We look up to celebrities. We believe that the unlikelihood of becoming famous amongst the myriad of people living in our world and the ability to hold on to that fame must be indicators of a special personality, a super-human being.
Heartbreak, on the other hand, is a common denominator, a fact of life that unites us all. That’s why when celebrities break up, we search for reasons and logic ("But... how? Why?"). This proved true this summer, as a number of celebrity couples broke up and, in the process, broke our own hearts. It got us thinking... which celebrity breakups of years past have truly shocked us?
Below, a walk down memory lane…
Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt Years Together: July 29, 2000 – October 2, 2005 (married)
Why We’re Shocked: A gentleman according to any Hollywood standard, Pitt shocked us all by supposedly cheating on Aniston while taping Mr. and Mrs. Smith with now-wife Angelina Jolie (a few years after she kissed her brother on the red carpet at the Oscars).
Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck Years Together: June 29, 2005 – August 2015 (married)
Why We’re Shocked: One of the many celebrity breakups that rocked the entertainment world this summer, we are shocked by the allegations that the marriage ended following Affleck’s indiscretions with the nanny.
Rachel McAdams and Ryan Gosling Years Together: 2005 – 2008 (dating)
Why We’re Shocked: One of our all-time favorite couples, McAdams and Gosling started dating right after filming The Notebook together. The fans’ enthusiasm for the movie translated into a deep excitement for the real-life couple–especially after the duo pulled this stint when winning the Best Kiss awards at the 2005 MTV Movie Awards. Their former relationship still inspires think pieces and websites dedicated to the possibility of a reconciliation (although both actors have clearly moved on to other partners)
Melanie Griffith and Antonio Banderas Years Together: May 14, 1996 – July 2015 (married)
Why We’re Shocked: After nearly twenty years of marriage, who wouldn’t be shocked?
Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin Years Together: December 5, 2003 – April 20, 2015 (married)
Why We’re Shocked: The couple seemed to have found the secret to everlasting happiness in Hollywood. Avoiding attention as much as possible, Paltrow and Martin had managed to raise their two kids in relative peace. What shocks us even more than the breakup is the fact that these two remain close friends.
Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale Years Together: September 14, 2002 – July 2015 (married)
Why We’re Shocked: We did not see this coming. A quiet couple that shared a career in music, we hadn’t heard any rumors before the actual split was announced just a few months ago.
Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher Years Together: September 24, 2005 – November 27, 2013 (married)
Why We’re Shocked: Despite the odds, the couple overcame a much-talked about 15-year age difference so we really expected them to stick around for longer.
Courteney Cox and David Arquette Years Together: June 12, 1999 - May 28, 2013 (married)
Why We’re Shocked: We always thought Monica could overcome any obstacle.
Heidi Klum and Seal Years Together: May 10 2005 – October 14, 2014 (married)
Why We’re Shocked: Both Klum and Seal spent time gushing about their love for each other in various interviews throughout their marriage so the breakup came out of left field for us.
Vanessa Paradis and Johnny Depp Years Together: 1998 – 2012 (dating)
Why We’re Shocked: What’s really shocking to us is that, after 14 years together and two kids, the couple never married… yet Depp is now married to Amber Heard.
Sandra Bullock and Jesse James Years Together: July 16, 2005 – June 28, 2010 (married)
Why We’re Shocked: The extent of James’ cheating. Also, we’re still talking about this.
Robin Wright and Sean Penn Years Together: April 27, 1996 – July 22, 2010
Why We’re Shocked: Because we really, really, really liked them together.
PHOTOGRAPHY VIA VINCE BUCCI/GETTY IMAGES (ANISTON AND PITT, MCADAMS AND GOSLING); JIM MCISAAC/GETTY IMAGES (GARNER AND AFFLECK); ADAM ROUNTREE/GETTY IMAGES (GRIFFITH AND BANDERAS); CHARLES GALLAY/GETTY IMAGES (PALTROW AND MARTIN, MOORE AND KUTCHER, COX AND ARQUETTE); ANDREW H. WALKER/GETTY IMAGES (STEFANI AND ROSSDALE); CARLO ALLEGRI/GETTY IMAGES (PARADIS AND DEPP); ALBERTO E. RODRIGUEZ/GETTY IMAGES (BULLOCK AND JAMES); GETTY IMAGES (WRIGHT AND PENN)