Our favorite celebrity couples have all been given similar marching orders.
They must be photogenic, glamorous yet somehow normal at the same time, the epitome of #goals and, last but not least, responsible for holding up their end of the keep-love-alive bargain they unwittingly signed with the world's romantics when they decided to get together.
That social contract can create some expectations. So when one of the couples that has been proudly flying the flag for the Republic of Perfect Coupledom calls it a day, the flag all of a sudden flying at half mast, disappointment usually ensues.
But while the Internet has stuck a fork in love and called it done umpteen times over the years, the mournful cries that reverberated across the online landscape Sunday night when Chris Pratt and Anna Faris announced they were legally separating after eight years of marriage formed a collective shriek not heard since...
In its 180-degree, happy-news equivalent, their separation announcement was akin to the revelation that Mindy Kaling was pregnant, in that people inserted themselves into the equation. In that case it was celebratory, but in this it was as if their experience of life was actually going to be affected by these two actors ending their marriage.
It was quite a display, really. People posted screengrabs of the message exchanges they were having with equally devastated (or impressively jaded) friends and family members. Twitter's GIF game rose to the occasion accordingly. Everyone who weighed in seemed to be competing for the title of Most Over-the-Top Reaction, and there was easily a 300-way tie.
Tweets in the vein of "I don't care at all but, seriously, was it my fault?!" were personal favorites.
Folks also made sure to point out how much they didn't care about other big celebrity breakups (Brange-who?), or maybe even celebrities in general, but this...
Nothing short of tragic.
(Speaking of which, the following couples have been warned that they must never break up: John Krasinski and Emily Blunt. Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard. Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. John Legend and Chrissy Teigen, you're all on notice. The world is apparently counting on you.)
So why them? Why Faris and Pratt, who of course evinced all of the hall-of-fame relationship qualities and more, but at the end of the day were also just another couple of actors who found each other and unfortunately their evolution as people pushed them apart rather than brought them closer together.
Why is it so heartbreaking that they didn't work out, as opposed to the countless other celebrity couples who didn't make it?
Well, they have a son together, the relentlessly adorable Jack Pratt, and he's barely 5.
But they're hardly alone in being parents who are now going to have to make that sad transition to "co-parents." Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have six kids, and that certainly didn't make anyone six times sadder when Jolie filed for divorce. Nor did the presence of kids belonging to Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale, etc., add to the outside world's sorrow factor.
Longevity? Eight years is a respectably long marriage in Hollywood years, but all of the above lasted longer (factoring in Brad and Angie's almost decade-long partnership before marriage).
Chris and Anna are quite attractive, to be sure. But everyone's attractive.
They had also said some pretty wonderful things about each other in public. Yet so have most couples in happy times. That's why they're called happy times.
Or is it just because Pratt and Faris seem to be such genuinely nice people, two stars who were still cruising at peak likability, who hadn't rubbed anyone the wrong way with red carpet ambivalence, a reluctance to share their lives with fans, lifestyle websites, high-mindedness, confusing quotes that needed "clarification," or an affect of snobbery?
That could be it.
Pratt and Faris, both best known for comedic roles (always a good place to start on the approachability scale) were operating in decidedly A-plus fashion as a unit, publicly complimenting each other, sharing self-deprecating parenting anecdotes, playing the Instagram game and cleaning up nicely for red carpet date nights, which they genuinely looked happy to be enjoying together.
All of which would encourage fans to feel connected, and fans certainly communicated the other night just how closely linked their happiness, or lack thereof in the moment, was linked to the state of Faris and Pratt's union.
"We're from the same place. We both know the same trees and smells and birds. It sounds corny, but those are things that ground us in everything outside of Hollywood," Faris said recently, talking about her marriage in the October 2017 issue of Happy Living.
Meanwhile, now we know for sure that she and Pratt had been actively trying "hard for a long time" to save their marriage. But that doesn't make the still seemingly sudden turn for the worse any more understandable.
And so like with all things that people find confusing or downright confounding, an abomination when it comes to the rightful order of the universe, relationship detectives immediately set out to figure out why. Because heaven forbid that this just be "one of those things."
Though Faris stars in a network sitcom and has starred in over a dozen movies, including the hit Scary Movie franchise, it's Pratt who's currently the Marvel hero—so was it him hitting next-level fame (as well as next-level hotness) that put them on different paths? Was it the competing schedules? The time spent apart? A divergence in their approaches to parenting?
Did Pratt...do something?
There has been zero evidence of that, but it didn't stop the Internet from pointing a finger a Pratt's Passengers co-star Jennifer Lawrence as some sort of breakup facilitator. To that, all we have to say is...
Really, Internet? Must you, every time?
Even the breakup announcement itself was mined for parts, with a whole faction snottily quibbling with Pratt and Faris asking for privacy while simultaneously breaking the news of their split in a joint statement posted to their respective social media accounts.
Damned if they do, damned if they don't.
Frankly, those people might just be sour that no one would bat an eye if their relationship failed. What's the difference? Divorce or legal separation papers, when filed in California at least, are public. People are going to find out. Whether Pratt and Faris actively cared about saving themselves hundreds of headlines speculating about the absence of wedding rings and a dearth of sightings, or they just wanted to rip off the Band-Aid and call it a night, their mode of revelation was not up for argument.
In fact, Pratt and Faris were keeping it personal and private in their own way by using social media as opposed to having a rep issue a statement to media outlets.
Of course, maybe their announcement critics were just trying to mask their hurt.
It's obvious that Pratt and Faris as a couple meant a lot to so many, be it because they were both funny people who always said the right, charming things in the public eye or because they really did represent a modicum of hope for people hoping to find (or hang onto) their own little piece of relationship paradise in this topsy-turvy world.