I'm a Better Dad Than Him. . .

Revisiting the Collective: Who’s the Winner in These Famous Celebrity Divorces?


(CS: This week will be a whirlwind finishing client projects and finally starting my short story, so it seems like a perfect time to do another revisit of my Collective Publishing articles. I have no memory of writing this one, but it was obviously during the period when I was focusing more on the celebrity part of pop culture as that was raking in the views for a site that desperately needed them to stay afloat. My guess is it was also posted around the same time I did the famous weddings.)

I hate to sound the cynic here, but once you’re in the spotlight, everything seems to be about career advancement. Celebrities will get married in an attempt to further their careers. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to assume they get divorced for career advancement too. If that is the case, then obviously one member of the split will likely end up more successful than the other. 

Here is a look at six famous splits, and who ended up coming out of the bigger success after the relationship ended. (CS: Yikes! There is no way I'd write something that feels so clickbaity and smutty to me now. Yet, I clearly was fine with being paid for it back in 2012.)

Katie Holmes & Tom Cruise: When news broke of the divorce, Holmes was immediately painted as the loving mother who was running away from the crazy cult of Scientology to protect her daughter. The tabloids talked about her being a brave woman, and the discussion went on about how this separation could be a career renaissance. A few months later, talk shifted to gossip about Suri wanting to live with Daddy and others accusing Holmes did the whole thing to resurrect her film career. After all, it was a little suspicious that a few days after the divorce was announced there was news about Holmes producing and starring in a film about a single mom. There still doesn’t seem to be any massive projects lining up for Holmes, but Cruise has several potential blockbusters awaiting him for the next few years including another Mission Impossible and a Top Gun sequel. (CS: It took almost a decade for Top Gun: Maverick to soar into theatres, but it ended up being one of the most significant and impactful movies since this article was posted.) 
Jennifer Aniston & Brad Pitt: Aniston's greatest achievement since the split has been keeping a rocking body that she has proudly displayed half nude in several magazines. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to protest a hot woman showing some flesh, but finding creative ways to cover herself with a men’s tie hasn’t convinced any more people to actually watch her movies. (CS: Bah! Aniston is super talented, and I've since liked quite a few of the movies she has starred in since this article.)  Meanwhile, Brad Pitt has become one of the most respected actors of this decade and piled on several big hits since their 2005 split. On the other hand, when Pitt’s The Curious Case of Benjamin Button faced off against Aniston’s Marley and Me in cinemas, it was the former Friends star and the dog who claimed the box office throne. 

Scarlett Johansson & Ryan Reynolds: This match-up isn’t even fair, and it is like a baseball game between the New York Yankees and the Friday Beer league runner-ups. Reynolds got to wear a CGIed green outfit and star in an atrocious Freaky Friday knockoff. Johansson co-starred in this year’s highest-grossing film (The Avengers). I love to support my fellow Canadians, but this was a blowout. (CS: Not the case anymore, as Reynolds is one of the biggest stars in Hollywood now thanks to his success with Deadpool.)

Cher & Sonny Bono: 1975 was the year the famous performing couple could no longer honestly say to each other “I Got You, Babe.” For a little while, the divorce harmed both musicians’ careers since The Sonny & Cher Show didn’t hold the same appeal when it was two divorcees singing love songs to each other. The ‘80s became the decade Cher’s career was strapped to a rocket ship and blasted to the top of the universe. The decade not only brought platinum-selling albums like Heart of Stone, but she also shocked quite a few people with stunning film performances including her Academy Award-winning performance in Moonstruck. As for Bono, he was really successful as being known as the guy who was once part of Sonny & Cher

Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz: Thanks to the power of reruns, they are one of the most popular couples of all time. The famous I Love Lucy couple can likely be seen somewhere in the world today around lunchtime or the late hours of the night. The couple actually were able to remain friends after the divorce, but it also motivated Lucy to always play unmarried women in all her shows afterwards. Arnaz was rarely seen in front of the camera after the divorce, but his production company produced hit shows like The Andy Griffith Show, Dick Van Dyke Show, The Lucy Show and Star Trek(CS: Though the couple inspired a few recent movies, documentaries, and mini-series.) Lucy just continued to be one of the most famous TV stars of all time, and even today is remembered as one of the greatest comedians ever. 

Kate & Jon Gosselin: Much like Sonny and Cher, their divorce hurt their TV show (Jon & Kate Plus 8), which is likely the only time I’ll compare these two to successful celebrities. Jon essentially faded completely from the spotlight and now is a construction worker. Kate may still be grabbing the spotlight, but that isn’t the same thing as being successful or popular. I’m sure she’ll be making cameo appearances in reality shows for the next 20 years because TV channels have to air something even if no one is watching. (CS: I just checked, and Kate is still appearing on Reality TV in 2024.)