Why Did They? Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth and More Couples Whose Long Relationships Ended in Short Marriages

The stars had reunited after a long break and seemed to have stumbled upon the secret to a lasting partnership—but then they got married

By Natalie Finn Aug 20, 2019 10:00 AMTags
Miley Cyrus, Liam Hemsworth, 2019 MET Gala, After PartyMadison McGaw, Angela Pham, & Joe Schildhorn/BFA.com

Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth were bucking the odds.

The engaged Last Song co-stars were together for almost four years before breaking up in 2013, their young love seemingly having run its course as their respective evolutions took them in separate directions.

But after what they both later acknowledged was essential time apart, they reunited toward the end of 2015, at first off the radar in Liam's native Australia, Miley part of the tight-knit, beach-loving Hemsworth family once again.

And vice versa, with Billy Ray Cyrus telling Entertainment Tonight in June 2017 that Liam had become a regular at their place in Nashville.

"Liam's been here quite a bit," Miley's dad said. "They both love the outdoors. They love Four Wheeling and the people. Both of them, Liam especially... he's like, 'Man, the people here are so nice,' and it's true."

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2019 Celebrity Breakups

Meanwhile, Miley and Liam had also quickly reinstated their betrothal status, the "Wrecking Ball" singer emerging in early 2016 with a ring on her finger.

As one year went by, and then another, and Miley insisted she was in no rush to actually say "I do," their uniquely enduring partnership, which had them living in Malibu most of the time until their house burned down in November, became a given.

But just when you thought they might have other pressing things on their minds, like insurance claims...they made it official on Dec. 23, 2018.

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Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth's Cutest Quotes

Asked if she felt different since becoming a married woman, Miley said in the March issue of Vanity Fair, "Zero percent different. I would say that losing the house changed us much more than getting married changed us.

"We've worn rings forever, and I definitely didn't need it in any way. It actually is kind of out of character for me."

Maybe too much out of character to have and to hold for eternity. Because barely eight months later, after spending the better part of 10 years together, Miley and Liam separated. 

And there were irreconcilable differences brewing before that went public, because within hours of the news breaking, Miley was photographed sharing a kiss in Italy with Brody Jenner's soon-to-be ex-wife Kaitlynn Carter.

Gregg DeGuire/FilmMagic

Lots of theories are flying as to why the couple managed to work through everything but the piece of paper that legally bound them together, but the ultimate clue could be in Miley's own words.

"Out of character."

A description that should apply to wearing a bright red lip, or streaking through a hotel lobby. One-night, rather than lifetime, commitments.

But Miley and Liam have plenty of company in the it-seemed-like-a-good-idea-at-the-time department. 

Or, maybe it didn't, but they went through with it anyway.

Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt

Another couple of co-stars who fell in love, Brangelina got engaged in 2012 after being together for more than seven years, and four years after their youngest children, twins Knox and Vivienne, were born. Pitt of course presented his beloved with an architecturally impressive ring that he designed himself.

"The kids ask about marriage," Pitt had told USA Weekend in 2011. "It's meaning more and more to them. So it's something we've got to look at."

Jolie also told Nightline that year, "We've explained to them that our commitment, when we decided to start a family, was the greatest commitment you could possibly have. Once you have six children, you're committed." She added, "I asked them if it was just because they wanted to have a big cake."

So the parents of six were in no hurry, their engagement perhaps giving all the kids something to look forward but otherwise doing nothing but changing their descriptors to fiancé/fiancée as they continued to traverse the world and trade off as ever-present parent while the other worked.

Then, on Aug. 23, 2014, they quietly went for it at their chateau in France, Jolie wearing a dress decorated with their kids' drawings, and only a handful of people bearing witness.

"It does feel different," Jolie acknowledged to Vanity Fair. "It's nice being husband and wife."

Two years later came the summer of their discontent, and it was over, Jolie filing for divorce on Sept. 19, 2016, and you would've thought in the rocky aftermath that these two, who first went public in 2005, barely knew each other at all.

Lauren Holly and Jim Carrey

"I was with Jim for years, and people didn't realize—they all think it's just the marriage that was short, but we were together for a long time," Holly said on Canada's George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight in 2013.

True, George's last name does feel slightly longer than the Dumb and Dumber costars' 10-month marriage. And on paper, you wouldn't guess years: the movie came out in 1994, Carrey's first marriage officially ended in 1995 and then he married Holly in 1996. Sounds pretty whirlwind.

But movies aren't shot days before they come out and divorces can take awhile, at least two years in this case. ("I feel for Melissa, but they were completely apart when Jim and I met," Holly told Rolling Stone in 1995. Carrey said of his ex, "She's lucky to be out of my life. I'm in a different time zone at this point. I was headed there when we were together, so it's OK. Everything is fine. This is the way it's supposed to be.")

"It was sort of when all the tabloids started happening," Holly recalled the climate in which their relationship flamed and fizzled. "They start to find their voice, and those 'insider' shows, and they would go to my high school and everything. And at first it was kind of fun, and then our whole life became about 'we have to keep them about,' because they would do things like scale the fence at our house and live in our backyard and take pictures through our window."

George asked if they ever threw weird stuff in the garbage for the reporters to find just to screw with them.

"Yeah, because I lived with Jim Carrey," Holly said with a smile. "Rest assured that that happened and...yeah."

