Today is Ben Affleck‘s forty-second birthday, and since we’re always looking for ways to help out celebrities on their birthdays, what better way to assist Ben than with a helpful guide on how to divorce your wife in Hollywood?
Don’t get us wrong, we think Jennifer Garner is exactly as awesome as the rest of you do; it’s just been made crystal clear over the past couple years that Ben Affleck doesn’t feel the same way. Any time he does an interview or gives an Oscar acceptance speech, he makes sure to slip in a subtle little dig at Jen, and we here at Crushable have been following those little gems across the internet for months now. We’re like a pop culture Hansel and Gretel.
And as much as we want them to work out, I think we all know from experience that some relationships just aren’t made to last, and sometimes the best thing you can do is get out in a way that doesn’t make either of you look or feel too bad. It’s hard in real life, but it’s harder in Hollywood, particularly in a relationship between two famous people, when you have to factor in the effect on both your reputations.
Ideally, it’s mutual, and you can do a conscious uncoupling, but WHEN IT’S NOT and you’re married to someone as squeaky-clean, popular, and scandal-proof as Jennifer Garner, there are some very delicate factors to work around, which we shall discuss below. Here are all the elements that have to be in place before you can divorce your wife in Hollywood.
1. She can’t be pregnant.
Like, at all. Celebrity dads can get away with a lot — like thinking changing diapers is their only responsibility — but walking out on a pregnant lady is not one of them. There’s a special place in the collective memory bank of the public for dudes who bailed on women who were carrying their children, and no one’s a better example of that than Billy Crudup. There will never be a time when I don’t hear his name and go, “Oh! The dude who dipped out on Mary Louise Parker for Claire Danes when she was seven months pregnant with his kid!”
2. She has to have her body back.
I know you just got done waiting nine months to let your single flag fly, but you gotta hold it down a little longer or else you’re gonna get a serious public shaming for ditching a woman for gaining a few dozen pounds around the midsection. Sure, she isn’t currently a receptacle for your celebu-spawn, but you’re looking for a moral victory here, right Future?
3. She has to be killing it career-wise.
You’re familiar with the term ‘kicking someone when they’re down’, right? Well don’t do that. This person better have at least one big project coming up the pipeline, or else the only thing they’re going to be asked about for the next five years is this relationship. Just look at Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt — that divorce was handled perfectly in almost every other way, but because Jen was coming down off the success of Friends and could never hope to have another hit that big, we’re still talking about her breakup, ten years later.
4. But not more so than you are.
Ideally you should be at the exact same level of fame, otherwise there’s gonna be talk that your masculinity couldn’t handle your significant other being more successful than you. Don’t believe me? They weren’t even married, but look at the way the Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult breakup has been spun, that he was jealous of her popularity and couldn’t handle it anymore. Might not even be true, it’s just inauspicious timing.
5. Announce it on a day when something else important happens.
I call this ‘finding an eclipse’, and it’s both delicate and controversial. You basically need to lie in wait until someone more famous than you does something as or more interesting than what you’re doing, and sneak your thing in behind. It’s an art pioneered by Megan Fox, who gave birth on the same day as Reese Witherspoon, and thus had no paparazzi in or around the hospital, breaking the news to the public. The thing is, when you’re super super famous like Ben and Jen, sometimes the only thing more important than your divorce is the death of a celebrity…so be careful with that.
(Also in a pinch, anytime after 4:30 in the afternoon on a summer Friday will do, because all of us bloggers are trying to get out of the office and into our weekends post-haste. I’m pretty sure 4:57pm is the sweet spot, so shoot for that.)
6. If you must cheat, cheat once.
Yo, if you cheat on your partner and actually leave them for someone else, prepare to be with that person for the rest of your life or forever surrender your cred. Not to cite Brangelina again, but think about how poorly-viewed Brad would be now if he’d hooked up with Angelina Jolie for a few years and then moved on. He could really never be taken seriously again, ala John Mayer.
7. And not with a family member.
Can’t believe I even have to write this, but Woody Allen ruined it for everybody forever. If you really feel you must leave someone, DON’T LET IT BE FOR A MEMBER OF THEIR FAMILY. Specifically their daughter. No one will ever get over that, I’ll make sure of it.
8. No mud-slinging.
This is the final and most important rule, and also the one most commonly broken. If you’re the person in a marriage who decided to end it, don’t you dare ever get comfortable and think it’s safe to talk shit about them, because it will not be well received. Looking at you, Jesse James. There will never come a time when anyone wants to hear word one from you about what a terrible wife Sandra Bullock was. Just never gonna happen.
Okay Ben, did you catch all that? It was a lot to take in, but it’s really important that you nail every aspect of it. You can never actually win a breakup with Jennifer Garner, but if you work really hard and follow each of these steps to the letter, you may at least break even after a couple years. Maybe.