Ah, spring. Daylight Savings, more sun, a certain crispness in the air. So obviously the shadow we're seeing isn't the Groundhog...
It's the divorce attorneys.
Following word today that Casey Affleck and Summer Phoenix have separated after 10 years of marriage, we immediately wondered if we should batten down the hatches and prepare for another flood of celebrity breakups, a deluge not seen since the summer of, oh...
Last year brought with it the infamous "Summer of Splits," so named because of what seemed to be an inordinately large number of breakups, not to mention the mega star power represented among the broken up.
Shoot, no wonder last summer seemed so extraordinarily traumatic! And those were just the most famous married couples who called it quits (or at least let it be known that quits had been called) during the summer months. In addition...
Oh, was that it? Why did it seem like so many more? Maybe it really was mainly the caliber of celebrity involved and their generation-spanning love stories (for instance, those who came of age listening to Bush and No Doubt may have been especially stricken), and how the word summer tends to be thrown around lightly. There were others who fit the time-frame, of course, but those were the most shocking, so to speak.
For our purposes, we'll stick with the strict science of arbitrary seasonal cutoffs. Because in actuality... The act of uncoupling rarely fits into the confines of a set time-frame—and it happens all the time.
Partly because of the seemingly extra-fragile nature of relationships between two famous people, which tend to come with a different set of built-in issues than love connections among the non-famous set (i.e. most everybody else), and partly because these are the microcosmic breakups that everyone's paying attention to, that makes it seem as though the entire cycle of splits is out of whack if it just so happens that a few very enduring couples break up at the same time.
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First of all, no one really knows at first (or ever) when these couples really split up. We learned that Garner and Ben Affleck had been sorting out issues for months before they went public. Lambert and Shelton had seemed happy but were fielding breakup rumors for almost the entirety of their four-year marriage and were already officially divorced days later—meaning that paperwork was being filled out long before anyone knew for sure.
Stefan / AKM-GSI, NIKO / Poersch / AKM-GSI
Same story with Casey Affleck and Phoenix. They already are separated. Meaning they could have had an awful autumn. Or a woeful winter. Or, yes, split up last summer along with what seemed like the rest of the paired-off world.
So while it's helpful when you're trying to make sense of a trend or pinpoint a phenomenon, relegating the downfall of the celebrity marriage to a summer-of-2015 thing is too convenient.
However, there are worse seasons than summer to call it quits, ones during which it would appear anyone with families (or feelings) would try to avoid.
Winter, for instance. Or rather, the holiday season. Sometimes you just want to clear the air by Thanksgiving, which is why law offices and courts operate on a year-round system, but you don't hear of too many "Merry Ex-Mas" cards being sent out in December, at least among the married set.
And, as celebrity divorce attorney Laura Wasser recently divulged to Bloomberg Business, awards season is another particular-to-Hollywood time of merriment that tends to be a desolate time for divorce announcements.
According to the Wasser profile, the busy season for divorce attorneys is after the holidays, in January and February, and she reportedly shared that—among the 45 cases she was working on (Stefani and Garner are both clients)—several divorce petitions would be filed in March, once there was no longer a concern for the soon-to-be ex-couples in question walking the Oscars red carpet alone.
Paul Zimmerman/Getty Images for Women's Health, Evan Agostini/Invision for the Television Academy/AP Images, Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Sure enough, there were already a dozen big breakups (of married and not-marrieds) in 2015 before the advent of summer, and the list of everyone who publicly parted ways over the course of the calendar year was shockingly long when you actually bother to make a list.
So it was really a rough winter, spring, summer and fall for romance; however, it always is. Go through every year and make a list of all the breakups and it will usually seem dishearteningly long.
But if you look at 2015 using different search terms, it was also a great year for romance—also as it always is. If you go through and make a list of engagements, marriages and births, we promise that list will be longer.