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Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton may not be the template, however romantic, that Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt want to go by, but they're at least storied proof that, even once those divorce papers are signed...you can still swing a U-turn and get another marriage license.
Or perhaps all is not yet lost for Brangelina in the first place.
Eleven months after their surprisingly contentious breakup, Jolie and Pitt are now opting to wait a beat before continuing with their divorce proceedings. How long that beat lasts, be it another year (like Burton and Taylor's second marriage) or forever, is anyone's guess, as stranger things have happened than a couple deciding that divorce (from each other) isn't for them after all.
Jolie, when she filed for divorce last September, simultaneously indicated via a handful of choice words that Pitt's behavior had contributed to her incredibly tough decision. She didn't really go into much detail about her ordeal in her recent interview with Vanity Fair, only saying that life got "difficult," but Pitt had already admitted to GQ Style that he had been drinking too much and disconnecting emotionally before the breakup.
With no imminent court dates looming for the two, we're told that Brad's commitment to "self-improvement"—he told GQ he had quit drinking and had a new-found love of therapy—has prompted a reevaluation of where they're at and where they're headed.
They're not back together, to be clear, but this isn't the first time this year that these two have turned out to be busily repairing the broken threads of their relationship behind the scenes while the situation seemed more dire on the outside.
"They don't take divorce lightly and want to make sure they are doing the right thing," a source told E! News last week, noting that Pitt and Jolie are "seeing what happens."
While they wouldn't be the first couple, celebrity or otherwise, to pull the plug on a divorce, they also wouldn't be the first to give their fans a little false hope by not following through with the ultimate dissolution right away. Jennifer Garner(who even admitted she was empathetically hoping for a Brangelina reconciliation) didn't file for divorce from Ben Affleck until almost two years after they separated. Robin Wright reconsidered after first filing for divorce from Sean Penn in 2007, as did he after filing for a legal separation in 2009, but Wright's second divorce filing later that year stuck. Khloe Kardashianpulled her first divorce filing while Lamar Odomwas recovering from a drug overdose—the altruistic reason being obvious but still, a lot of people were hoping love would win in the end. Larsa and Scottie Pippen are currently taking their sweet time in divorce court, not back together but in no rush to end their 19-year marriage for good. And don't get us started on Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick, who while not married are parents of three, and the idea of them reconciling at one point seemed like a valid possibility.
But let's say Jolie and Pitt do not get divorced any time soon and, in fact, do reconcile. Is that a good idea? What's the more important sign to pay attention to, the initial divorce filing or their hesitation?
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Megan Foxpaid no attention to the fact that she'd filed for divorce from Brian Austin Greenin August 2015, instead giving birth to their third child together, son Journey River, a year later. While neither hailed Fox's pregnancy as an automatic marriage saver, the legal proceedings have since quietly ended and they're continuing on as a couple, having celebrated their seventh wedding anniversary in June.
"I don't know what the secret is. Just stick it out. Like fighting and making up, believing in each other," Green told reporters in May at the 2017 Women's Choice Awards in L.A. "I've dated people before and you kind of get to that point where you go, 'You know what, I don't feel the same way,' and I've never reached that with her. I mean, we fight, we disagree on things. But I don't want to go anywhere and she doesn't, you know? So we stick it out."
Well, she doesn't anymore. Pink can relate.
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"We've had two breaks," Pink clarified to Us Weekly in May about her "So What"-inspiring marriage to retired motocross star Carey Hart, whom she has two children with. "The first one was about a year. And the second one was 11 months."
Their initial breakup came when they were just dating, but the "Try" singer also filed for divorce in 2008, two years after they tied the knot in Costa Rica at the bride's behest (she's also famously the one who proposed). "This breakup is not about cheating, anger or fighting. I know it sounds like cliché bulls--t, but we are best friends, and we will continue to be," Pink wrote on her website. She concluded on an upbeat note, saying, "One never knows the future, but mine and Carey's just might involve beach babies and sunshine one day. Just not right now. Thanks for the concern and caring."
Pink was prescient on that one. She and Hart reconciled 11 months later after she made it clear to him that she no longer wanted a divorce. "We never really legally got divorced," Pink said in a 2009 interview. She added, laughing, "Paperwork for both of us is really annoying. So we're choosing to be together. Our role models are Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon and Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawnpeople who just choose to be together every day because they want to be there. And labels have never been our thing, so, we're just diving into that empty swimming pool, headfirst." (Robbins and Sarandon split up later that year, but Russell and Hawn are still going strong...)
Pink told Redbook in 2013 that they had benefited from counseling.
"We fight nicer," she explained. "There is no yelling in front of Willow, ever. We can argue, just no yelling. We are couples-therapy people. We do it for maintenance, not problems." Among the things she learned in therapy, she shared: "I think it's really bad when a couple retreats to their sides of the dinner table and have nothing to say to each other. So there have been times where I'm like, 'As long as I can get Carey to bite, even if he's angry, [it means he] still cares.' When you become silent and give up, you're doomed. We did that [in 2008]. We became silent, and we broke up."
Couples counseling also helped Tish Cyrus and Billy Ray Cyrusrepair their marriage after he filed for divorce in 2013. Tish told E! News it had been their first go-round with therapy in 22 years of being together.
