By People Staff
Updated August 18, 1997 12:00 PM

You can split atoms, hairs, decisions and restaurant checks—but the Trumps? They split themselves this summer, each from the mate they once saw as a vast improvement. What is it with celebrities, anyway? So good at earning, so poor at learning. In the grand tradition, some, like Billy Bob Thornton, have more failed marriages (four) than hit movies (one). Others, like Vanessa Williams, get a soulmate, children, a home in the suburbs—then decide to make a switch. From certain angles, the year looks like a pageant of partings. Isn’t that sad? Not always. In at least one instance, a lucky gal became unshackled from Charlie Sheen. Here in the following pages is a look at where love has gone for Hollywood’s latest wave of achybreaky hearts.


Charlie Sheen and Donna Peele

Married: Sept. 3, 1995

Divorced: Nov. 19, 1996

Sheen, 31, has assault charges that have stuck longer than he did to model Peele. “I couldn’t breathe,” Sheen told Entertainment Tonight. “I had to come up for air.”

John Singleton and Akosua Busia

Married: Oct. 12, 1996

Filed for divorce: April 15, 1997

Just 12 days after their daughter Hadar was born, the Rosewood director, 29, and his actress wife, 30, called it a wrap. The reason: irreconcilable differences.

Jim Carrey and Lauren Holly

Married: Sept. 23, 1996

Filed for divorce: July 29,1997

During a stay at L.A.’s Hotel Bel-Air in May, the famously madcap comedian lapsed into a blue Sinatra funk and spent a long, bizarre evening at the bar crooning ballads and tipping the piano player. Was the actor expressing his unhappiness over rumors that Holly was involved with Ed Burns, the director and costar of her upcoming film Long Time, Nothing New? For that matter, why wasn’t Carrey sleeping at the couple’s $4.2 million Brentwood home?

Question No. 2 at least can be answered: The interiors were being gutted and redesigned. But the house’s inhabitants stood on very quick sand. On July 29, Holly, 31, called an end to 10 months of tumultuous marriage—and a one-month separation—by filing for divorce. (She is asking for a yet-unnamed amount in spousal support.) The former Picket Fences star has moved to Malibu, where she reportedly pals around with Madonna and Courtney Love; Carrey, 35, says one source, has been seeking solace from buddy Nicolas Cage.

From the beginning the couple, who had fallen in love on the set of ’94’s Dumb & Dumber—both soon after leaving a first marriage—had a hard time staying on track. After at least one breakup, they finally swapped I dos last fall. When Carrey was shooting The Truman Show in Seaside, Fla., this year, Holly visited often. “They seemed very much in love,” says Beth Folta, a production liaison for the film. “They seemed like newlyweds.” Carrey sounded blissful. “Marriage has a calming effect on me,” he said.

But every calm, it seems, precedes a storm. While some blame the break on his temper (“I do have those moments where I’ll throw a glass against the wall”) and others point to Burns (who has denied being anything other than friends with Holly), still others say plain old career competition got in the way. With her last movie, Turbulence, having nose-dived at the box office, Holly may have gotten tired of living in her husband’s shadow. Says an insider: “She wanted to prove she could go out on her own.” These days that’s exactly what she’s doing.


Farrah Fawcett and Ryan O’Neal

Began dating: Fall 1979

Split: February 1997

It seems a vain, romantic hope but maybe, just maybe, this Love Story can have a sequel. After all, didn’t O’Neal, 56, spring to his former lover’s defense after her loopy turn on Letterman in June? And don’t they speak on the phone every single day—even if it is just to discuss their 12-year-old son Redmond (who lives with his mother)? “Oh, golly,” says Fawcett, 50, when asked if she’ll ever reconcile with her live-in love of nearly 18 years. “I honestly can’t answer that.”

Plenty of others, it seems, are rooting for the pair. “They occur to me as the kind of couple that probably break up and get together all the time,” Davis Factor, a photographer who shot Fawcett for Playboy in 1995, told PEOPLE in March. “They seemed pretty perfect for each other…. Make that totally perfect.” Fawcett, for her part, is ignoring rumors linking O’Neal with fledgling actress Leslie Stefanson, 26 (“I chose not to find out”), and refuses to discuss whether or not she’s dating writer-director James Orr, 44. Whatever the outcome, “part of us,” says Fawcett, “will always be together.”

