Scarlett Johansson, Ryan Reynolds


It takes a certain kind of person to be a movie star. It takes a certain kind of person to be married to a movie star. And it probably takes another kind of person altogether to stay married to a movie star—even if that person is also, indeed, a movie star.

Being an actor or an entertainer one's self certainly helps a person understand the quirks and sacrifices involved when it comes to having a relationship. There's the amount of attention that's desired (or downright required) to make each other happy; the time not spent in the same place, let alone physically together; and the attention that needs paying to other people who theoretically have nothing to do with the relationship.

It's a lot to juggle, and while some couples simply implement the two-week rule and go on about their business, others are going to butt heads no matter how much care they pay to logistics or even how in love they are (or how in love they started out).

No one on the outside really knows what's going on behind closed doors, but that doesn't mean certain themes haven't developed.

When two celebrities break up, several phrases inevitably pop into the collective conscience: "Awww, what?! Noooo…" "Oh, big surprise" and the autopilot dilly of the bunch: "Who cheated?"

Which is not to say anyone actually cheated, but rather that's the cynicism built into the monitoring of the romantic entanglements of the rich, famous and smokin' hot. Temptation abounds, and some sort of freaky honor code enables.

But there's also another glaring fly in the glamorous ointment, one that can plague couples at all stages of the love game, from the casually dating to those married for years. And it prompts the fourth reaction to a celebrity breakup: "Guess [insert skyrocketing star's name here] got too big."

That may sound glib, but it's a real thing, and hardly limited to actors. There's a reason A Star Is Born was made three times, decades apart, with another still on the way.

However, one doesn't necessarily have to be on an upswing while the other's down, or shooting past his or her partner, to cause friction. Stars collide when they're on the same trajectory, after all.

In a new interview with Cosmopolitan, Scarlett Johansson put into words what has to be one of the biggest pitfalls of celebrity relationships—not philandering, not distance, not busyness, but…


And not Channing Tatum vs. Jenna Dewan, bringing it to show each other up on Lip Sync Battle, competitiveness.

Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan Tatum, Lip Sync Battle

Spike TV/Viacom

"The logistics of being with another actor are challenging. There has to be a real understanding of how you share your time, especially when two people's careers are going at the same rate," the Avengers star told the magazine. "Or even if one person is more successful than the other, that also proves challenging. There may be a competitive thing."


Scarlett Johansson, Ryan Reynolds

Fame Pictures

Now married and the mother of a daughter with art dealer Romain Dauriac, Johansson's most prominent relationship beforehand was, of course, with Ryan Reynolds. They were married for roughly two years before separating, and no one who isn't ScarJo or RyRey remembers any of it because they were so private. He married Blake Lively in 2012 and they're parents to 1-year-old daughter James.

But let's examine Johansson's philosophical musings for a moment:

When she and Reynolds tied the knot in September 2008, she was the indie darling star of Lost in Translation (2003), her third collaboration with Woody Allen (Vicky Cristina Barcelona) had just hit heaters, she had starred with Natalie Portman in the period drama The Other Boleyn Girl (based on a best-selling book), she had shot the instantly quotable rom-com He's Just Not That Into You and she had presumably been approached already about playing Black Widow in Iron Man 2, which would come out in 2010.

Quite busy. No wonder she and Reynolds had no time for red carpets together.

Of course Reynolds was working constantly too, albeit not setting any box offices on fire or dazzling any critics with his choice of films. No one could know at the time that his most momentous part—as he geared up to play the Green Lantern—would actually be Wade Wilson in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the role that prompted the development of Deadpool, which is far and away his most successful movie to date.

Deadpool, Ryan Reynolds, Scarlett Johansson, Black Widow

20th Century Fox; Paramount

But that didn't come out until this year. So despite the fact that he obviously wasn't hurting for fame at any point during his marriage to Johansson, even being crowned People's Sexiest Man Alive in 2010 (barely a month before they filed for divorce), was ScarJo implying that a discrepancy at the time in their success levels caused friction?

She very well could've meant exactly that—especially since a year ago she also told Parade, "Acting is a very strange world to be co-existing in. It's very volatile. There's always going to be the more successful person. It's related to rejection. Because actors, if they're not having success, connect it directly to unpopularity—to the fact that nobody wants them. It's not necessarily true. I'm constantly rejected. [Marriage] takes a lot of work. It takes a man who's not only confident in the love that you have for one another, but confident in what he has going on in his own career. He has to be in a field that's completely different from yours. My husband's also involved in art. What's important to him is the recognition that he gets from his job, and that has nothing to do with my job."

But she also could have been talking about literally any celebrity couple that didn't make it or had some issues.

