Reports stating that Hollywood golden couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are getting divorced have shocked pretty much everyone (likely including yourself), and it's easy to see why. As far as celebrity couples go, Brangelina were the gold standard. Sure, they had a slightly shaky start — they began dating hot on the heels of Pitt's divorce from Jennifer Aniston in 2005, and, as a result, rumors of infidelity marred their perfect romance. But, despite any early negativity, the pair quickly earned their own portmanteau (Brangelina, it's legend) became one of Hollywood's most coveted, down-to-earth couples, with a real focus on family and charity work. But now that they're breaking up, I have to wonder about everything that's going to change in the wake of their split: Like, if Brangelina started the couple name trend, does their break-up signify the end of an era now?
In this day and age, it's common place to portmanteau celebrity couples as soon as they start dating. But, back in 2004, when rumors about Pitt and Jolie's love life began to float around, it was much rarer to merge the names of couples who were dating. While there may have been some tentative attempts to portmanteau couple's names before that (Bennifer?), Brangelina cemented the trend, and ensured that it became a necessary step in any Hollywood courtship. With the likes of Kimye and Hiddleswift entering our lives on the regular, we've become complacent to it. But if Brangelina divorce, will the couple name trend end with them?
Clearly, it's going to take some time for us all to come to terms with the idea that Brangelina might be over for good. Considering they were together for almost 12 years, it's going to be tricky accepting that Brangelina no longer exists.
So, what does the end of Brangelina mean, exactly? Despite effectively starting the celebrity name trend, the couple isn't the most famous portmanteau anymore. Arguably, the rise and rise of Kimye has eclipsed the comparatively low-key Brangelina, and despite the brevity of their union, Hiddleswift's name became instantly legendary.
I have no doubt that we'll continue to invent names for celebrity couples, even though Pitt and Jolie are divorcing. The name Brangelina has always been a shining example of how well portmanteau can work, and became such an important part of the couple's identity in the public eye. One of the reasons it worked so well was because, in tandem, Pitt and Jolie's first names fit together perfectly, sound dramatic in unison, and roll off the tongue easily. That's not always the case (TomKat jarred, for example), but it's the reason the name Brangelina has endured for as long as it has.
Sadly, Brangelina is over, but the era that the couple helped to invent isn't. Pitt and Jolie proved just how united a celebrity couple could be, and embraced their joint identity. They've inspired a whole generation of couples to enjoy having their names merged, and it's a trend that will continue for years to come.