Lizard Lexicon.

Jon Gosselin is DESPERATE for attention. And here we thought the kids were being harmed by the cameras in their faces.

Denise and Brooke, maybe you can track down the first wife, and the three of you can do a tv show. It's about three women who work together helping abused women leave their spouses. Every week, a mystery voice calls in and these stars respond "^*&$ off Charlie."

Posted by: epjd | December 30, 2009 9:51 AM | Report abuse

'mornin'! I second ep's nom of byoolin's "who hems the pants in the family" for wider use in the Lizard Lexicon, though it's especially apt for a pair of Taylors.

Does anyone who posts a spam re online sales here really think that any Lizard would shop there? I'd almost rather go nekk!d (hope that gets me past the WaPo filter)...

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 30, 2009 10:11 AM | Report abuse

Anyone else watch KenCen Honors on TV last night? Am I the only who thought the Grace Bumbry tribute seemed too short, while the Springsteen one ran on too long? Why was there an over-produced big-band tribute to Dave Brubeck, whose music is characterized by a spare combo that's able to improvise freely (OK, other than that military groups presumably perform either for free, or at scale)? Sharon Stone (age 51) does appear to have had work done, but still looked fantastic. And Meryl Streep can deliver even a complex reading like nobody's business!

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 30, 2009 10:18 AM | Report abuse

I was wondering about the big band sound for Brubeck too. Though seeing his sons play was kinda cool. He seemed to enjoy it all though.

I think the KenCen Honors folks are trying to be perceived as less stuffy & old fashioned so they went longer with Bruce than with anyone else & shortened Grace's bit. Though these days Bruce could be considered "old."

Speaking of old, I missed the whole Bruce tribute because it was on last!! I fell asleep in the middle of the Grace Bumbry tribute.

Posted by: wadejg | December 30, 2009 10:54 AM | Report abuse

wadejg, that's precisely why I took a nap late yesterday afternoon :-)

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 30, 2009 11:05 AM | Report abuse

Hey thanks for the morning mix, Byoolin!

Kudos Ep, for the new Charlie's Angels spinoff.

Been lurking last two weeks, work has been burying me! I wish a very Happy, prosperous, and peaceful New Year to the inhabitants of Lizard Island!

Need to see about hanging that "No Solicitation" sign on the entrance. Who is Lizard Island Handy-man?

Posted by: hodie | December 30, 2009 11:48 AM | Report abuse

I'd have thought that Lizard Island inventor Elias Howe would also be our handyman, but he's been AWOL for quite some time. Hope there's nothing wrong.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 30, 2009 12:05 PM | Report abuse

There's good news and there's bad news tonight...

Rush Limbaugh was rushed to hospital in Hawaii suffering from chest pains and is said to be in serious condition. (Lucky for him, he got there before any health care reform legislation was enacted, thereby avoiding having to explain to a death panel why he should be allowed to live. He can also count himself lucky that he didn't fall ill in some backwards socialist hellhole like, say, Canada, where he'd have to wait months, if not years, to see a doctor.)

Hello! Magazine's reports that Susan Boyle had two marriage proposals within minutes of landing at Tokyo's Narita airport. "We have not seen scenes like it since the Beatles," said one witness. (Thereby managing to simultaneously insult The Fab Four and the entire population of Japan.)

The Hollywood Insider reports that NBC is in talks to bring back another season of "Last Comic Standing." (You know what's funny? Yeah, neither does Last Comic Standing.)

Something called a "Snooki" passed along, via an interview in Steppin' Out magazine, a message to Domino's, Dell, UNICO and American Family Insurance: "F—k you! If you don't want to watch, don't watch. Just shut the hell up! I'm serious...F—k you!" E!Online quotes from a Domino's spokesperson's rebuttal: "Our first response was, 'What a classy young lady—her parents must be so proud.'" (Normally, I'd be on the side of someone with an axe to grind against an insurance company or any organization with the words "American Family" in its title, but in this case my gut tells me the Domino/Dell/Unico/American Family Insurance group has the high ground.)

