As we close in on 2016, a year that will go down in the history books as One Of The Worst, it's hard not to sink into despair about all the things we lost and the crazy ways we lost them. There was the most recent death of democracy by way Donald Trump being elected President (how, how?). There were the deaths of larger than life stars who were seemingly immortal, like David Bowie and Prince. And then there was the death of love, consistently occurring as 2016's most shocking celebrity break-ups. Persistent throughout the year, each dissolution felt like a personal attack on hope. Because if the Jolie-Pitts can't keep it together, than how can you make it work with Mike from Tinder?
Now, it isn't that we haven't gone through ordeals like this before — sometimes I shed tears about Tim Burton and Helena Bonham Carter being dunzo. It's more about how the craziness of 2016 seemed to reflect in the craziness of celebrity break-ups. Hollywood lost a lot of good couples in the mix of this year, and it was mostly to way complicated circumstances. Let us count the ways that our hearts were played with this year as the world tries to move forward.
Taylor Swift had her first Swiftian drama in a long, long while: Tayvin gave way to Hiddleswift, when Taylor Swift broke up with Calvin Harris and locked lips with Tom Hiddleston soon after. After an extravagant world tour of PDA and media suspect that the whole relationship was an intricate publicity stunt, Swift and Hiddleton called it quits after a few months. Two Swift break-ups in one year seems nominal to what fans have experienced in the past, but the whirlwind of drama surrounding it (not to mention the anticipation of hit singles to follow) was still a bit more intense than usual.
Even if you weren't emotionally tangled in the Johnny Depp-Amber Heard marriage, there's no way that divorce didn't throw a cloud over your tweenage crush. Following horrific allegations of domestic abuse, this definitely became the year former goth girls all over the world had to break-up with the fedora-wearing character actor in the name of feminism. It was a lot to handle.
And it really can't be overstated: how can Brangelina, the be-all, end-all portmanteau, this generation's golden couple, unceremoniously implode out of nowhere? Their children are now in the middle of that messy divorce, not to mention the whole country will now have to find a new celebrity couple to call Mom and Dad. Do all signs point to Kimye to take up that mantle? It's 2016, so you never know.
So now we're left mourning a bevy of gone-too-soon celebrity pairings, looking for some kind of pep talk to keep us going, to keep us dating in 2017 instead of leaning into the upcoming apocalypse. And while I've never been known to be an optimist, I do think it helps to realize that idealizing celebrity romances is always a dangerous move.
It is easy and largely comforting to turn to certain figures in the entertainment industry as shiny, couture-cloaked, impeccably Instagrammed pillars for #relationshipgoals. The truth? In broad strokes: they're just people. Drawn in finer lines, they're people with the additional burden of being in the public eye, which easily puts additional strain on coupledom. They're people who choose to buy into the hedonism of the Hollywood lifestyle, people who often have the temptation to mack it with co-stars (on- and off-camera). Given that mix, celebrities, even those who appear head-over-heels, have historically never been great role models when it comes to romance. They mingle in a different reality, and therefore, those pillars are meant to crumble.
That doesn't mean it's profoundly unhealthy to find John Legend and Chrissy Teigen adorable, because they are. It's just important to remember (before we spiral gently into that last level of despair) that love doesn't die because your favorite power couple has a highly imperfect break-up. Celebrity relationships, by and large, are best used for the occasional meme, when appropriate. Instead, love should be something you should be embracing for yourself in these tough times, something you should disperse onto the universe, to your friends, to your family.
And just maybe not with Mike from Tinder.
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