If you're a celebrity, on any list be it A-, C- or F-, then at some point your personal life is going to be written about.
It may start out with a tweet, a sighting of you with someone who looks like they could be more than a friend. And then that could progress to an article, be it on a fan's Tumblr page or in the Los Angeles Times' entertainment section. Perhaps you'll continue to see this other person, enough so that you'll be considered a "couple." Maybe, you'll even marry that person.
And if you do, watch out.
Because to be a famous person in a relationship is to be someone who, at some point, will be the subject of a breakup rumor.
The proof that no one is safe came in October, when the National Enquirer put a national treasure of a couple in its crosshairs.
"At a certain point, you have to call them out on their lies and say, 'You can't do that anymore,'" Rita Wilson, aka Mrs. Tom Hanks, told Extra after they secured an actual apology from the tabloid over a story in its Oct. 10, 2016, issue claimed the actors were divorcing.
"We gave a statement that our marriage is really sacred to us," Wilson said, "and it was just getting unacceptable." Hanks added, "If we do something stupid in public, go ahead, do that; don't make up this nonsense! That was just so bogus, it was kind of...foul." "Insulting," Wilson interjected. "Insulting," Hanks agreed.
Aw, those two...
But as Wilson inferred when she mentioned "a certain point"—to be half of a famous couple is to forever be on the radar of someone waiting for you to split up. If you do, as Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie did after spending the entirety of their decade-long relationship making every kind of positive and negative headline under the sun, then people can claim they knew it wouldn't last all along. If you persist in being married for going on 29 years, like Tom and Rita, then those who have mastered the shady art of driving a premature wedge between otherwise devoted duos may just have to apologize.
Another favorite subject of the "are they splitting?" conversation are Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, who just celebrated 19 years of marriage—but not without having to join forces multiple times over the years to shoot down divorce rumors.
"Every year, one celebrity couple is under the microscope," Jada mused in 2012 to Gala magazine. "This year, unluckily, it's us! I almost want to say that we should have been expecting it."
Even if they were forever after expecting it, that doesn't make it any less annoying, such as when the rumor mill fruitlessly cranked up again in 2015 and Will felt compelled to weigh in before things got even more out of hand.
"Under normal circumstances, I don't usually respond to foolishness. (Because it's contagious)," the actor wrote. "But, so many people have extended me their 'deepest condolences' that I figured - 'What the hell... I can be foolish, too!'"
Stars don't age out of this high school gossip stage, either, unfortunately.
Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, partners for the last 33 years and perhaps the most enduring dual-celebrity couple in Hollywood at this point, were plagued with a sprinkle of split rumors over the last couple of years, one in which another man came between them and another in which Hawn stormed out after "the fight to end all fights." As if their walls actually do talk.
And yet there were the lovebirds at the Golden Globes last month, defying the odds (hey, it's still Hollywood after all) and the tabloid covers.
While Kurt and Goldie are so set in their blissfully unmarried ways by now as to spend more time laughing off wedding talk rather than debunking split talk, other couples prefer to speak out in depth to set the record straight, because—no matter how cool and carefree you start off—demoralizing headlines can start to take their toll.
"I can't imagine not being married. I have my best friend, the person I want to spend time with more than anybody else in the world," Ellen DeGeneres told People in October when divorce speculation got out of hand for her and her wife of now six years, Portia de Rossi (and not for the first time).
If memory serves, at least one round of Ellen-Portia split speculation was triggered by...an empty chair. As in, Portia wasn't with Ellen at one event. Maybe two.
But that's literally all it takes, a little distance—at least as far as the public eye can see—and you're estranged. And you most certainly don't need to be married, or even that serious yet.
People wondered whether Bradley Cooper and Irina Shayk had broken up last year, purely because they weren't photographed together for a few months (the exact same thing has befallen the likes of Natalie Portman and Benjamin Millepied, Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes and David and Victoria Beckham in the past).
A source assured E! News in the meantime, however, that Bradley and Irina were still getting along fabulously and were even talking marriage and kids—and sure enough, Irina turned up pregnant rather than single.
Expecting your first or already parents of three, there is no geographical distance that doesn't go un-probed when people are trying to figure out the state of your relationship.
Like Tom Hanks, Chris Hemsworth also woke up in October to the unexpected news that his marriage was on the rocks. So he reached out to Elsa Pataky, his wife of now six years, for an update: "Looking for a new wife according to @womansdayaus and other misleading outlets! Honey you still love me right?! @elsapatakyconfidential #thanksfortheheadsup."
Welcome to the club, kids.
"We've been married 17 years, and since the first week we were married those things were out," Tim McGraw told People in 2013 when divorce rumors were running amok around him and Faith Hill. "We don't even think about it. The only time we ever think about it is [when we] worry about the kids. But they've been around it, too, so they laugh it off."
"I don't know why 'happy' can't be a story," Hill told a Las Vegas audience while performing with her hubby that year.
Speaking of which, one solution, if feasible, is to start going everywhere together.
McGraw and Hill, who just attended the Grammys together on Sunday, will head out on their Soul2Soul The World Tour, marking the 10th anniversary of their first Soul2Soul tour, in April.
Or there's an even more effective, albeit slightly harder to pull off, option if you want to quiet the naysayers:
Take split rumors, turn them into a zeitgeist-electrifying album—audio and visual—that prompts vast conspiracy theories and leaves people obsessed with you.
Then, hit the road and positively conquer, night after night. And just when fans aren't quite sure what you're going to do next...
Emerge from your holiday vacation pregnant with twins and turn the Grammys into your own personal playground.
That ought to shut people up, at least for a while.