Everyone wants to know the secret to a successful celebrity marriage because they are so rare. Fans celebrate the strong relationships of famous couples like Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson, who have been married since 1988, and Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, who aren’t even married, but their decades-long bond is stronger than most Hollywood marriages. These star-studded duos give celebrities something to look up to, but not everyone in Hollywood is fortunate enough to have their happily ever after.
Many celebrities have dealt with bitter divorces and untimely misfortunes that have changed their lives forever. A high-profile celebrity divorce is one thing, but hearing the news that their former significant other has tragically died, have had stars’ lives turned upside down. There are a handful of A-list stars who have had to deal with a lot more pain than others, and sadly, their happily ever afters were nothing short of heartbreaking. These tragic stories tell of love lost and leave painful memories for these Hollywood celebrity exes.
Lamar Odom and Khloé Kardashian's relationship needed a 'miracle'
Reality star Khloé Kardashian and former NBA player Lamar Odom had most of their marriage chronicled on Keeping Up With the Kardashians and their own spin-off, Khloé & Lamar. Their marriage seemed full of more ups than downs — who could forget the episode of KUWTK where Kardashian sat in a tub of candy and filmed a video for Odom? However, after cheating allegations and news of Odom’s substance abuse, Kardashian filed for divorce in 2013, according to People. Kardashian was moving on at that point, dating other celebs like French Montana, but that relationship would end as soon as it began, and the pair remained close friends, as the rapper detailed to Haute Living.
As Kardashian seemed to move forward with her life, tragedy struck when Odom was rushed to a Las Vegas hospital after being found unconscious in a Nevada brothel in 2015, according to The New York Times. The Good American founder rushed to be by his side, and according to People, she was tasked with “making all of Odom’s medical decisions” because their divorce was not yet finalized. Thankfully, Odom recovered, and Kardashian called told Andy Cohen on Watch What Happens Live that it was “literally a miracle” (via Us Weekly). The reality star halted their divorce, but ultimately, she filed a second time in 2016.
Ariana Grande and Mac Miller's amicable split was followed by loss
Pop star Ariana Grande and rapper Mac Miller’s blossoming romance in 2016 was full of sweet music collaborations, tattoo shop pit-stops, and tons of adorable Snapchat photos. But it all came to an end just two years later, when TMZ confirmed that they had amicably split because of their “busy schedules.” After their breakup, the “Thank U, Next” songstress broke her silence on Instagram (via People), sharing, “Unconditional love is not selfish. It is wanting the best for that person even if at that moment, it’s not you. I can’t wait to know and support you forever and I’m so proud of you!”
The couple’s breakup did seem to end on a friendly note, with Miller even expressing his happiness for his ex when she quickly moved on with Saturday Night Live star Pete Davidson and got engaged in 2018. “It’s all positive energy. I am happy and [the fact that she’s] moving forward with her life, just as I’m sure she is with me,” he shared during an interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 on Apple Music (via People). Sadly, the “Smile Back” rapper died at the age of 26 from an apparent drug overdose in his Los Angeles home in September 2018. In an interview for Vogue, Grande called Miller “the best person ever” who “didn’t deserve the demons he had.”
Amber Heard made disturbing allegations about Johnny Depp
Johnny Depp and Amber Heard’s marriage came crashing down just one year after they said “I do.” In 2016, Heard accused the Pirates of the Caribbean star of domestic abuse, as TMZ reported. Following the divorce filing, People released photos of Heard with a bruised face. As BBC noted, Depp has denied the allegations, calling Heard “the perpetrator.” In a statement obtained by People, Heard’s attorney denied the allegations made by Depp.
A $7 million settlement was reached out of court in 2016, according to Forbes. In a joint statement that was obtained by the Independent, the former couple said, “Our relationship was intensely passionate and at times volatile, but always bound by love,”
However, the celeb exes weren’t done with one another, with Heard writing a telling op-ed for The Washington Post where she spoke out against domestic abuse against women. Depp would sue his ex-wife for $50 million for defamation, but Heard would countersue for $100 million, according to Deadline. As noted by Vanity Fair, the suit is still ongoing. Depp also sued Britain’s The Sun for calling him a “wife-beater,” but as the AP reported in November 2020, the actor lost in the libel trial. Depp was asked to step down from his role as Gellert Grindelwald in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald after he lost the trial, and in an Instagram post, he stated that he will continue to “fight to tell the truth.”
Princess Diana and Prince Charles' marriage was doomed from the start
Princess Diana and Prince Charles’ marriage was never as well as it seemed. The royal’s fairytale romance was anything but, and the general public eventually learned of salacious tidbits surrounding dissolution of their relationship. The details regarding the end of their marriage included rumors of infidelity, the infamous “Squidgygate” tapes released by The Sun, the infamous “Camillagate” tapes, the bombshell book Diana: Her True Story – In Her True Words, and Diana’s illuminating interview with Martin Bashir for Panorama. In that chat with Bashir, Diana addressed Prince Charles’ dynamic with Camilla Parker Bowles, sharing, “Well, there were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded.”
Prince Charles and Diana announced their separation in 1992, just over a decade after their massive wedding. In 1994, Prince Charles admitted to having an affair with Camilla. Two years later, Charles and Diana’s historic divorce was finalized. Tragically, Diana died in a car crash on Aug. 31 1997. In 2005, Prince Charles married Camilla in a civil ceremony, with Prince William, Diana and Charles’ eldest son, as the best man.