Of all the rumored reasons for their breakup—including the predictable, and yet unproven, whispers that he was steppin’ out—only one explanation has stuck: that the Prince and Princess of Hollywood were simply not ready for happily-ever-after. “People forget that she’s really young,” a friend says of the 24-year-old actress. “The bottom line is, she’s only had a few boyfriends in her lifetime.”

Paltrow’s tender age—and heart—did not escape her father, director Bruce Paltrow, said to be recasting Duets, a $16 million comedy that was to star Gwyneth and her beau. (One insider says Frasier’s David Hyde Pierce will replace Pitt when filming starts in September.) “Whatever each is going through, they need to not have this hanging over them,” the elder Paltrow told the Hollywood Reporter. “When we talked about doing this together, we were at a different place and time.”

Now distance suddenly seems an elixir for the couple who once vowed never to spend more than two weeks apart. Since the breakup the 33-year-old Pitt has dived back into the Hollywood scene, last month hitting a Malibu Beach party hosted by high-powered agent David O’Connor and meeting with actor-director Billy Bob Thornton. Paltrow, meantime, has passed the summer quietly, hiding out for a time in Winona Ryder’s Manhattan apartment. But those close to her predict her seclusion won’t last. The willowy ingenue, whom Pitt once called his angel, says a friend, “now wants to get out and spread her wings.”

Kirstie Alley and Parker Stevenson

Married: Dec. 22,1983

Filed for divorce: March 26, 1997

“There’s a stigma to divorce,” Alley has said. “It’s harder to walk out when you’re married.” No kidding. Last month the ex-Hardy Boy, 45, won a court battle to have divorce proceedings moved from Maine—where they own a second home—to California, where communal property laws could grant him a greater share of his wife’s substantial fortune. For her part, Alley, 46, has a new beau (actor James Wilder, her costar in the upcoming movie Nevada), a new Hollywood home (she lives with the two kids she and Stevenson adopted: William True, 4, and Lillie, 3) and a new NBC sitcom (Veronica’s Closet), about a writer who dumps an unfaithful husband. The character, she says, is based on herself. “Not the part about the husband and wife,” she adds hastily. “The part about this woman who’s very successful and savvy but also sort of a dunce when it comes to men. Someone who wasted her wonder years on this idiot.”


Martin Lawrence and Patricia Southall

Married: Jan. 7, 1995

Divorced: Sept. 17, 1996

She said: The comedian-actor threatened her with a gun.

He said (to Newsweek): “I will probably never get married again. It wasn’t worth it…”

Billy Bob Thornton and Pietra Thornton

Married: Feb. 16,1993

Filed for divorce: April 11,1997

She said: Thornton “has hit me, punched me, bit me…sometimes in front of the children.”

He said: Pietra (soon to bare all in Playboy) “dresses inappropriately.”


Fran Drescher and Peter Marc Jacobson

Married: Nov. 4,1978

Separated: October 1996

They hit the Golden Globes arm-in-arm, and he’s an executive producer on The Nanny. Still, despite her publicist’s claim that they are “trying to work things out,” when it comes to reconciliation the former high school sweethearts have nothing to tawk about. “They are very good, wonderful friends,” says a pal. “But this is Fran’s time. She’s thin, she has money, she wants to play.”

Calvin and Kelly Klein

Married: Sept. 26,1986

Separated: August 1996

A month after their marriage unzipped, the mogul, 54, and his onetime muse, 40, released a statement claiming that they were “still each other’s best friend” and would not divorce. For once, it wasn’t just spin. Since their breakup the Kleins—who met 15 years ago when she was his assistant—live apart but stay chummy. They routinely hit Manhattan’s chic nightspots together and reportedly even celebrated—what else?—their 10th wedding anniversary with friends last September.

Geena Davis and Renny Harlin

Married: September 1993

Separated: April 1997

During their latest post-split outing, Davis, 41, and director Harlin, 39, argued good-naturedly over who should buy the popcorn at an L.A. screening of Contact. But don’t let the smiles fool you. Sources say that Davis is fed up with Harlin’s wandering eye—yet wants to stay pals. They’re even splitting custody—amicably, of course—of their many dogs.

Dick Morris and Eileen McGann

Married: 1977

Separated: January 1997

Since calling on call girl Sherry Rowlands in ’96, the former Clinton adviser, 49, seems to have won back his wife, 48, a lawyer. Despite having considered divorce, she reportedly frolicked in France with him this past June.


