As you will no doubt know by now, Angelina Jolie yesterday filed for divorce from Brad Pitt. The couple, who have been together for nearly 12 years and married for two, are now the words on everyone's lips. Trying to find ANY article not about them on the Mail Online this morning was nearly impossible and Twitter is awash with memes of people crying and Jennifer Anniston celebrating. To a lot of people this is more than just a news story, this is 'end of an era' news and is being treated as such by the media.
Suddenly anyone who has ever seen them across the street is a 'source', anyone with the blue tick on their Twitter account is a 'close friend' and as for Brad and Angelina themselves? Oh well, where do I even start? The Golden Couple have fallen from grace, and man don't we just love it when people fail?
It's almost as if journalists everywhere have been waiting for this: in the last day the words until recently used to describe Angelina, such as, 'strong' and 'inspirational', have now changed to 'jealous' and 'bitter', Pitt, previously 'handsome' and 'supportive' is now 'reliant on substances' and 'angry', and of course their previously 'adored' adopted children are now, and I'm ashamed to quote, nothing more than a 'collection of trophies'. The entire life that these two built for their family has seemingly over night burnt to the ground, and there are hoards of people ready to dance on the ashes. It's disgusting.
In England and Wales in 2015, statistics showed that just over 40% of marriages ended in divorce, a massively sad figure that is probably doubled when you are talking about people in the public eye. Every day we read about another 'celebrity split', to the extent that I have started to wonder if any of it is real anymore or if it's all just done for PR. But Brad and Angelina have, to my mind never been part of the 80% celebrity group, instead, falling into the 40%ers.
11 years ago Brad famously left Jennifer Anniston to be with Jolie, but since then, I've actually heard very little about their relationship other than various adoptions and of course Angelina's famous double mastectomy, during which Brad stood by her. From time to time we were 'treated' to some grainy photos taken through a ridiculously long lens into their sitting room which showed the couple 'fighting' (shock horror - married couple fight... stop the press!), but other than that - nothing; no rumoured affairs, no abuse claims, no animosity... until now.
Because up until now we couldn't infiltrate their fortress, they were too strong, so we didn't bother, but we've seen a crack in the foundations and we're ready to storm them quicker than you can say divorce.
Whatever has happened between these two is heartbreaking, they did NOT get together for our entertainment, and therefore cannot be treated in the same manner as Hiddleswift or any other fleeting reality TV romance. They've been together for over a decade, they have raised six children, they have built a life together, a life that is NONE of our business. And if you won't do it for them, do it for their children, who not only have to go back to school tomorrow knowing that their parents are splitting up, but that the whole world knows too, and has something to say about it.
No doubt women will come out of the woodwork now to claim affairs, speculation will be made as to their parenting abilities and every line of their divorce settlement will be leaked to the highest bidder one by one, but amongst all of this madness, we need to do our bit to remember that at the end of the day, this a real family that we are prepared to tear apart.
Yes, it IS the end of an era, yes Jennifer Anniston fans are having their fun and yes, because we are in the public eye we do feel that we have a right to pass judgement. But we'd do well to remember that we don't and that in the middle of this there are six children and two parents who could probably do without this.