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Sir Paul Coleridge warns against couples using celebrities as marriage role models

The Marriage Foundation produces report examining celebrity marriages

A report entitled Hello? Goodbye! Marriage and divorce among celebrities, published by The Marriage Foundation, finds that after 10 years of marriage the divorce rate for celebrities is 40 per cent. For the rest of the country, the figure is just 20 per cent over the same amount of time.

The report, written by Harry Benson, the founder and director of Bristol Family Community Trustand communications director at The Marriage Foundation, and family law barrister Rehna Azim, argues that the celebrity culture absorbed from magazines like Hello! give us unrealistic, fairy-tale expectations about marriage and relationships, when in fact, "…the glamour of celebrity weddings is a poor indicator of future marital success."

The Marriage Foundation examined 572 well-known celebrity couples who have married since the year 2000. It concludes that people should have more accurate expectations of how much hard work it takes to keep a marriage together.

The founder of The Marriage Foundation, Sir Paul Coleridge, commented on the 'Hello! magazine approach' to marriage:

"[T]here is still, or maybe more than there was, a completely unrealistic expectation about long-term relationships and marriage in particular, that if you find the right ideal partner that's all that matters and things will just carry on from there and you will be divinely happy."

In a foreword to the report Sir Paul cautions against young people treating celebrities as role models:

"The other worrying feature of these statistics is the picture they paint to those who regard the celebrity life style as something to be admired and copied for its own sake. These are, after all, the role models upon which many, especially young people, fashion their lives. Aspiration for happiness built on celebrity lifestyle is, it seems, dangerously flawed."

The report, which can be read here, attempts to redress the press bias towards celebrity divorce by emphasising celebrities whose marriages have survived.