Jeff Goldblum and Laura Dern

Answering rumors about her rift with Goldblum, Dern, 30, asked July’s Redbook, “What breakup?… Jeff is going to be in my life forever.” Goldblum, 44, seemed less sure. “Yes, I am single right now,” he said. The latest rumor: Dern has swapped her betrothed for Billy Bob Thornton.

Ashley Hamilton and Angie Everhart

He, 23, asked a lawyer to 86 his vows after 89 days of marriage. He has since called off the divorce, but she, 27, hasn’t moved back in.

Tom and Wanda Clancy

In ’95 she filed to end their 26-year marriage after he had a fling with a woman he met over the Internet. They reconciled, but this April, the author, 50, moved out. The final chapter? No. A spokesperson says divorce “isn’t imminent.”

Dudley Moore and Nicole Rothschild

In June, one year after the Arthur star, 62, filed for divorce from his fourth wife, 33, she responded with a $10 million suit claiming that he had “relentlessly assaulted, battered, threatened and terrorized” her. By July, the parents of 2-year-old Nicholas had kissed and made up.


Neve Campbell and Jeff Colt

Married: April 3,1995

Separated: July 1997

Their separation somehow lacked the emotional wallop of a Party of Five plotline. Just last year, Colt, 33, an aspiring actor, said he was disturbed by his wife’s burgeoning fame. For her part, Campbell, 23, was hardly sentimental. “If we grow apart,” she said, “that’s a circumstance we’ll deal with.” The pair announced their split on July 30.

Gillian Anderson and Clyde Klotz

Married: Jan. 1, 1994

Separated: October 1996

Call it a lack of close encounters. Wed for two years—during most of which Anderson, 29, was shooting The X-Files—the couple “hardly got to know each other,” says a pal. “We have a happy little girl [Piper, 2],” says Klotz, 35, an art director. “That’s the main thing.”


  • Madonna and Carlos Leon
  • Began dating: September 1994
  • Split: May 1997

There’s no question that Madonna, 38, is keeping her baby, but Papa is out of the romantic picture—if not the family album. “They are not together anymore,” says her publicist, Liz Rosenberg. But, she adds, Leon regularly visits his 10-month-old daughter, Lourdes, and is “on good terms” with his former lover. A part-time personal trainer and aspiring actor (he has been on CBS’s Nash Bridges), Leon moved out of Madonna‘s Los Feliz, Calif., house and into his own L.A. apartment in May. The newly single mom has been squired around by actors Gabriel Byrne and Benicio Del Toro, but still has time for her ex, treating him to a 31st-birthday dinner last month in L.A.

  • Mariah Carey and Tommy Mottola
  • Married: June 5,1993
  • Filed for divorce: May 30,1997

To revelers at Emilio and Gloria Estefan’s most recent New Year’s party in Miami Beach, it was obvious that the Mottolas’ marriage had become less than harmonious. “Tommy was treating [Mariah] like a queen, going out of his way to please her,” says a guest. “He kept asking, ‘Mariah, are you cold? Is that [open] window bothering you?’ ” Still, the Sony records chief struck the wrong chord with his songbird—who has sold 75 million albums for the label since 1990. “She would just sit there kind of snotty and say, ‘I’m fine,’ ” says the source. “She wouldn’t even look at him.” In the end, Mottola, 47, couldn’t find common ground with his 28-year-old protegee and second wife. She preferred to party with rappers in Manhattan; he enjoyed nesting in their $10 million mansion in suburban Bedford, N.Y. Says a friend: “It’s just two people going in different directions.”

Jerry Seinfeld and Shoshanna Lonstein

Began dating: May 1993

Split: April 1997

By the time she was set to graduate from UCLA last spring with a degree in history/art history, Lonstein, 22, says one source, simply couldn’t tune in to another season of Seinfeld. “She thinks he’s too boring,” says a producer who knows the pair. “All he ever wants is to talk about the show.” Most, however, say that the pair parted amicably and that Lonstein had longed to return to her native New York City, where she met the sitcom star in Central Park. While Seinfeld, 42, spent his summer vacation solo in Iceland, Lonstein has been seen frolicking in the Hamptons on the arm of Sherrell J. Aston Jr., the son of a plastic surgeon—and a mere tyke of 23.