Meanwhile, their union started off on tenuous footing: When Tish was pregnant with Miley, another woman was pregnant with Billy Ray's son Christopher. He and Tish married in 1993, after Miley was born and when the bride was pregnant with their son Braison. Billy Ray actually filed for divorce in 2010, telling GQ few months later, "I'll tell you right now—the damn show [Hannah Montana] destroyed my family. And I sit there and go, 'Yeah, you know what? Some gave all.' It is my motto, and guess what? I have to eat that one. I some-gave-all'd it all right. I some-gave-all'd it while everybody else was going to the bank. It's all sad."
Asked if he wished the show had never happened, the singer replied, "I hate to say it, but yes, I do. Yeah. I'd take it back in a second. For my family to be here and just be everybody okay, safe and sound and happy and normal, would have been fantastic. Heck, yeah. I'd erase it all in a second if I could."
Perhaps Hannah Montana ending in 2011 helped his marriage survive in lieu of professional advice.
Interestingly, Tish also told us that they had initially sought counseling in 2013 in order to have a more amicable divorce—and it was during the course of their sessions that they realized they wanted to make it work instead.
Four years later, they're still together and Miley Cyrusis reaping the life lessons.
"One thing I've learned about marriage from my parents: Nothing and no one stays the same," Miley, who got back together with fiancé Liam Hemsworthafter a two-year break, told Cosmopolitan recently. "Grow, evolve, change with each other and celebrate your love's journey!"
Counseling seems to be a common denominator for many couples, including Patrick Dempsey and his wife of now 18 years, Jillian Dempsey, who initially filed for divorce in January 2015.
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"Our marriage was not something I was prepared to let go of. I didn't feel like we had done all the work. And we both wanted to do that work. That's where it started," the actor told People last September, calling couples counseling a "very important" step toward achieving a fresh start.
A change in his workaday schedule (Dr. McDreamy was killed off of Grey's Anatomy in the interim) probably helped too, but Dempsey reiterated that both spouses have to put in the effort if they really want the marriage to go on.
"We decided it was time to get in there and work on our individual issues and our issues as a couple," he said. "I wasn't prepared to give up on her and she wasn't either. We were both committed. We both wanted to fight."
Also thoroughly reconciled are Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta Jones after announcing their separation in 2013, their marriage and her mental health having suffered in the wake of Douglas' 2010 cancer battle.
"It took work on both our parts," Douglas told AARP The Magazine in late 2015. "I don't think there's much chance of fixing a relationship if one of you is already out the door." Added Zeta-Jones, "I think we're both mellower and wiser. That comes naturally with time. We count our blessings."
If they're now, as Pink would say, "fighting nicer," they could have couples therapy to thank as well.
"We did get some marriage counseling," Douglas told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2014, after he and his wife were again living together after their trial separation. "I think if both parties want to work it out, it makes it a lot easier than if one party is out the door. Things are going great with Catherine and me. The children are doing well both in school and as human beings. I don't know many people my age who have an 11-year-old and a 13-year-old—that certainly keeps you going."
Celebrating 20 years of marriage in June were Snoop Dogg and wife Shante Broadus, 13 years after Snoop filed for divorce from his high school sweetheart and promptly reconsidered. (He admitted to Rolling Stone in 2006 that his "pimpin'" lifestyle got in the way.)
"I was trying to get a divorce, but I went back home and I fell back in love with my wife and kids," the rapper told MTV. "A lot of times you get cloudy. This music industry is a mother, man, and it'll take your vision and blur it. But God is good, so I understand that I need my wife and my kids in my life—so I threw the papers away. I don't want to get a divorce. So if you hear about a divorce, it'll be my wife divorcing me; it won't be me divorcing her...And I made a mistake, so I'm trying to get back right."
The dynamic necessarily had to change, he told RS. "Before, I would never listen to her," Snoop said. "Everything I say is law. But on the comeback, I'm more of an ear instead of a mouth, instead of a hand. Sometimes it irritates me to hear her talk s--t to me, but when it's right, that's the way it supposed to feel."
He and Shante renewed their vows in 2008 and they became grandparents in 2015 when son Cordé welcomed a baby with his girlfriend.
Cheating is a deal breaker for some but perhaps not for as many people as you might think. Not that it doesn't almost always throw a huge wrench into the deal, but...it is survivable, particularly when a long relationship and/or kids play into the equation.
Vanessa Bryant filed for divorce from Kobe Bryantin 2011—eight years after he admitted to cheating in light of a sexual assault investigation and subsequently bought his wife that notorious $4 million "I'm sorry" ring. The case was dropped but the L.A. Lakers star ended up settling a civil suit for an undisclosed sum.
Who knows what went on in the interim, but enough had occurred to send Vanessa packing. Bryant convinced her to stick around and try to work it out, however, and in 2013 they both announced that the divorce was off.
"I am happy to say that Vanessa and I are moving on with our lives together as a family," he shared on social media. "When the show ends and the music stops, the journey is made beautiful by having that someone to share it with. Thank you all for your support and prayers." Bryant retired from the NBA last year and he and Vanessa welcomed their third daughter together in December.
Ultimately, if there are better reasons to stay together than there are to split up, and both spouses are willing to work, couples who originally thought that divorce was the next move could conceivably end up reconciling.
When Angelina Jolie first filed for divorce and the proceedings rapidly descended into thinly veiled slams, supervised visitation and strained attempts at declaring the family would come out stronger on the other side, no one even dared to dream that she and Brad Pitt might reconcile. And even though they had started talking again in a civilized fashion, a major step for them after a period spent only communicating through their attorneys, no one thought one of those conversations might start with, "Hey, about that divorce..."
But as a source said, "a lot has changed" for Jolie and Pitt since September. And anything is possible.