Michelle Williams keeps Heath Ledger's memory alive for their daughter
The Dark Knight star Heath Ledger’s tragic death from an apparent overdose had many fans thinking about actor Michelle Williams. The star-studded couple, who share a daughter, broke up a few months before Ledger was discovered dead in his New York City apartment on Jan. 22, 2008. According to The New York Times, the medical examiner said it happened “accidentally ‘from the abuse of prescription medications’ specifically, six kinds of painkillers, sleeping pills and anti-anxiety drugs.”
Williams keeps Ledger’s memory alive for their daughter, who was only a toddler at the time of Ledger’s death. The Fosse/Verdon actor told Vogue (via Us Weekly), “Every time I really miss him and wonder where he’s gone, I just look at her.” And as she said in Vanity Fair, “I always say to Matilda, ‘Your dad loved me before anybody thought I was talented, or pretty, or had nice clothes.'”
Williams is now married to theatre director Thomas Kail and the couple welcomed their first child together in 2020, People reported.
Jim Carrey's on-again, off-again girlfriend died suddenly
In 2015, Cathriona White, Jim Carrey’s on-off girlfriend of three years, died at the age of 30. As ET reported, the Irish makeup artist was found dead of an apparent suicide in California. In a statement obtained by TMZ, Carrey said, “I am shocked and deeply saddened by the passing of my sweet Cathriona. She was a truly kind and delicate Irish flower, too sensitive for this soil, to whom loving and being loved was all that sparkled.”
According to the Independent, White died from an overdose of prescription drugs, and White’s estranged husband, Mark Burton, and her mother, Brigid Sweetman, claimed the comedy star was responsible. Carrey was hit with a wrongful death lawsuit that alleged he was the one that provided White the prescription drugs that she took. The Mask actor filed a countersuit claiming the family were attempting to “exploit a famous actor” and that White falsely alleged that he had given her “multiple sexually transmitted diseases,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. In the end, a rep for Carrey confirmed the actor was cleared of the lawsuit and was “looking forward to moving on with his life.”
Sonny Bono's skiing accident left Cher devastated
Cher and Salvatore “Sonny” Bono were an iconic duo in the ’60s with songs like “The Beat Goes On” and later debuting their own television show called The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour in 1971. But the couple had marital struggles, which included infidelity, and they finalized their divorce in 1975 after six years of marriage. As Biography notes, Cher cited “involuntary servitude” after she “discovered that Cher Enterprises, the corporation formed by Sonny, was 95 percent owned by her husband, with the remaining five percent held by their lawyer.” Cher told Vanity Fair in 2010 that she felt her ex-husband was “treating her more like a golden goose than like his wife.”
The two would eventually reunite to perform their hit song “I Got You Babe” on Late Night with David Letterman in 1987. “Even if we don’t say nice things about each other, it doesn’t mean anything,” Cher said. “I know Sonny too well.”
Tragically, Bono died in a skiing accident in 1998. As The Washington Post reported, Cher delivered an emotional eulogy at his funeral. “He was smart enough to take an introverted 16-year-old girl and a guy with a bad voice and turn them into the most successful, beloved couple of our generation,” she said of her former spouse and collaborator.
Lisa Marie Presley wanted to 'save' Michael Jackson
When Michael Jackson died unexpectedly in 2009, the news broke the hearts of millions of people, including ex-wife Lisa Marie Presley. While she was only married to the “King of Pop” for two years, The Washington Post noted that the celebrity exes “mutually agreed to go their separate ways” and “remain good friends” following their split. News of Jackson’s death hit the daughter of Elvis Presley hard, and a year after his untimely death, she spoke to Oprah Winfrey about the loss.
During her interview (via Daily Mail), Presley said, “I wish I’d save him. I know it’s naive to think that I could’ve, but I wanted to.” Jackson died from an overdose of Propofol, with Presley telling Winfrey that she “suspected” Jackson of abusing drugs when they were together. Presley also revealed that she regretted not reaching out to Jackson before his sudden death, and Winfrey wondered if Presley believed she could’ve helped Jackson. “Naively, I want to say: I wanted to. Could I have? Had I made a call? Had I stopped being so shut off from him? Had I just said, ‘How are you?’ I really did regret that I didn’t,'” Presley said. At the end of her interview, Daily Mail reported that Presley “swore she would never talk about Jackson again.”
Elvis Presley's death was 'too surreal' for Priscilla Presley
The world mourned the loss of Elvis Presley when he died in 1977 from a heart attack. As PBS NewsHour noted, the toxicology reports showed “very high levels of the opiates Dilaudid, Percodan, Demerol, and codeine — as well as Quaaludes.”
Priscilla Presley, who was married to Elvis from 1967 to 1973, was blindsided by the tragic news. The two had an amicable split — so much so, that, as The Los Angeles Times reported, “they emerged from the court arm in arm” after their divorce was made official.
In 2019, Priscilla, who shares daughter Lisa Marie Presley with her late ex-husband, spoke candidly on The Today Show (via Express) about his death. “Just looking at him and still not believing…it’s just too surreal,” Priscilla shared. “Even going back to that time…it was devastating, it was devastating. He was so alive with so much energy and to think that it happened so soon, 42, so young.” Priscilla also noted that Elvis dealt with “a lot of pressures that comes with fame,” adding, “And yet there was a side of him that was wondering what to do. I mean, how do you keep up with your fame? How do you, y’know, what do you have to outdo what you did the last show, the last project? You have to outdo it.”
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse and mental health, please contact SAMHSA’s 24-hour National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).
If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 or TTY 1−800−787−3224. You can also find more information, resources, and support at www.thehotline.org.
If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741.
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