Have You Heard about depp?

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - Brunch - - INDULGE - Seema Goswami

UN­LESS YOU have been hi­ber­nat­ing in the wilds of Ladakh, by now you will have heard about the messy break­down of Johnny Depp and Am­ber Heard’s mar­riage. If, like me, you are some­thing of a news junkie, you will have the de­tails of their marital melt­down com­ing out of your ears.

To re­cap very briefly, it hap­pened thus: Johnny Depp and Am­ber Heard met on the sets of the movie, The Rum Di­ary, and fell in love. Johnny broke up with his part­ner of 14 years, the French ac­tress Vanessa Par­adis, who is the mother of his two chil­dren, and moved in with Am­ber. Fif­teen months ago, Depp and Heard got mar­ried in a spec­tac­u­lar beach cer­e­mony in the Ba­hamas.

And a cou­ple of weeks ago, just days af­ter the death of Johnny’s beloved 81-year-old mother, Betty Sue Palmer, Am­ber sued her hus­band for divorce and ob­tained a tem­po­rary re­strain­ing or­der against him on the grounds that he had been phys­i­cally abu­sive towards her through the course of their short-lived (but clearly stormy) mar­riage. To prove

The lessons we learn from celebrity break-ups

her case, Am­ber pro­duced pic­tures of her bat­tered face, with bruises around her eyes and a fat lip.

The Depp camp re­sponded with de­nials and state­ments from Depp’s ex-part­ner, Par­adis, and his daugh­ter, Lily-Rose, about what a lovely and lov­ing man he was, and how it was im­pos­si­ble that he would hit a woman. Heard hit back by leak­ing an ex­change of mes­sages she had had with Depp’s as­sis­tant a few years ago, which seemed to ac­knowl­edge a his­tory of abuse from Depp over a pe­riod of time. The as­sis­tant re­sponded by say­ing the mes­sages were fab­ri­cated. And so it went, on and on and on.

No break-up is ever pleas­ant but there is some­thing par­tic­u­larly nasty about celebrity break-ups. It’s not just that the world’s at­ten­tion is fo­cused on the pri­vate lives of strangers, but that ev­ery­one has an opin­ion on stuff that they couldn’t pos­si­bly have any knowl­edge of. And be­fore you know it, fans of both par­ties have come down on one side or an­other, stick­ing by their re­spec­tive idols with a res­o­lu­tion matched only by their ig­no­rance.

So, we have Camp Depp, which in­sists that there is no way that Johnny could have been abu­sive towards Am­ber. He is such a splen­did, stand-up guy! Didn’t you see what a mar­vel­lous job he did as Jack Spar­row in Pi­rates Of The Caribbean? Not to men­tion his per­for­mance in Alice In

Won­der­land. She is just mak­ing up all this stuff to get a big­ger divorce set­tle­ment.

Ranged against Camp Depp is Camp Heard, which is con­sid­er­ably smaller but makes up for it by be­ing a bit shriller. Their view seems to be that women who claim to be vic­tims of do­mes­tic abuse should be be­lieved – or else other women will be too afraid to come for­ward and re­port their abu­sive part­ners. And why would Am­ber be mak­ing this stuff up any­way? It is not in the in­ter­est of a small-time ac­tress like her to take on the might of a Hol­ly­wood megas­tar like Johnny Depp.

And thus it goes. Emo­tions run high. Ar­gu­ments break out, both in real life and on so­cial me­dia. For some rea­son, peo­ple seem to take this stuff per­son­ally even though they don’t know the per­sons in­volved.

I don’t know about you, but what this re­minds me of is the time when Brad Pitt broke up with Jen­nifer Anis­ton and went off to play happy fam­i­lies with An­gelina Jolie. Even then, the world seemed to be di­vided into Team Anis­ton and Team Jolie; for some rea­son, no one thought it fit to cre­ate a Team Pitt.

But while ev­ery celebrity break-up is unique in its own way – cer­tainly, there were no ac­cu­sa­tions of do­mes­tic vi­o­lence against Pitt – they do teach us the same lessons. Here, in no par­tic­u­lar or­der of im­por­tance, are the top three:

If you have a for­tune to pro­tect, whether you are a man or a woman, al­ways get a pre-nup­tial agree­ment signed be­fore you sign on the mar­riage cer­tifi­cate. Yes, I know, it is not ter­ri­bly ro­man­tic to fore­see what may hap­pen in the case of a divorce even be­fore the wed­ding. But it is the best way to en­sure that you are not risk­ing the as­sets you spent years build­ing up; and, more to the point, that your prospec­tive spouse is mar­ry­ing you for the right rea­sons.

Try your damnedest to keep the me­dia out of your busi­ness. Work out all your is­sues – al­imony, divorce set­tle­ments, child cus­tody ar­range­ments – in pri­vate with your lawyers. Once you have ne­go­ti­ated all these tricky bits, re­lease a joint state­ment to the me­dia. Fol­low the ex­am­ple of those ‘con­scious un­cou­plers’, Chris Martin and Gwyneth Pal­trow, or nearer home, Hrithik Roshan and Sus­sanne Khan, who have re­mained pub­licly sup­port­ive of each other even af­ter their divorce.

There is a thin line be­tween love and hate, and it is all too easy to tip over to the other side when your re­la­tion­ship is dis­in­te­grat­ing. But no mat­ter how bit­ter and an­gry you are with your soon-to-be ex-part­ner, try and re­mem­ber that this is a per­son you once loved and wanted to spend your life with. Re­spect and ci­vil­ity goes a long way. And even if it isn’t re­cip­ro­cated, in the long run you will be happy that you, at least, did the right thing.

SPLIT WIDE OPEN Am­ber Heard has sued her hus­band for divorce and alleged that he had been phys­i­cally abu­sive towards her dur­ing their re­la­tion­ship

CON­SCIOUS UN­COU­PLERS Hrithik Roshan and Sus­sanne Khan have re­mained pub­licly sup­port­ive of each other even af­ter their divorce

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