Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris' recent break up made national headlines. Gigi Hadid and Zayn Malik's split followed suit, along with Demi Lovato and Wilmer Valderrama's surprising end to their six (!) year relationship. Breakups are never easy, and Hollywood breakups are no exception.
Journalists and paparazzi ensure that the entire timeline of a couple's relationship is analyzed to microscopic scrutiny, from covering their tumultuous times, to their high points, to the disagreements that led to their ultimate end. These are all, of course, captioned briefly in ever redundant "What Went Wrong?!" articles that suggest mistresses, substance abuse, or other forms of bad behavior.
Along with the sexist conclusions the media jumps to in such melancholy times, ("Ultimate #ForeverAlone Mogul Taylor Swift Now Has New Song Material While Ex Calvin Harris Is All Smiles!", "Gigi Hadid Gets Dumped By Another Superstar Musician...Zayn Malik Remains Hot!", "Did Demi's Mental Illness History Drive Good Guy Wilmer Away?!?") comes the dramatic declarations of fans swearing off love: How can one possibly have any hope in love when Tayvin is finished after they Instagrammed their beach vacation where they carved their initials into the sand? Taylor popped her leg out like a princess when she was kissing her DJ boyfriend in this Vogue-worthy shot— only to be done with him less than three months later. Gigi and Zayn's off the chart sexual chemistry radiated in his first post-One Direction video, the emotionally-charged PILLOWTALK, and Wilmer stuck by Demi through her eating disorder/Bipolar disorder diagnosis/infamous rehab stunt.
All three of the couples faced engagement rumors, and now public announcements of the splits are being tweeted and explained in Instagram posts by the celebrities themselves. Cue the endless broken heart emojis and the millions of concerned fans asking "Why?"
The real question is, as fans and as casual magazine checkout aisle glancers alike, why do we care? Why did these breakups trend on Twitter and Facebook days after they were announced? Why do so many people's hearts hurt with these untouchably gorgeous multimillionaires as if they were our own personal friends?
The answer is simple. Celebrities reflect our ideal versions of ourselves, our ultimate "#goals", if you will. They are effortless, beautiful, well spoken, and successful. Even the most rudimentary aspects of their lives, like their diets and the personal style , are interesting to us.
When we see that Taylor Swift, who looks like a super model and has ten Grammy's to date, is going through a break up, it makes us much more fearful for our own love live's, which are exceedingly more mundane in comparison. Or when we hear that Gigi Hadid, an actual super model, is unlucky in love, we're reminded that, yes, even super models can get dumped.
The hardest of celebrity break ups are long-term ones. The public's reception to Demi Lovato's split was similar to that of Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert's divorce: "But they were perfect for each other!", "Look at all they've been through together!", "I really thought that if anyone in Hollywood had a chance, it was them." These longer lived failed romances reflect a fear that's deep rooted in most of us: what if we can't have it all?
What if success and love are contradictory ideals? What if a great career is compromised by a great love, and vice versa? What if one day all of our dreams come true and we have to pick between our purpose and the person that we're supposed to share our purpose with? What if, in chasing our dreams, some of us have already made such a choice?
The world has many millionaires, some self-made, some of old money, but how many of them are over forty and still on their first marriage? How many of them are married at all?
It is often said that the weird, complicated truth of relationships is that you either marry the person that you're with or you break up with them. Despite this, relationships are generally worth the ride—for the adventures, the memories, and the companionship, among many other things–good, bad, and indifferent.
The thing about watching celebrities fall in love and fall apart is that we can watch them grow from their experiences. We can watch them turn their pain into art, be it a new song or a new hairstyle. And, while some may feel hopeless at half of young hollywood seemingly calling it quits lately, I'd like to believe that there is still hope for the rest of us.
So I remain hopeful—while respectfully mourning Tayvin for the next three weeks, that is.