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Channing Tatum, Jenna Dewan Announce Split: A Look At The Language Of Separation In Hollywood

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The soulful literature of separation… it all began with Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin’s “conscious uncoupling”

#Couplegoals, #relationshipgoals, #bae and every word out of the millennial’s dictionary to describe lovers has been used on Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan, the It couple who announced their separation on Tuesday. That was Buzzfeed’s cue to make listicles on “love is officially dead”. Love died when Chris Pratt and Jennifer Garner separated, love died once again when Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux announced their divorce, turns out love never really had a chance with these celebrity couples taking turns to call it quits.

Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan met on the sets of Step Up in 2006, where, just like in the movie, the two fell in love whilst dancing with each other. After being married for nearly ten years, one unsuspecting evening (April 3, to be precise), the two announced something that made Buzzfeed (ahem) and scores of Twitter followers scream ‘love is officially dead’ on social media again.

The two, releasing a joint statement from their respective social media accounts, announced that they have decided to “lovingly separate as a couple”.

“We fell deeply in love so many years ago and have had a magical journey together. Absolutely nothing has changed about how much we love one another, but love is a beautiful adventure that is taking us on different paths for now,” is what their statement read.

Their statement, overwrought with the words ‘love’, ‘joyous’, probably mask something heartbreaking.

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But they sound so so so respectful and dignified. And there is the unmistakable mention of always being a family.

There is no right way to announce a break-up, and their carefully-crafted announcement reads as perfect as their devastating good looks. An art really, something that Gwyneth Paltrow might have inadvertently started. Remember, conscious uncoupling?

Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin
Credits: Vanity Fair

She and her husband, Chris Martin, announced in 2014 that they will soon “consciously uncouple”. Their joint statement read:

It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate. We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate. We are, however, and always will be a family, and in many ways we are closer than we have ever been. We are parents first and foremost, to two incredibly wonderful children and we ask for their and our space and privacy to be respected at this difficult time. We have always conducted our relationship privately, and we hope that as we consciously uncouple and co-parent, we will be able to continue in the same manner.

Love,
Gwyneth & Chris

According to psychotherapist and author Katherine Woodward Thomas, consciously uncoupling is “the art of completion” and describes it as “a proven process for lovingly completing a relationship that will leave you feeling whole and healed and at peace”. While a lot of terms might be alien to us, the liberal usage of ‘love’ and ‘being closer than ever’ isn’t far from what most break-up statements come with.

It was a smart move by Gwyneth & Chris team to bamboozle people with an outlandish term like “conscious uncoupling” to completely take the focus away from their divorce, to the literature of their separation. You won’t find these good looking, successful people raving and ranting about each other and how they have disappointed each other. It’s always about “loving your family” and staying friends, probably keeping in mind the impossibly high standards these celebrities always measure against.

Anna Faris and Chris Pratt
Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

Anna Faris and Chris Pratt, when they announced their separation last year, broke the Internet with memes about how ‘nothing is sacred anymore’. Their joint statement, however, almost cut to the chase.

Gossip columns had a field day speculating their break-up, but it’s not like their statement was saccharine sweet  anyway. That sometimes, break-ups happen, they don’t work out, and, while love shouldn’t be declared dead, heartbreaks are a guarantee.

Faris spoke a little more about the break-up, but good things – about staying friends and always having each other.

On the other hand, Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck reaffirmed that not all statements must be taken at face value. When the two had announced their separation in 2015, they kept it short and crisp. The language used was more formal, as though things had been simmering for a while and it maybe best to walk away.

“After much thought and careful consideration, we have made the difficult decision to divorce. We go forward with love and friendship for one another and a commitment to co-parenting our children whose privacy we ask to be respected during this difficult time. This will be our only comment on this private, family matter. Thank you for understanding,” read their statement.

Soon enough, Garner shed further light on their split to Vanity Fair. The words ‘love’ and ‘closer than ever’ featured too, but she, however, did admit that the couple wasn’t perfect. Rumours of him cheating on her with the nanny were not the problem, she said.

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There were other factors. And while they co-parented and lived with each other for sometime, she did say it was “annoying” being together. He finally moved out of the house in 2017.

A celebrity break-up is certain fodder for water-cooler gossip, with everyone wanting to know who got the dog, who has to attend the children’s PTA meetings and who won the house in the settlement. In such an unforgiving world, can we really blame them for keeping it civil?

*****

Featured Image: Hollywood Life

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