What If Sandra Bullock's Marriage Were More Like Mo'Nique's?

Are open relationships the way to go in Hollywood? Here are the pros and the cons

By Joal Ryan Mar 25, 2010 3:15 PMTags
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A couple of weeks ago, if you could have bet money on which Oscar-winning actress's union was built to last, would you have gone with the one whose husband fought back tears during his wife's acceptance speech, or the one who talked up open marriage to Barbara Walters?

We thought so.

In the wake, however, of the "Bombshell" who apparently blindsided Sandra Bullock, we got to thinking, Carrie Bradshaw-style: Is Mo'Nique onto something? Are open marriages the way to go in Hollywood?

"In some ways, absolutely, yes," says author Jenny Block, who wrote about her own open relationship in Open: Love, Sex, and Life in an Open Marriage. "[Two people can say], 'Look, let's not kid ourselves, you and I are going to be in different countries, filming different movies…"

The idea of not kidding your spouse, or yourself, is central to the idea of the open marriage, experts say.

"I truly don't care if Jesse James wants to have three girlfriends and a wife," sex guru Tristan Taormino says of Bullock's husband. "It's all the stuff that comes with cheating that hurts people, and it seems like that's unnecessary because there is another option."   

Taormino's the author of Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships, so you can guess what the other option is. Or maybe you can't.

If you want to know, it's what Mo'Nique talked about: being open, as in, being honest.   

"I just wish that people could be honest about their desires, and could make agreements to do what they want to do, and not have all this lying and betrayal and hurt," Taormino says, "because I think in the end, when you talk to people who have been cheated on, the sex is not necessarily the issue—it's the lying."

According to Taormino, who in researching her book interviewed more than 100 people who were partners in an open relationship, sometimes with great fidelity, producing marriages of up to 30 years, sex isn't even necessarily where it's at in the convention-defying arrangement.

"I think there's a mythology of people just going out and having sex with everyone," Taormino says. "…I truly believe if someone like Tiger Woods had an open marriage, the number of partners he had would have decreased."

Now, the truth is, we don't know what the understandings were, or are, for Woods and wife Elin, just as we don't what about the ground rules, if any, for Bullock and James. We only know what we see: tons of tabloid headlines; four apparently miserable and/or chagrined spouses; and, oh, by the way, nothing, nada, zip in the way of scandal for Mo'Nique, Tilda Swinton or any other boldfaced name in an avowed nontraditional union.

So, is open marriage the way to go for Hollywood—or would that be too weird?

Says Block: "The weird thing to me is people cheat."


When it comes to the Jesse James scandal, we are nothing if not an open book. Get all the headlines and updates right here.