The 5 Stages of Grieving Over a Celebrity Divorce

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We know that we shouldn’t continue to be surprised about celebrity divorces, and most of the time, we’re not. Take Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, for example — much as we (okay, Em: She’s the Us Weekly reader of the two of us) enjoyed the sweet photos of their “date afternoons” drinking smoothies together or pushing their kids on the swings at the local park, that marriage seemed like a ticking time bomb, given Affleck’s fondness for booze, gambling and other women. But Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale? That separation hurts!

From the outside, at least, they seemed to have it all — a true marriage of equals that still had passion and sweetness after all these years (and all those kids). We loved that Stefani still talked about how hot her husband was, decades into their relationship, and we loved that dry-witted Brit Rossdale joked about how to “have it all” in a marriage. As he said on The Howard Stern Show recently: “

[Reporters] say to me, ‘You’re doing this, you’ve got a new record…’How do you guys find time for each other?’ And I said, ‘We don’t, that’s why we’ve been together so long.’ I was f–king around, that’s funny to me. Where I’m from, that’s funny. And it was funny, for about a week, and then it’s like, ‘oh…interesting.’ So it’s just me and my big mouth.

Passion, humor and a marriage of equals who professed massive respect for each other’s work and hotness — if they can’t make it work, then who can? Next you’ll be telling us the Obamas’ marriage is on the rocks. (Please. No.)

So to help us all through this difficult time — and any future difficult times to come — we have prepared a guide to the five stages of grief when it comes to mourning a celebrity marriage.

1. Denial

This first stage of grief helps us to survive the loss.  Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. We go numb. Denial helps us to pace our feelings of grief — it is nature’s way of letting in only as much grief as we can handle. Common thoughts in this stage:
1) The magazine must have got it wrong. I’m canceling my Twitter!
2) Maybe they just need some time apart to realize how much they miss each other.
3) Even if they divorce, it doesn’t have to be over. Elizabeth Taylor remarried her ex!

2. Anger

Anger is a necessary stage of the healing process. Be willing to feel your anger, even though it may seem endless. The more you truly feel it, the more it will begin to dissipate and the more you will heal. Common thoughts in this stage:
1) Do you know how often I defended your marriage to the doubting masses? I even Tweeted about you!
2) Why would you tell Cosmopolitan magazine how in love you were just a few months ago? That made me fall more in love with your marriage, and you knew that would happen!
3) Oh, so NOW you want privacy, so you can heal? What about MY healing process, huh?!

3. Bargaining

This is when you will do anything if only the couple will spare you the grief of separating. Guilt is often bargaining’s companion. The “if onlys” cause us to find fault in ourselves and what we think we could have done differently. We remain in the past, trying to negotiate our way out of the hurt. Common bargains attempted during this stage include:
1) I promise to never again read Star magazine or any other crappy publication that publishes nasty rumors about your marriage being on the rocks when it’s not. I’ll stick to Us Weekly! I promise!
2) I’ll buy your new album instead of downloading it for free! I’ll buy it twice, and I’ll make all my friends buy it too!
3) If Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner got back together, would you consider a reconciliation then? What about if Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake decided to start over?

4. Depression

Empty feelings present themselves, and grief enters on a deeper level, deeper than we ever imagined. This depressive stage feels as though it will last forever, when a loss fully settles in your soul. Common thoughts during this stage include:
1) I’ll never Tweet again.
2) What’s the point in even watching TV?
3) If they can’t make love work, then love is a fallacy and we should all give up trying. 

5. Acceptance

Acceptance is often confused with the notion of being okay with what happened. This is not the case. You will probably never feel “okay” with this celebrity divorce. Instead, this stage is about accepting the reality that the celebrity marriage is over, and that this new reality is permanent. Common thoughts during this stage, as we learn to live with the divorce, include:
1) Perhaps their careers will now blossom separately. Heartbreak is good material, after all.
2) What celebrity marriage could possibly survive in the spotlight for that long?
3) At least we still have the Obamas. And the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise.

Still need comforting?
10 Reasons Why the First Marriage Rocks Our World

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