Across the river in St. Clairsville, Ohio (or, as they say around here, "out the mall"), that burg's erstwhile police chief has been sentenced to 32 months in jail for stealing stuff from SJP's baby mama. His alleged accomplice, the former Chief of Police of neighbouring Bridgeport, Ohio, goes on trial in January. (This is the most excitement there's been in these parts since the golf carts were set on fire up at the Wheeling Country Club last summer.)

Hailey Glassman says Jon Gosselin physically abused her. His lawyer says, "Jon is a lover, not a fighter. He's been rumored to steal a kiss here and there, but he has never been accused of landing a sucker punch." (We can just re-use yesterday's Summer's Eve joke, right?)

Over at Huffington Post, there's a picture of Bradley Cooper's butt crack. (Compared to the previous paragraph, it's practically tasteful.)

In case I'm not back here later in the day, Happy New Year to you Lizards, and tell your bosses I said you could leave work early today. See you all* in 2010!

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 31, 2009 12:00 AM | Report abuse

* Rush Limbaugh TBA.

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 31, 2009 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Now the Sheens want to reconcile.

Posted by: wadejg | December 31, 2009 9:14 AM | Report abuse

byoolin, you do us all a great service.

Happy New Years Lizards, take a note tonight, not only is it a full moon, it is also a blue moon with a partial eclipse.

Posted by: DorkusMaximus1 | December 31, 2009 10:03 AM | Report abuse

Why would Brooke Sheen need an attorney to protect her from charges of filing a false report? DV victims reconcile with their abuser all the time, none of them are charged. The incident still happened. Something tells me the pre-nup is involved somehow.

Happy New Year, Lizards. See you in 2010.

Posted by: epjd | December 31, 2009 10:23 AM | Report abuse

byoolin, you've done yeoman duty for us Lizards today in Queen Liz' absence.

[Limbaugh] can also count himself lucky that he didn't fall ill in some backwards socialist hellhole like, say, Canada...

Rush and the President both in Hawaii at the same time. Coincidence? I think not.

(or, as they say around here, "out the mall")

Why, is it gay? Or are your tri-state locals just adverb-challenged?

a blue moon with a partial eclipse.

How often does that occur? And no, "once in a blue moon" is not an adequate reply.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 31, 2009 10:26 AM | Report abuse

"Or are your tri-state locals just adverb-challenged?"

Other quaint local idioms:

Un- or misconjugated verbs: "Oh, sure, I seen it. I come up the road there, and I told my wife, 'that guy needs stopped before he kills someone.'"

Pronouncing words like "mile" to rhyme with "mall": TV & radio commercials for local dentist Dr. Wylie sound like exhortations to see Dr. Wall-E.

Pronouncing words like "rolled" and "told" to rhyme with "rode" and "toad": Now, re-read to yourself the sentence, "Oh, sure, I seen it. I come up the road there, and I told my wife, 'that guy needs stopped before he kills someone."

Posted by: byoolin1 | December 31, 2009 11:02 AM | Report abuse

byoolin, do you think are these derived from speech patterns that were brought to Appalachia centuries ago by English and Scots immigrant? Are there similar patterns in Anglophone Canada? Vaguely reminiscent of some of the speech patterns of old-timers in the DC area and Chesapeake Bay Area. (in re this: Sas and other old-timers, do you remember Mal Campbell of WRC?)

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 31, 2009 11:20 AM | Report abuse

Let's try that first sentence again (this is my punishment for rewriting without rereading):

byoolin, do you think these are derived from speech patterns that were brought to Appalachia centuries ago by English and Scots immigrants?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 31, 2009 11:22 AM | Report abuse

Our friend from WV also says that the locals say "woof" instead of "wolf" & "pen" & "pin" are pronounced the same way too, "pin" being how both are pronounced in his old neck of WV, which was Terra Alta.

It's also a "crick" not a "creek."

I'd say yes Nosy, the Scotch/Irish/English influence would be at work there with those pronounciations.

Posted by: wadejg | December 31, 2009 12:14 PM | Report abuse

wadejg, my grandfather-in-law, a native of Eastern Kentucky, and his whole family spoke a lot like that.

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 31, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

So Rosie (who has four kids) is now dating a gal with six. Wasn't Octomom available?

Posted by: Nosy_Parker | December 31, 2009 3:09 PM | Report abuse

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