How Oscar Awards are Ruining Celebrity Relationships

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By Diana Boettcher


It is a common picture, actors get an Oscar, and shortly after their relationships fails. Actresses in particular, are said to be affected by the so-called “Oscar love curse.” On March 4th, this year’s Oscar nominees were announced, and Diana Boettcher, a psychologist and Couples Therapist from Berlin, has analyzed past Hollywood relationships to establish whether current actors should worry about their relationship status based on their Oscar outcome.

Her research focuses on those who won Oscars over the past 11 years and analyzes what their relationship status was shortly after winning the award.

 More Men Than Women Saw Their Relationship Hit the Rocks

The research showed that it is a myth that the “Oscar love curse” affects actresses more than their male colleagues. In fact, it is the other way around. What the data tells us is that actors are four times more likely to break up with their partner after winning an Academy Award than their female counterparts.

Over the past 11 years, 36% of those winning “Best Actor in a Leading Role” had their relationship fail soon after. Among them were Leonardo DiCaprio and Sean Penn. Of those nominated, the figure was still 27%, and included James Franco and Ryan Gosling. George Clooney has gone through this Oscar breakup three times over the past few years.

 Nearly A Third of All Winning Actresses Faced Break-upsSandra bullock, oscar, 2010, Jesse james, breakup

In the category of “Best Actress in a Leading Role,” 27% of the winning actresses separated shortly after lifting the trophy. It happened to Jennifer Lawrence, Sandra Bullock and Kate Winslet. However, Michelle Williams was nominated and did not win, but lost her relationship anyways.

“Being a high achiever in Hollywood, or indeed in any profession, does not necessarily come with success in relationships. I see that every day in my work as a Couples Therapist in Berlin,” Diana Boettcher says. “In fact, it is quite the opposite. A successful career often stands in the way of relationship success. Hollywood may be a world of its own, but when it comes to relationships, the stars are just like any of us. Partners can tolerate a busy spell at work from time to time, but when a partner continues to put their career above their private life, the couple loses the emotional connection.”

“Generally speaking, women tend to be the ones who invest more energy into their relationship. They find it easier to sometimes put their career second and their partner first,” according to Diana Boettcher. “That is why they typically find their work-love balance. That is likely to be the reason why more actors than actresses break up after winning an Oscar.”

 Winning Best Actor/Actress in A Supporting Role Does Not Put Relationships at Risk

Those actors and actresses who win an Academy Award for their supporting role do not need to worry so much about their relationship. Over the past 11 years, only one actress separated after winning the award. Of those nominated, nine percent of both actors and actresses broke up. It would seem a supporting role is just enough success to keep a couple happy without too much strain on the relationship.

A Few Relationships that Ended Almost Immediately


Category Nominee / Winner Year Name Movie Partner Date of Break-Up
Best Actor Winner 2016 Leonardo DiCaprio The Revenant Nina Agdal May 2017
Best Supporting Actress Nominee 2015 Emma Stone Birdman Andrew Garfield October 2015
Best Actor Nominee 2014 Leonardo DiCaprio The Wolf of Wall Street Toni Garn December 2014
Best Actor Nominee 2014 Chiwetel Ejiofor 12 Years a Slave Sari Mercer September 2015
Best Supporting Actor Nominee 2014 Bradley Cooper American Hustle Suki Waterhouse March 2015
Best Actress Winner 2013 Jennifer Lawrence Silver Linings Playbook Nicholas Hoult August 2014
Best Actress Winner 2010 Sandra Bullock The Blind Side Jesse James March 2010
Best Actor Winner 2009 Sean Penn Milk Robin Wright August 2010


To view the full list, visit Oscars Relationship Killers

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