For those of you still in mourning over the Brad and Angelina breakup, know you're not alone. When a long-term, A-list celeb couple calls it quits, it can impact the general population in a major way; we all idolize celebs to some extent, whether for their acting chops or their gorgeous faces. Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie's relationship history is an integral part of late '90s/early '00s pop culture, and it's undeniable that the alleged Brad-Angie-Jen love triangle is one of the most controversial in celeb history. Whether you count yourself as part of #TeamJen or #TeamAngie, though, one thing is for sure: The news of Brad and Angelina's divorce came as a shock, especially given reports from People that Brad Pitt is allegedly being investigated for allegations of child abuse. (Bustle has reached out to reps for both Pitt & Jolie, but did not hear back at the time of publication. We will update this story if and when we hear back. )
"Brad and Angelina have garnered the attention of the public since they began living together and ultimately married," Scott Trout, CEO of Cordell & Cordell, tells Bustle. "They captured the fascination of the public simply because they have been seen as the power couple of Hollywood and because the majority of fans felt they would make it as a couple. Now with the salacious leaks as to the [alleged] reasons for the split, it has fed the frenzy of a couple who seemed to be above all of the Hollywood fray."
It should go without saying that no matter how rich and famous you are, everyone's private life deserves respect, especially during difficult times. But when you're in the public eye, it unfortunately means you might be subjected to some (often unwanted) opinions about your relationship. Even for us common folk, breakups and divorces can be tough to navigate, especially when all you want to do is curl up and cry. Brad and Angelina's split is just another reminder that relationships, particularly marriages, take hard work and dedication to keep healthy.
I spoke to divorce lawyers across the country about Brad and Angelina's breakup, and they chimed in with pieces of advice we can all use about making a divorce as amicable as possible, in spite of the circumstances.
1. Remember That Marriages Are Complicated
"[Brad and Angelina's split] serves as another reminder that outward appearances don’t always tell the whole story," Ed Dombroski, a managing partner at Travers | Dombroski PC, tells Bustle. "Marriages are complicated. We need to be careful not to oversimplify the relationship dynamics at play for these two. Sometimes the public creates an image in their minds of what celebrities’ lives are like, based on very limited access into their worlds. At their core, celebrities no different than the rest of us — human emotions and struggles are pretty universal."
Although Brad and Angie are multimillionaires with illustrious careers, they're not immune from problems the rest of us face in relationships, too.
2. Don't Procrastinate
If your first instinct is to put off the unpleasant (yet inevitable) compromise that follows any breakup or divorce, it might be worth your while to bite the bullet and tackle those realities ASAP. "Brangelina’s split might be coming off the tail of some heated arguments, but the sooner you can smooth through disagreements, the easier — and cheaper — the divorce process will be," says Josh King, Chief Legal Officer of AVVO.
You might want to curl up and cry (and there's no shame in taking time for that, too), but it's a good idea to get ahead of the game when it comes to all the legal stuff. You'll thank yourself in the long run.
3. Consider Counseling
Whether you're separated, divorced, or just working through a rough patch, it's always a good idea to get professional help to work through your feelings. "Just as divorce these days comes in many shapes and sizes, so does counseling," King says. "You can get it online or in person. You can do it in a group or as a couple. You can read self-improvement books together. There are different options at different costs."
Ending a long-term relationship can bring up lots of complicated emotions: grief, guilt, anger, sadness. Be open to the idea of speaking to a counselor throughout the process; they will be able to help you sort through some of the feelings you're experiencing.
4. Protect Your Reputation
TMZ reported Thursday that Brad Pitt is allegedly being investigated for allegations of child abuse, which is a huge shock for anyone who thought of the Pitt-Jolies as a model family. Though the LAPD has said they aren't investigating Pitt and none of these allegations have been confirmed, it's clear that the divorce process will be messy, and will impact both Pitt and Jolie's reputations going forward. "The problem for Brad is far larger than just a divorce," Trout says. "He now faces damage to his reputation with allegations of drug and alcohol use resulting in perhaps violent behavior, even toward the children. This complicates his divorce strategy significantly in that he isn’t just fighting for his kids; he is now faced with the task of restoring his career and public perception."
Divorces often bring personal issues into the public eye, even for non-celebs. It's important to have a good lawyer who can help you navigate all the drama that might unfold.
5. Put Family First
"If a relationship fails it is natural to want to play the blame game," says Jeffrey Savitt of Win-Win Divorce Solutions. "But the best way to proceed is to put yourself in the mindset of protecting the emotional framework of the family, specifically the psychological well-being of the children." Every couple with children (Brangelina included) knows that the number one priority is keeping your kids healthy and safe. Check in with the kids to make sure they're getting the love and support they need — it's a difficult time for the whole family, so don't get wrapped up in your own heartache and forget how much your children might be hurting, too.
6. Keep Your Personal And Professional Lives Separate
Though not every couple meets on the set of a movie, there are plenty of non-A-listers who work together, or at least in the same field. If that's the case for you, the best thing you can do is keep your personal and professional lives as separate as possible. "When you divorce someone that you work with, the professional challenges can compound on the personal difficulties," says Amy Lass, Family Law Attorney at Griffith, Young & Lass Family Law. "The healthiest way to divorce someone that you once loved and might still work with is to try to separate those two aspects, both emotionally and legally."
7. Look Toward The Future
In the midst of a divorce, it may seem like "normal" life has ceased to exist, making it hard to see the big picture and plan for the future. "While the Divorce Settlement Agreement feels like the final step, both spouses will need to transition out of the relationship in numerous ways," says Charley Moore, founder and CEO of Rocket Lawyer.
Things like updating your will, estate planning documents, and taxes, or even changing your name on your driver's license have to be handled in order to make sure you're preparing for the future. These mundane tasks may sound boring, but tackling them will give you the momentum you need to get back on track and move on from your heartache.
Images: Unsplash (2); Fotolia