Rest in peace, Brangelina. One of the most iconic Hollywood couples came to an abrupt end as actress Angelina Jolie announced, more or less out of the blue, that she had filed for divorce from her husband of 2 years, but partner of 12, actor Brad Pitt. While gossip-hungry sites were quick to jump to wild conclusions about a love triangle — especially after the Aniston affair that rocked the year 2005 — Jolie's statement made it clear: The reason for the split was not cheating, it came from disagreements over the upbringing of their kids.
While this Earth-shattering bit of news sent fans into a frenzy for plenty of different and personal reasons — do you remember the actors from Mr. and Mrs. Smith, or were you avidly following the growth of their impressive family? — one of the main fears that started emerging was that we were actually witnessing the downfall of an entire Hollywood era, with the loss of what we call a power couple.
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What Is A Power Couple?
While you could be tempted to call all the Hollywood couples who have withstood the passage of time "power couples," there's something more to the concept than just making the marriage last. The power couple has reached a stage in which, although both members exist separately, they have become a single entity with their own fans and influence.
The case of Brad and Angelina is the ultimate example: Brad Pitt on his own is an actor who can still bring in the box office numbers; Jolie is an actress, director and humanitarian activist. But together, they are Brangelina, and they represent a certain idea of love, soulmates that had found each other even at a time when it seemed they were both set on different life paths. On each of their red carpet appearances, they seemed to only have eyes for each other, and made the world envious of their love.
They're not the last ones to have displayed a genuine love for each other intertwined with a business-like approach to existing as a couple. Take Victoria and David Beckham, who've built a close-knit family, are boasting 17 years of marriage and can't seem to run out of adorable moments to remember from their early days together. Or even Beyoncé and Jay-Z, who despite the Lemonade tsunami still appear as one entity, with some even speculating that Jay-Z was in on the visual album that might just have been a marketing tool all along.
Has The Power Couple Become Obsolete?
Meanwhile, our younger idols seem to be royally screwing it up. Professional heartbreak-songwriter Taylor Swift has built an empire on her musings about summer crushes, mad love and casual dating. The new generation is getting together and breaking up at the speed of light; we'd barely had time to register that T-Swift and DJ boyfriend Calvin Harris had called it quits (and we're still listening to the song she penned for him under a pseudonym) before she was already in and out of a relationship with James Bond wannabe Tom Hiddleston, complete with meeting each other's families, strolling real close to the lenses of the paparazzi, and even an "I <3 T.S." T-shirt for the gentleman.
Even with the Beckham genes, it seems things aren't always meant to last. We had hopes for Chloë Grace Moretz and young Beckham offspring Brooklyn Beckham, but the two called it quits not long before the actress announced she was withdrawing from all her film projects. Meanwhile, Justin Bieber broke it off with Sofia Richie after only a few weeks — an abrupt end when the start of their relationship had caused an Instagram stir that involved the ire of his fans, his ex Selena Gomez stepping in, and the Biebs eventually deleting his account. So, is this the stereotypical millennial fear of commitment? Is the pressure of the star system too high for these blooming romances? While being famous obviously doesn't make love stories any easier, something's clearly changed in today's celebrity landscape.
With Social Media, Celebrity Images Are Spinning Out Of Control
Just like social media has made the search for a soulmate more difficult for us mere mortals — when one picture of your crush hugging someone who isn't you popping up on Facebook is enough to give you countless sleepless nights — the notion of the celebrity power couple seems to have fallen into a trap. At first, the idea of managing their own online profiles gave famous people an alternative to trying to cozy up with the media, building their own narratives instead of crossing their fingers every time the newspaper would land on their doormat. Social media came with the promise that the user would be in control, and celebrities leaped at the opportunity.
Looking again at TayTay's example, her Instagram feed is a carefully curated collection of images where not a single shot breaks the image she's constructed for herself, your cool friend not quite next door who casually hangs out with the world's most talked-about models, but still likes goofy cats and sipping hot chocolate with her BFF while wearing cute matching onesies. But when her scandal with Kim Kardashian and Kanye West rolled around, suddenly she was being labeled a liar; her comments were drowned in snake emojis; each of her statements on the matter only seemed to add fuel to the fire. Her fans had become so involved in following every moment of her life that it only took one moment not aligning with the rest for all hell to break loose.
Can We Resist Oversharing?
Which brings me to suggesting that the reason this new generation of celebrities hasn't been able to pick up the mantle of the power couple is simply oversharing. When a fresh romance is instantly submitted to the piercing eyes and wildly effective clicks of the fan masses, it's no surprise that it becomes much harder for two potential lovebirds to take it past the first date.
There's a reason couples such as the Jolie-Pitts and the Beckhams are barely on social media, and it's the wisdom of knowing certain things will not resist the scrutiny of the public eye. Granted, the Kardashian-West family have become professionals at online sharing, but just like their fashion choices, they are the exception that confirms the rule. We fans are not supposed to know everything, and celebrities should resist the urge to feed the gossip-hungry crowds. That's why Jolie, in her lawyer's statement, knowingly "asks that the family be given their privacy during this difficult time" — and until we hear a celebrity younger than 25 making the same kind of request, I'm afraid power couples will be no more.
Do you think the younger generation of celebrities shares too much?