by Carson Abrir
For many of America’s most famous marriages, thankfully the Year of the Golden Tiger will soon be over, along with what fans of Chinese Zodiac (and millions more who happen to look at the placemat while waiting for their egg rolls) recognize as a period of unpredictability, quick tempers, and carelessness, albeit with a good bit of affection.
2010 brought the end of marriages many saw as models of love and intimacy and others that raised eyebrows from the first public kiss.
The most surprising break-up of the year wasn’t desperate ex-housewife Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, notorious Hollywood bad boy Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller, final cheers for Camille and Kelsey Grammer, Jesse James’ blind siding of Miss Congeniality herself, Sandra Bullock, the sinking of Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes, Greg Norman and Chris Evert’s double fault, Lib and Randy Travis’ forever and over, Sean Penn and Robin Wright’s broken pledge, Myrna and Morgan Freeman’s breakup amidst allegations that kiss the girls was not just the title of his 1997 blockbuster, or even Elin Nordegren’s discovery that Tiger Woods’ double bogeys weren’t limited to the green.
The news that caused a million double takes came mid-year when we learned that after four decades, Tipper and Al Gore were calling it quits on what appeared to be a fairy tale marriage.
Here’s a look back at some of the year’s heart breaks along with hope that 2011’s Year of the Rabbit that officially begins February 3rd will keep its promise of a period of increased focus on home, family and strengthening relationships.
After 40 Years, Last Kiss for Tipper and Al Gore
The surprising divorce announcement from Al and Tipper Gore has saddened people who know them, but friends and experts say there were subtle cracks in their marriage that were easy to miss.
Together, the two had weathered the near-death of their son in a 1989 car accident, Gore’s vice-presidency, his loss of the presidency to Florida’s notorious chad ballots, and then his reinvention as an environmental crusader.
But as their marriage passed the 40-year mark, their paths and expectations diverged, former Gore campaign manager Tony Coelho said.
Tiger Woods: 2010’s Face of Infidelity
Cheers swept over Elin Nordegren’s native land when her divorce from Tiger Woods was finalized. Katarina Andersson reports from Sweden on its tradition of strong women, bafflement at the huge payout—and pride that Elin walked away.
As news broke late Monday night in Sweden that philandering golfer Tiger Woods and his wife, Elin Nordegren, had finally divorced, the country’s leading websites were clogged with commentary cheering on the Swedish-born Elin.
The news got big attention in Sweden. Fat headlines declared, “The Divorce Finalized Last Night,” and the newspapers dwelled on the frosty atmosphere in court. Aftonbladet, the biggest newspaper in Sweden, explained loud and clear, “Elin is going to be a millionaire.” A dollar millionaire that is, even though it might be enough for most Swedes to become a millionaire in their own currency.
Swedish newspapers also noted that Elin will not keep Woods as her last name. She will take back her maiden name, a common practice in Sweden for women who get divorced and no longer want to be associated with their ex-husband. But in this case, it might take more than a name change.
“Swedish women like Elin are brought up to be independent and strong,” said Karin Magnusson, the op-ed editor for Aftonbladet. “You can only stand for so much humiliation.”
No More Cheers for Camille and Kelsey Grammer
As she began filming Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and her hubby Kelsey Grammer starred on Broadway and began an extra-marital affair, Camille saw her marriage of 14 years disappear.
On when she found out the marriage was over:
“In June I got a phone call from a mutual friend in New York who was upset by behavior of his that she’d seen. I asked, ‘Is he leaving me?’ and she said, ‘Yes.’ I called him but couldn’t get through, so I texted him and asked him to please call me. Nothing. An hour later, I texted him again and he wrote: ‘I don’t want to talk.; I wrote, ‘We’ve been together for 14 years; I deserve an explanation.’ Finally, three hours later, he called me. He basically said, ‘I don’t want to be married anymore.'”
On her reaction:
“I asked him if there was anything we could work on. I offered to go to therapy. Having children, I wasn’t ready to throw in the towel. But his mind was already made up. I started crying and he said, ‘Oh, grow up.’ I said, ‘What about our children?’ and he said, ‘They’ll get over it.’ It was harsh.”
On her mental state:
“I feel completely abandoned. I feel dismissed. This all happened very quickly for me. We don’t even speak. He doesn’t want to. For me, having two children together, it’s very important that the two of us communicate. He only wants to communicate via e-mail, through our lawyers or a therapist who acts as a mediator.”
On the future:
“I was scared at first, and there’s still fear. But I’m excited about my future. That sounds weird, I know. But Kelsey was a very difficult man to have a relationship with. I miss him, but I don’t want to look back anymore. Everything is new. I’m excited about rediscovering myself and becoming independent again.”
Eva Longoria and Tony Parker: Texts and Tweets
Eva Longoria has filed for divorce from pro hoops player Tony Parker — and yes, as of Wednesday they really mean it.
The “Desperate Housewives” actress, 35, did the deed in an L.A. court, People says. A report that Parker, 28, had filed for divorce in Texas was shot down by Longoria’s rep, who told TMZ on Tuesday that the San Antonio Spurs point guard didn’t even have a divorce lawyer.
Longoria confirmed the news on her Twitter account, saying, “It is with great sadness that after 7 years together, Tony and I have decided to divorce. We love each other deeply and pray for each other’s happiness.”
