There’s an art to doing anything in Hollywood, including getting a divorce. The timing has to be just right, the narrative has to be phrased just so and those involved have to agree on the party line.
If someone does it wrong, that person is a jerk. But a celeb who does it right can bolster his or her bottom line.
Tis’ the season for divorce in Tinseltown, and a lot of celebrities are handling their splits with dignity and grace. Then there are the rest of them.
Here’s a take on how to nail down the perfect Hollywood divorce strategy. And even non-celebrities can learn from these very public examples.
1. Publicly compromise. Katy Perry and Russell Brand provide an example of one of the best divorced couples on the scene right now. They practically issued a press release about how amicable things were. He simply gave her their Los Angeles house. They both have enough money to support themselves and bickering over every little asset would make them seem selfish and petty to their fans.
“Katy and Russell are these flamboyant, out-there people but they seem to be having a drama-free divorce,” said relationship expert Tracey Steinberg. “He didn’t even try to fight her for the house or any of her money, which made him look pretty classy.”
Steinberg added, “Both are coming off as mature people whose relationship just didn’t work out.”
2. Focus on the kids. That’s what everyone wants to hear about — how the children are handling everything. By putting the spotlight on the kids, the focus is removed from either of the parents. If this seems a little devious, it definitely is but it works.
After news broke about Heidi Klum and Seal’s decision to split, he gave an interview to “Access Hollywood” about how they were helping the kids through the difficult time.
“The main thing is to make sure that they feel that they’re loved, make sure that they understand that their parents love each other, make sure that they understand if there are any changes, it is absolutely nothing to do with them,” Seal said.
Andrea Syrtash, a relationship expert and author of “Cheat on Your Husband (With Your Husband),” says Klum and Seal have done a great job in conveying that they have deep love and respect for each other.
“It’s smart of them to handle it this way in media, since kids don’t need to see their parents trash talking each other,” Syrtash said.
The divorce of Jennie Garth and “Twilight” actor Peter Facinelli offers another example of playing nice during a split.
“She’ll always be in my life,” Facinelli said on “Live! With Kelly” in April. ” I love her.” He added that he and his ex are “very dedicated to being great parents” to their three daughters.
Heidi and Seal, Peter and Jennie — they know what they are doing.
3. Know when to shut up. If you don’t have something nice to say, don’t say anything at all. Christie Brinkley and Peter Cook present a classic case of ex-bashing gone wild.
“When they divorced four years ago, it was a media frenzy and unfortunately they are still publicly bashing each other,” Steinberg said. “He recently went on ‘Nightline’ to talk badly about her, and then she went on the ‘Today’ show to talk badly about him.”
Added Steinberg: “They are both saying they want to peacefully move on, but instead they are both trying to drum up sympathy in the media. which is just making them both look childish.”
Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries demonstrate another example of slinging the mud in public. That likely won’t bode well for either of them in the court of opinion or in a court of law.
“Speaking about your divorce case in a negative fashion never fares well,” explained divorce attorney Vikki Ziegler. “Publicly bashing your soon-to-be ex demonstrates a lack of credibility and leaves a bad taste in the court’s mouth.”
“It can be used as evidence in a courtroom and can have a very negative impact on the judge deciding the case,” Ziegler added. “Judges want to be the ones making decisions that are binding on the parties and don’t need any complicating factors including the public dissemination of dirty laundry.”