Our collective fascination with the Depp/Heard libel case says a lot more about you than it does about them.
The battle scenes currently unfolding in court between Johnny Depp and Amber Heard are undoubtedly sensational. But our fascination with the collapse of a Hollywood couple on this level says a lot more about innate human nature.
Why are we so obsessed with messy celebrity breakups? This is a question I have grappled with recently as I have become more and more involved in the Johnny Depp/Amber Heard libel case. I mean who hasn’t studied the texts they sent each other?
Of course, a separate conversation needs to take place about allegations of abuse. But I’m talking about the finer details of the relationship. The details seem almost wrong to know, like when Taylor Swift shared that Joe Jonas broke up with her during a 27-second phone call on Ellen’s show.
There’s just something incredibly compelling about hearing all the salacious details of a celebrity relationship demise. Sure, we can blame the broader media for endlessly exploiting the drama, but the truth is that if people don’t click on stories, they won’t get written.
So why are we so obsessed? Why I remember two decades later that Sandra Bullock’s Oscar win was overshadowed by allegations that her husband cheated on her at the time. Why am I so desperate for Nicole Kidman talk about her previous marriage to Tom Cruise? Even though it’s been over 20 years since they broke up.
Well, luckily, it’s not because we’re bad people.
Psychotherapist Amber Rules explained that this is essentially a sign of human nature: “Humans are naturally curious and voyeuristic beings; we are beasts of burden who depend on a complex system of social values that dictates how we should behave.
“When people are seen as breaking our social codes or doing things that we think are outside of our cultural values, like having a messy breakup, we’re naturally interested.”
This explains why so many celebrity breakups have saturated the media. Who could forget the interest in Jennifer Aniston and the divorce from Brad Pitt?
Allegations were everywhere that he cheated with his co-star at the time, Angelina Jolie. As soon as the split news broke, he was spotted vacationing with Jolie, and Aniston immediately retreated from the spotlight.
At the height of the breakup frenzy, celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton sold shirts that read “Team Jolie” and “Team Aniston.” At the time, Aniston said vanity lounge that the divorce “opened her up”.
Then there was the divorce of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills. She poured a jug of water over McCartney’s lawyer’s head during their divorce proceedings and made allegations that McCartney interfered with her career and charity work.
Or who can forget the rumors that Ben Affleck had an affair with the nanny, which caused the end of his marriage to Jennifer Garner? Or when Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth split, and she released the scathing song Make it slide.
Interestingly, I found these celebrity breakup details comforting, not that I’m happy about their loss, but I like knowing they’re not perfect.
Ms Rules explained that our interest stems from the fact that it also makes us feel a little better about our own lives: “It can make us feel better to see someone else, celebrity or not, going through painful emotions and compare ourselves to them.
“Unfortunately, this better-than/less-than thinking isn’t really nuanced enough and doesn’t make us feel better in the long run.”
Which makes sense when I consider there’s something soothing about even knowing the model Heidi Klum can’t escape being trashed by her ex. Remember when Seal said she was “classless”.
The reality is, when celebrities break up and reveal the details of why, it makes us all feel a little better about our own relationships.
When I was dumped by text from a guy who kept a stolen street sign in his bedroom as decor, it gave me comfort to know that Taylor Swift had broken up via a phone call. Likewise, when a boyfriend cheated on me and broke my heart, it was nice to know it even happened to Jennifer Aniston.
Maybe celebrity breakups are cathartic and remind us that heartbreak doesn’t discriminate.
This article originally appeared in Body + Soul and has been reproduced with permission
#DeppHeard #libel #case #youre #obsessed