Hitting the Rocks on Christmas Day
Actor Charlie Sheen cited “irreconcilable differences” when he filed for divorce from Brooke Mueller Monday afternoon, a marriage that apparently hit the rocks when he was arrested last Christmas Day.
Sheen listed December 25, 2009, as their date of separation and the day their twin infant sons began living solely with him. The couple married on May 30, 2008.
The divorce petition, filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court, requested jointed legal and physical custody of Bob and Max Sheen, the boys who were born to the couple on March 14, 2009.
Sandra Bullock and Jesse James Strike Out
It’s officially over for Sandra Bullock and Jesse James.
The pair filed papers under seal last week in Texas to finalize their divorce after their nearly five-year marriage crumbled amid reports of infidelity by James, PEOPLE confirms.
The Oscar-winning actress, 45, filed for divorce in April in Austin, where she has a home. The papers cited “discord or conflict of personalities” as the reason for the split.
Bullock’s rep confirmed Monday that the divorce is now final.
The divorce helps clear the way for her to finalize the adoption of her son Louis as a single mother. The actress, who is now legally single and by law would have to wait 30 days before she can marry again, also “presumably worked out a private visitation agreement” for James’s kids, Weinman says.
No Life Raft for Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes
British movie star Kate Winslet has separated from her film director husband Sam Mendes after nearly seven years of marriage, their law firm said Monday.
The surprise split puts an end to a golden couple of Britain’s show business world, buttressed by matching Oscars and a host of commercial successes and artistic accolades.
The pair’s law firm, Schillings, said the split was “entirely amicable and is by mutual agreement.”
Winslet, 34, shot to international stardom on the back of her appearance opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in James Cameron’s “Titanic,” and sealed her reputation with an Academy Award for best actress for her role in “The Reader” in 2009.
Mendes, 44, was already an acclaimed stage director by the time he won an Oscar for directing “American Beauty” in 1999.
The pair married in a small, low-key ceremony in the Caribbean in May 2003. It was Winslet’s second marriage. Her first, to British director Jim Threapleton, ended in divorce in 2001.
Winslet has an 9-year-old daughter, Mia, from her marriage to Threapleton and a 6-year-old son, Joe, with Mendes. Schillings’ statement said Winslet and Mendes were “fully committed to the future joint parenting of their children.”
Double Fault: Chris Evert and Greg Norman
Fifteen months later, the once inseparable couple are just that — separated — jointly releasing a statement that said only, “We will remain friends and supportive of one another’s family.”
Turns out, that’s not entirely true, at least from Evert’s perspective. In a recent interview with Woman’s Day, Evert spoke frankly about her short-lived relationship. (Via News.com.au):
“I had no idea it was coming. No idea,” Evert said of her split with Norman. It wasn’t talked about, ever. … Never in a million years did I imagine it would end up like this.” …
A brutally frank Evert has told the magazine she and Norman would never be friends and the divorce has put her off seeking new love. When asked if she missed Norman, Evert said: “I miss my family time with Andy and the kids. That was 20 years of history. Probably the best years of my life. I also really miss Greg’s parents. The best part about him are his parents.”
Forever and Over: Lib and Randy Travis
One of country music’s longest-lasting couples have called it quits.
After 19 years, Randy Travis, 51, and his manager/wife Elizabeth “Lib” Travis have ended their marriage.”The divorce was finalized as of this morning,” spokesperson Maureen O’Connor confirmed to PEOPLE on Friday.
The couple filed a petition for dissolution of marriage in Santa Fe, NM. The court papers say a “state of incompatibility exists between the two parties,” the Associated Press reports.
In a statement, the rep says, “Elizabeth and Randy Travis have agreed to part ways. Elizabeth will remain Mr. Travis’ personal manager. They do not intend to comment any further and ask for your respect for their privacy during this time.”
The pair married in secret in 1991 after dating for more than a decade.
Morgan Freeman, Myrna Colley-Lee: Long Time Coming
Actor Morgan Freeman and his wife have finalized their divorce in Mississippi.
A Tallahatchie County judge entered the divorce decree on Sept. 15, William R. Wright, an attorney who represented Freeman, told The Associated Press. Terms of the divorce are sealed, Wright said.
“It was done without a trial,” Wright said Friday. “Everybody is glad it’s over.”
Freeman and his now ex-wife, Myrna Colley-Lee, had separated in December 2007 after 26 years of marriage. The divorce was filed under seal in July 2008.
Sean Penn, Robin Wright: A Ghost to Me Now
After a few false starts, Sean Penn and Robin Wright’s divorce is finally behind them.
The former couple has reached a private agreement on child support, spousal support, split of assets and custody over their son, Hopper Jack, 17, according to court papers filed July 22 in Marin County, Calif.
Penn, 49, and Wright, 44, who are now legally single and free to wed others, also have a daughter together, Dylan, 19.The process of divorcing hasn’t been without its hitches for the actors. In Dec. 2007, the two started divorce proceedings after 11 years of marriage, only to call it off four months later.
Penn then filed for legal separation in April 2009 before the couple again temporarily reunited in May. Wright later finally filed for divorce in August and told More magazine she had no plans to reconcile with the actor.
Since their most recent split, Wright has been enjoying her newfound independence and has said she’ll remain friends with her ex, though the feeling doesn’t appear to be mutual.
In an interview for Vanity Fair‘s July issue, the actor reflected on his split. “[Robin] is a ghost to me now. We spent all those years together … Now she’s just gone.”