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amber rose and wiz khalifa
Illustration by Elli Slavitch / McGill Tribune

Pop Rhetoric: Bound 2 falling out of love: The plight of celebrity romance

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On Sept. 21, news broke that Wiz Khalifa and Amber Rose were getting divorced after 14 months of marriage, citing “irreconcilable differences” as cause for their separation. Since the announcement, the web has been abuzz with rumours of cheating and betrayal on both sides, while internet forums are reveling in rewriting lyrics from Kanye West’s My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy (2010)—which was penned after West’s public split from Rose in 2010—to mock Khalifa’s current situation.

Unremarkably, the public isn’t interested in aspects of the divorce concerning custody of the couple’s one-year-old son, Sebastian Taylor Thomaz, or anything else relating to how Rose and Khalifa are handling their new separation and the legitimate causes behind the divorce. As with the majority of celebrity break-ups, scandal is the only thing that matters, and any shock that arises among the public is typically linked to who did what, not the fact that the couple separated at all.

Why is it that the sanctity of marriage has failed to extend into the realm of Hollywood? It seems that for famous people, long-term monogamy—which by no means is an ideal that everyone has to subscribe to, but it is one that people are committing to when they decide to get married—simply does not apply to them. And even when it does, the public never believes it will last. Take Jay-Z and Beyoncé: In the midst of their world tour, the press pounced on the couple’s relationship, claiming that Jay-Z was cheating with multiple women and that Beyoncé was ready to call it quits the second their tour ended. This depersonalization of celebrities is such a common occurrence that the direct effect tabloid claims could have on the individuals’ personal lives is rarely considered. While it is true that to be in the public spotlight, one needs to be able to grow a thick skin and brush off what people claim, having strangers consistently make wild assertions about infidelity would lead to insecurity among even the most confident of people.

While in Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s case, the masses are on a hunt for scandal, in other situations, basic incredulity at the entire concept of celebrity commitment rules the conversation. When Kim Kardashian and Kanye West announced that they were having a baby—only to follow up with the announcement that they were engaged to be married—people lost their minds in angst-ridden disbelief. From South Park’s joke about Kardashian being a hobbit to consistent quoting of the “Gold Digger” lyrics whenever West mentions his commitment to his new family, it seems that people have narrowed down KimYe’s relationship to nothing more than a short-form publicity stunt.

Obviously, some of the disbelief regarding the lasting potential of KimYe has a sound basis—Kanye West isn’t exactly known for his deep-hearted commitment to anyone beyond himself and his late mother Donda West. After all, stating “She asked me what I wish for on my wish list / Have you ever asked your bitch for other bitches,” on a track dedicated to your new wife isn’t exactly a promising sign of long-lasting love. Additionally, Kardashian became pregnant with the couple’s child, North “Nori” West, little more than a year after filing for divorce from her then-husband of 72 days Kris Humphries—yet another unstable foundation on which to base a relationship.

Despite all this, is there good reasoning for the baseline assumption that celebrity relationships are of predictable deceit and short-lived lust? If we believe the tabloid refrain that celebrities are in fact, just like us, then it should be of no surprise that having your personal life defined by mistrust on the part your community—however anonymous—would create a long-lasting rift in your relationships both present and future. Unless we lose our interest in watching celebrity lives implode before us in multi-page magazine spreads, then they will keep happening, no matter how negatively it will impact the people involved. As far as Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa are concerned, hopefully they will focus on what’s really important—keeping a loving and supportive environment for their young son, not letting the drama of the press and the public keep them from moving past this break-up.

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