From Regrets to Lessons Learned: Celebs Reflect on Their Past Marriages
CHRISTINA EL MOUSSA
The HGTV host, who stars on Flip or Flop with ex-husband Tarek El Moussa, opened up about the couple's past relationship and highly publicized breakup in an interview with GoodHousekeeping.com. She confesses that in the early days following their split, her parents hoped she and Tarek would reconcile. Now, she tries to focus on the positive in helping everyone to move on.
"I told them I only want to talk about positive stuff," she said of her family. "Tarek and I are still filming Flip or Flop, and #1 we have the kids, so at the end of the day I just want to be positive and not think about anything else."
One big positive in El Moussa's post-split life has been a new romance with businessman Doug Spedding, who she previously dated before her marriage. Of the fresh relationship, she shared: "I'm very spiritual, and I believe in things happening for a reason. It just felt right."
Following her 2015 split from ex-husband Olivier Martinez, the Oscar winner spent the next two years focusing on her kids — and doesn't have plans to embark on another relationship anytime soon.
Asked what she’s learned being on her own, the actress told PEOPLE: “That I can be alone. And that’s been a big lesson for me. I’m learning that I’m fearless, because I had so many fears as I went through my third divorce, I was afraid to do that. But I was more afraid living unhappy, so I faced that fear.”
She added: “It’s teaching me to always live out loud, live your truth, don’t let fear stifle you. Don’t be afraid of what people will think about the choices you make. That we need to live for ourselves and live for our own individual happiness.”
In what may be the most epic "first time in Vegas" story, the Sons of Anarchy star recalled his "terrible, painful, expensive" marriage — which lasted three years — to actress Katharine Towne at the age of 18. "We came to Vegas because, in our 18-year-old minds, we thought, 'What if we never see each other again? Let's get married and then we'll have to see each other again even if it's just to get divorced,' " Hunnam told the Associated Press, noting the young couple had only known each other for three weeks. "So we came to Vegas, but I couldn't even get a drink so I didn't think we'd actually be able to get married. And then at 2 o'clock in the morning we got married." Despite the headache that ensued, there was a silver lining after their 2002 divorce. "I got the cats at the end of it, so there was a small victory," he joked.
During a 2015 appearance, the Real Housewives of New York star opened up about her tumultuous split from ex-husband Jason Hoppy, telling fans that she didn't follow her own mantra of "going with her gut" when making her decision to wed. "I think my instinct and gut going into my marriage [knew] it would turn out the way it did," she said. "I could feel it, but I intellectualized it. People are always talking about 'Do I go with my head or my heart?' Go with your gut."
"We were two stupid kids who had no business being in a relationship in the first place," Bush admitted during an appearance on Watch What Happens Live, recalling her short-lived union to One Tree Hill costar Chad Michael Murray. The pair would go on to divorce in 2006 after separating five months into their marriage.
"To all the other costars who've worked it out, more power to you," she added of their post-split dynamic on the hit teen show.
KIM KARDASHIAN WEST
For the reality star, rock bottom came immediately after announcing her 2011 split from then-husband Kris Humphries — after 72 days of marriage. "When I was going through the divorce I did say to everyone, 'You guys, I think our careers are over. I hope you've saved your money,' " Kardashian West said in an interview for The Drum. "And now we'll just continue to do our clothing stores and what we started off doing before the show. I totally thought it was over."
Calling her divorce from Marc Anthony "the biggest disappointment of my life so far," the Shades of Blue actress told PEOPLE the breakup was "devastating and awful," but still served as a lesson on introspection. "I felt like at that time I had lost my way a little bit, of who I was in trying to make the marriage [work]," she said. "I had been married twice before and I didn't want this to be a failure ... I just put all my heart and soul into that and forgot who I was as an individual a little bit."
MARY J. BLIGE
"I can sense that I'm not what you want anymore," said Blige, while speaking to Power 105.1's Angie Martinez about her estranged husband, Kendu Isaacs, adding that he began to pick at her about trivial matters like why she never cooked or why she didn't style her hair a certain way. "You start to realize that this man doesn't want you and he's just gone all the time and you’re by yourself in the relationship," said Blige.
Following her whirlwind romance, marriage and subsequent split from ex Kevin Federline, Spears looked back on her decision to marry in her documentary, For the Record. "I think I married for the wrong reasons. Instead of following my heart and doing something that made me really happy, I just did it for the idea of everything," the songstress revealed.
"I think more of the problem was age. When we got together we were so young," Phillippe told Larry King of the dissolution of his and ex Reese Witherspoon's marriage. Phillippe was 22 and Witherspoon was 21 when they first met. "I think it can create issues with two people in this industry because there's so much noise that goes along with it."
"I was so young when I got married. I look back now and I'm like, 'What?' " she told the U.K.'s Red magazine, reflecting on her marriage to Tom Cruise, with whom she shares two kids — Isabella, 24, and Connor, 22.
She added: "You look at Taylor Swift, I mean how old is she? She's 26. I had two kids by the time I was 27 and I'd been married for four years. But that's what I wanted."