Well, here we go again. Another much-adored, highly-admired Hollywood couple bites the dust. As soon as Heidi Klum and Seal announced their separation last weekend, Facebook and Twitter blew up with exclamations of disappointment, sadness and utter dismay.
“If Heidi Klum and Seal can’t make it,” one friend posted on Facebook, “then what hope do the rest of us have?”
I think she was being sarcastic, but I’m not totally sure. Though it feels foolish to admit, every time a famous couple announces they’re splitting, our own hopes and dreams do get shaken up a bit. The stories of Hollywood’s most romantic couples have become our grown-up fairy tales.
Yes, we’re all old enough to realize Prince Charming isn’t coming with the glass slipper. But tabloid covers and red carpet interviews make modern day fairy tales seem possible in real life: fancy cars and castles, luxury vacations, a gaggle of cute kids, perfect teeth, tiny waists and lasting, heart-thumping romance. As we wash the dishes, change dirty diapers and Swiffer the floors with Entertainment Tonight trumpeting those tales in the background, that life seems almost attainable. After all, those pretty people in their ball gowns and bling are real people, too. Right?
It’s no wonder we feel so stunned and unsettled when another perfect Hollywood romance crumbles. Often without warning, our image of their perfect life is swiftly replaced by rumors of fights and infidelities. Another fairy tale ends badly, another love story fades to black. And we’re left to wonder: if lasting love isn’t possible for two people who could afford any therapist, any nanny, any fantasy getaway – how are we regular folks supposed to make it work?
Perhaps we’re looking for love in all the wrong places.
Love’s true heroes are rarely dressed to the nines or buying mansions in the Hollywood Hills. They don’t rely on bling and spotlights and music videos to proclaim their love. They’re couples whose love and respect for one another have stood the test of time, through highs and lows.
I’m thinking fondly today of one sweet and beautiful couple I know – so frail and fragile that their family has just moved them into a nursing home together. She has Alzheimer’s, he has chronic pain; but they remain so in love and so deeply connected that it’s unimaginable to separate them for even a day. That’s the kind of couple who deserves to be on the covers of magazines, engraved in our hearts as an example of true and lasting love. I bet Heidi and Seal are wishing on stars that they could find that kind of love, too.