Lifestyle & Belief

Celebrity Marriages: does a formula predict how long they will last?


Former couple Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher are seen here attending the photo call for their Charity Gala at PlusCity in October, 2010 near Linz, Austria.


Andreas Rentz

In the immortal words of Salman Rushie, “The marriage of poor Kim Kardashian, was krushed like a kar in a krashian.”

Her ill-fated 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries might have been avoided altogether if only the two had sat down with a pencil and paper in the den and thought through a simple formula:

…Where P equals the couple’s combined number of prior marriages, A equals the ages of the bride and groom in years, G stands for the number of hits on Google (and S stands for the number of times either appears naked in the first five hits), D equals the number of months they knew each other

…Bliss will equal the likelihood of a successful marriage.

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Think this is a joke? Well, after six years of observation, The New York Times’ libertarian columnist John Tierney claimed success on Monday.

Having developed the formula with the science writer Garth Sundem in 2006 and announced it in a column, Tierney wrote this week that there was “firm empirical support” for the Sundem/Tierney Unified Celebrity Theory.

Reducing betrothal to a question of mathematics might be said to inspire cynicism. But then again celebrity marriages already inspire so much of it…

And, according to Tierney, the equation “correctly predicted doom for Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher; Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock; and Britney Spears and Kevin Federline,” all of whom are surely more cynical now than when they said "I do."

Not all would have needed mathematics and six years of waiting in order to make such predictions with confidence. And one unrelated variable does not appear in the formula – the groom’s standing within the Church of Scientology: “We were similarly bearish on Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes (because of his fame, his two failed marriages and their age gap), but they’re still together,” Tierney writes.

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Sundem tells Tierney he has made improvements in the equation to predict the length of celebrity marriages with greater accuracy and to “gauge the toxic effects of celebrity.”

This consists of adding a ratio of two other factors: the number of mentions in The New York Times divided by the number of mentions in The National Enquirer.

“This is a major improvement in the equation,” Sundem is quoted as saying.

In response to the Humphries-Kardashian debacle of August to October, BuzzFeed posted profiles of gay couples who have shown great fidelity even though they have not been permitted to marry.