The Divorce Award

Aug 8, 2012 by

According to yet another research study on the subject of divorce, apparently there is a marked statistical difference between the risk of divorce for women and men in the entertainment business who finally do manage to win a much-coveted Oscar award. The study was conducted by Tiziana Casciaro, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Rotman School of Management and co-authored by Colleen Stuart, a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, along with Sue Moon, a PhD student at the Rotman School. The researchers found that winners of the Best Actress Oscar are at a higher risk of divorce than those nominees who do not win an award. Surprisingly, the study also showed that men winning the same award in the Best Actor category do not have an increased risk of divorce after an Oscar.

The team studied the historical marital data of 751 nominees in the best actor and actress categories of the Academy Awards occurring between 1936 and 2010 and found that 60% of the nominees experienced a divorce after being nominated for an Oscar. From Joan Crawford and Bette Davis in the past, to more recent winners Julia Roberts, Halle Berry, Hilary Swank, Reese Witherspoon and Sandra Bullock, all are among the actresses who have experienced break-ups after winning Oscar awards fro Best Actress.

“It appears that even the marriages of Hollywood actresses at the top of their careers are not immune to the consequences of violating social norms that affect the wider population. Our results suggest that the sudden success reduces the longevity of their marriages,” said Stuart. The results showed that Best Actress winners have a 63% higher risk of divorce than non-winning actresses, and that Best Actress winners also had a very short average median marriage duration of 4.30 years compared to 9.5 years of marriage duration for non-winners. The numbers for male Best Actor awards did not display the same increased risk of divorce, with an average median marriage duration of 11.9 years for Best Actor winners compared to 12.6 years of marriage duration for Best Actor non-winners. The study confirms that there is no specific curse of divorce associated with winning a Best Actress Oscar award. The increased risk of divorce is more likely due to the fact that within the general population, men are traditionally accorded roles with more power and status, and when that dynamic is reversed by very successful working women, it can strain relationships and result in more divorces.


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