Hilary Swank, Chad Lowe, Oscars Couples

Kevin Mazur/WireImage

There was the Best Actress Oscar curse that split the likes of Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe and Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe, both long-term marriages, in twain. No offense to either of those guys but, despite being famous in their own right, at the time they were better known as their wives' husbands.

Usher, who has two children with ex-wife Tameka Foster and is now married to Grace Miguel, put it rather bluntly when he was quoted as saying, "Breaking up is a natural evolution when you try to figure out what you want in life. If you're with an individual who isn't moving in the same direction and at the same rate that you are, it ain't going to work."


Brian Rasic/Rex/REX USA

Madonna has talked frankly about it being difficult to maintain relationships because, well... she's Madonna. Almost no one is as successful as she is and it sounds as though she at first didn't realize that could prove problematic for some.

"The older I get, the more I understand about the nature of relationships and how to have a successful one," the twice-divorced mother of four told The Daily Mail in 2011, several years after her divorce from Guy Ritchie. "The more I realize that it has to do with compromise and sacrifice and that's just the way it goes. And unless you want to be alone for the rest of your life, you have to realize that."

Guy Ritchie, Madonna, Divorce

Dave M. Benett/Getty Images

The "competitive thing" that Johansson spoke of doesn't have to mean that the actors (or directors, singers, etc.) are keeping score and comparing their roles, their money, their fame—or that they're even consciously aware of anything career-related coming between them.

But if one feels less than at ease about where he or she is at in life, for whatever the reason…

That can lead to so many other problems. The kind of problems where it ultimately doesn't matter what root issue sent them there in the first place.

Russell Brand, Katy Perry

Kevin Mazur/Wireimage

And back to the obvious, there are the logistical issues when one or both have the type of career that has them in a different city on any given day.

"It's a difficult situation…I was really, really in love with her, but it was difficult to see each other," Russell Brand, he of the breakup text message, said about Katy Perry on The Howard Stern Show in 2013. "We were together when it was right to be together, and when it wasn't we worked it out…It was a lovely relationship…it mostly didn't work for practical reasons."

Sofia Vergara, now married to Joe Manganiello, stated at the time on social media about breaking up with longtime beau Nick Loeb: " We have been having too many problems with having to figure out how to spend time together and because of my work and now his, it's been getting worse and worse, not fun anymore."

Relationships of all celebrity stripes are just super-tough, regardless of whose Q rating happens to be on top at the moment.

Justin Bieber, Hailey Baldwin


"You have to have really thick skin and be very strong. You have to focus on the person and nothing else," model Hailey Bieber told Marie Claire, particularly with regard to dating Justin Bieber.

Aside from the logistical impossibility that is focusing on "the person and nothing else" when you have also have a career, most of the time, especially if you meet young, you really don't know what you're getting into, especially since fame can turn on a dime—and back again—constantly.

Justin Timberlake, who was off and on with Jessica Biel before they got together for good, hit it on the head in an interview with Vanity Fair in 2011.

Justin Timberlake, Jessica Biel

Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for GLSEN

"I think the mistake is that people commit to who that person is right then and not the person they're going to become. That's the art of staying together, is changing together," the 'N Sync heartthrob turned singer-actor-media-mogul told the mag . "When you say it like that, it seems damn near impossible, right? Why do you think we all like each other?

"Why do you think we wind up dating each other, and feeling more comfortable around each other? We understand what it's like. 'Oh, thank God—finally, somebody who knows how I feel.' It's refuge."

Such was the case for Cruel Intentions co-stars Witherspoon and Phillippe, who fell in love on set, had two kids and were married for 10 years.

Flashback: Couples at the Golden Globes, Reese Witherspoon, Ryan Phillippe

AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill

"I was so, so young," Witherspoon recalled to Elle U.K. in 2011, four years after their split. "I was, like, ridiculously young. I learned a lot, though. It was an excellent opportunity for me to really find out what it means to be a partner and to be in a marriage and it's not anything that I thought it was."

Phillippe would later attribute their tender ages as a contributing factor to their split as well.

"I think it can create issues with two people in this industry because there's so much noise that goes along with it," the Secrets and Lies star said on Larry King Now last year.

As Madonna also said, in 2012, "Because when you start off, everything's great and lovely, and the person you've married is flawless, and you're flawless. Then time goes by, and you share a life, you have children, and there are cracks in the veneer.

"It's not as romantic as it used to be. You think, 'This isn't what I thought it was going to be,' and 'How much am I willing to sacrifice?"

If the answer is "nothing," then you know you haven't found the right person. And when you find the right person, whatever you do to be happy probably won't feel like that much of a sacrifice.

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