Katy Perry and Russell Brand: The Starter Marriage
Why did Katy Perry and Russell Brand get divorced? It’s certainly not the most shocking of celebrity splits. The combination of a beautiful pop star and a zany British comedian never seemed like the most stable match. The couple married after about a year of dating in a romantic Hindu ceremony in India and divorced a year after. Shockingly, they hadn’t signed a pre-nup, perhaps letting romance get the best of them. Rumors have circulated that Russell’s womanizing ways lead to the breakdown of their marriage. Perhaps it was the excessive demands of their respective careers, constant travel – or just not knowing one another well enough before tying the knot. But there is one thing that can be said for sure – Katy Perry and Russell Brand had a “starter marriage.”
Pamela Paul’s landmark book, The Starter Marriage and the Future of Matrimony, explains, “Starter marriages, like all marriages, are meant to last forever. But they don’t. Instead, they fizzle out within five years, always ending before children begin. Starter marriages usually start young. While the age of Americans entering marriage has increased slightly over the past century, many people still marry in their early to mid-twenties. Starter marriages end young too, with divorce papers often delivered before the thirtieth-birthday candles are blown out.” One of the central premises of Paul’s book is that Americans look to marriage as a means of personal fulfillment. If marriage does not seem to be all you thought it would be, it’s easy to throw in the towel and cut your losses. Many young people go into marriage thinking it will be just like living together, and when they find out that it’s not, they become disillusioned.
In Russell Brand and Katy Perry’s case, it is likely that they were swept up in romance. It is likely they focused on how they made each other feel, rather than looking long term at the hard work marriage requires. Pamela Paul’s book makes the point that most people in starter marriages are totally unprepared for the pitfalls of marriage. You may fall in love with a man in your early twenties, and by your late twenties to early thirties you – and he – are completely different people, with divergent goals, interests and values. No one goes into marriage thinking it will fail. Certainly Russell Brand and Katy Perry didn’t, otherwise they wouldn’t have married in the first place (or at the very least they’d have thought about drawing up a pre-nup.)
Perhaps the overriding message of Pamela Paul’s book and the Russell Brand/Katy Perry marriage is: take your time. There is no harm in waiting a good long while to make a permanent commitment. Furthermore, both participants must enter marriage with realistic expectations. Starter marriages are like meteors bolting through the sky, disappearing almost as soon as you can see them. But for those who have endured a starter marriage, there is a silver lining. Just like starter houses, starter marriages can teach you what you really want, and what to avoid the next time around. Katy Perry famously signed her divorce papers with a smiley face next to her name. She knows there are brighter days ahead.
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