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Kate and Sam: the story behind the story

March 16, 2010

It’s interesting to see that the news of Sam Mendes and Kate Winslet’s separation is on virtually every front page of the UK papers.

The Independent puts it down to the filming of Revolutionary Road, in which Sam directed Kate’s fictional marriage breakdown.

The Times seems to say the opposite, however, quoting Kate at the recent Oscar ceremony. She said that working on Revolutionary Road had brought her closer to Sam.

Hmm. Stroke beard. Immediately feel alarmed. Shouldn’t have beard.

The Guardian hardly reports the story at all, since there is no gossip attached to the bald fact that the couple married in 2003 “on a whim” and have now split up. Yawn.

Enter the Daily Mail. And if they are to be believed, the mystery is solved. It was definitely down to Revolutionary Road. Kate is quoted receiving a best actress award at the Golden Globe ceremony in which she thanks Sam for directing the film and “killing us every single day and really enjoying us actually being in such horrific pain.” Ok. Not good.

But is she joking? Or not?

There we have it. Covered by all the papers and we still don’t really know why the curtain has come down on their showbiz marriage. With a feeble attempt at drama they both seem to point the finger at the film.

Or have the naughty media made that up, stringing quotes together to create a story where there isn’t one?

Could the real reason be that they “just grew apart”?

Heaven forbid. If a newspaper had the audacity to report something as mundane and probably true as that, they’d have to hide their heads in shame. There’s no story there. No glamorous conflict. Everyday conflict, yes. Those three little words mask a heap of conflict; but it’s not newsworthy.

There’s bickering: pointless and hurtful.  Conversations that never resolve. Needs that cannot be met, though they were once, in the first flush of romance. It’s all very painful. I poke fun at my ex-hubbie, loudly and often, which he takes in good part, but underneath the laughter I’m sad we didn’t make it.

Some of us in the modern world have lost our faith in marriage. We don’t see the point of prolonging the agony, even though separation clearly upsets our children. But staying together in a loveless or acrimonious marriage upsets them even more, and seems to cause more lasting damage.

The good news is that if estranged parents can behave civilly and even lovingly, they can almost provide their kids with what they need to grow up hale and hearty.

So I love to hear that Kate and Sam are fully committed to jointly raising their children. Maybe that’s all marriage ought to be: a contract to raise children, with no pressure to make love last.

But soft, what light through yonder window breaks?

Recent statistics reveal that the divorce rate in the UK has fallen to 29.2, the lowest it’s been since 1979. Is marriage making a come-back? Yay!

Unless….hold hard… divorce is expensive. There are often settlements involved; lawyers’ fees, maintenance and child support. It’s a can of worms. Often a nightmare, leading to more nightmares, as both parents try to run two establishments.

Call me an old cynic, but I wonder if the lower divorce rates have something to do with the recession?

Maybe when poverty comes in the door, love can no longer fly out the window.

It can’t afford the ladder.

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