But "when we got divorced, I had a really hard time," she acknowledged, "because no one really had the story right or anything, and I always felt like everybody knew my personal business—and not to mention the fact that I was going through a heartbreak... So now, I see the shift, where people become famous by courting that attention, and that's the only thing they're famous for."

The talented people she's always admired, Holly added, "aren't a part of that."

And we know Carrey's view of fame has only grown more complicated as the years have gone by.

Usher and Grace Miguel

They started dating in 2009, not long after Usher's marriage to Tameka Foster, the mother of his two sons, ended. "Papers" was the first single off his album Raymond v. Raymond that fall.

Usher asked Miguel to marry him in 2015—and she did, months later.

Alas, after spending most of a decade together, they separated in March 2018 and Usher (who succeeded in getting a potentially relationship-altering lawsuit that had been filed against him dismissed in 2017) filed for divorce that December.

Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux

Another couple that you didn't think would actually get married, because they seemed so perfectly fine with how their dynamic was treating them.

But three years after getting engaged, Jen and Justin did end up marrying each other at their L.A. home, in August 2015—and they separated at the end of 2017 after realizing they weren't on the same page after all.

"Jennifer and Justin fell in love hard and fast and yet they were never really suited to one another," a source told E! News when they announced their split. "He was a New York hipster that loved the alternative lifestyle and Jennifer was living a much more reclusive life when they first started to fall in love. The initial chemistry between them made it easy for them to ignore their differences and incompatibility."

Sophia Bush and Chad Michael Murray

They weren't together for an exceptionally long time before marrying in April 2005, but two years is a lot compared to however long the One Tree Hills co-stars spent being happy with their choice. Bush tried to get an annulment after five months. Her request was denied (you have to prove fraudulent circumstances, or that at least one of them wasn't entering into the union with all the facts) and their divorce wasn't finalized until December 2006.

Bush has made it clear on more than one occasion that getting married was a mistake.

"We were two stupid kids who had no business being in a relationship in the first place," the Chicago P.D. star said on Watch What Happens Live in 2014. "To all the other costars who've worked it out, more power to you."

When Bush insinuated in 2018, again talking to Andy Cohen, that she felt pressured to go through with it in the first place, Murray finally chimed in, tweeting a GIF of Pinocchio's nose growing. 

"Thirteen years since his divorce from Sophia, he has a very happy family life with his wife and children," his rep told People. "He has completely moved on and doesn't feel the need to engage in this type of behavior."

Bush, too, expressed her discontent with the headlines that came out of her interview, tweeting, among other things, "And if all the years that have passed haven't made it WILDLY clear that we're all grown ups who've become the best versions of ourselves, then I just don't know what to say." 

Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock

Though all we remember now is the magical mystery wedding tour these two went on in 2006, they actually had a whole bunch of history.

The Baywatch star, who has two kids with ex-husband Tommy Lee, first met the "Bawitdaba" rocker in 2001, got engaged to him in 2002, and broke up with him in 2003.

Reunited and it felt so obvious, they swapped symbolic vows on a yacht in Saint-Tropez in July 2006, before hitting the road like a Howard Dean speech and going to the Beverly Hills courthouse to legalize their union, then Nashville for a midnight ceremony, and finally Detroit to celebrate at one of Kid's favorite haunts, the Clarkston Union Bar and Kitchen.

"It was like we'd never been apart," Rock told People that summer. "Love her to death."

They filed for divorce that November.

Sacha Baron Cohen just said on the Daily Beast's Last Laugh podcast in May 2019 that Rock so loathed Anderson's appearance in his movie Borat, in which the titular clueless traveler from Kazakhstan crashes Pam's book signing and tries to scoop her up in a Kazakh marriage sack and take her with him, that he couldn't stay married to her.

There had been a rumor that Rock had a very negative reaction to the film when it came out in 2006 and Cohen insists that's the story as far as he knows it.

Ali Landry and Mario Lopez

The Saved by the Bell star met the model and actress when he hosted the 1998 Miss Teen USA Pageant and she was a commentator.

"I thought this was the girl," Lopez wrote in his 2014 memoir, Just Between Us. "If I wrote down the criteria of what I wanted in a wife and a mother—back then—she seemed to be it."

Maybe both a little green around the edges, relationship-wise, they stuck with it, even though, as Lopez recalled, he felt them having fewer things in common as time went by. They still got engaged, though (because, Lopez wrote, Landry wanted to), and tied the knot in 2004 after six years together.

Two weeks later, their union was annulled—which sounds more like what happens when two people drunkenly swap vows in Vegas and wake up with a marriage license and a hangover.

As it turned out, Lopez, already frozen over with cold feet, had self-sabotaged and strayed during his bachelor party weekend. Landry knew something was up, but.. she was too embarrassed to cancel their big wedding and come up short of the finish line.

"I had heard something right before the wedding," she said on The Wendy Williams Show in 2012. "He swore that it was not true, but I had that feeling in my gut. [But] all of my family was flying in—it was a destination wedding—and I really should have put the brakes on it at that point, but I was afraid."

After their honeymoon, Landry confronted him with some stone-cold proof and, Lopez wrote, "[t]hen I had an epiphany. I didn't want to save our marriage. The foundation wasn't there. I finally got the balls to say, 'I'm sorry. I can't be in that marriage. It's not right for either of us.'"

They're both now long since married to other people and each has three kids, so one wrong happily made two rights in their case.

Meanwhile, Miley's not filing for divorce just yet. It's not as if she doesn't still love Liam and, after all, they've been through so much.

Ten years is a long time.