The Cost Of Substance Abuse In The World Of Celebrity
In a week when we see Johnny Depp involved in a high profile libel case against the Sun newspaper, it reminds me of the incredible relationship pressures faced by celebrity couples and the high cost of substance abuse. Whatever the truth of the matter, the rights and wrongs, the demise of Johnny Depp's relationship with Amber Heard is another Hollywood tragedy and the result of two people living under the pressure cooker of fame.
As a relationship & dating expert and matchmaker who talks to numerous people looking for love after divorce or with relationship issues, it is abundantly clear to me that the pressures we are all under are magnified enormously when you are famous. So what are those pressures and what can be learned from them? It is often reported that so many A-Listers have an unhealthy relationship with drink and drugs, while allegations of unfaithfulness and extreme behavior seem to be the norm for many celebrity couples.
One of the things that affects just about all of us is time apart from your partner, time apart would certainly put a strain on any relationship especially in the case of actors who are often away from home for months filming. The saying that 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' is rubbish as far as I am concerned, I have met numerous ordinary couples who, through work and enforced time apart, have become independent of one another and then struggle to adjust when they come back together. Over time, some inevitably stray.
Let's face it, the pressures of different filming schedules and the temptations of getting up close and personal with your gorgeous co-star must be enormous. And then there are the media. Such is the appetite for fame in the press today that a celebrity might find themselves reading about their own relationship in the news, it could be fake news, but suggestions of infidelity can cause doubt, anger and ultimately paranoia. It takes a pretty solid relationship and a high degree of self-worth to withstand some of the nonsense that gets published.
Now let's add in the addictions - drugs and alcohol, the crutch that many famous people rely on. It is reported that many of our much-loved icons have an unhealthy relationship with both. Anyone who has been in a relationship with someone who is dependent on drugs and alcohol knows how difficult it can be, how much someone can change when they are under the influence; the drunk will not remember most of what they say or do.
The problem is when someone is drunk, high, or both, they can turn abusive and say extremely hurtful things, they may even become physical. As drinking or drug use gets worse, it creates an emotional distance between the partners that cannot easily be overcome.
It's a vicious cycle; substance use causes conflict, conflict leads to more substance abuse to ease the pain and tension, the conflict escalates and so does the drinking or drug use.
It's combustible and wreaks irrevocable damage to relationships. Many celebrities are probably using drugs and alcohol to cover up their pain, rather than deal with their issues. That pain can quickly turn into 'bad behavior'.
And then there's the matter of jealousy and ego. Men's egos can be more fragile than women realise. I've recently researched the fragility of the male ego for my recent book. It might seem surprising, but men aren't always as confident as you might imagine girls!
Jealousy can have a very painful and destabilising effect for both men. Pain equals drug abuse and so it goes on.
I’m not making excuses for Johnny Depp, but there has clearly been a build-up to the dramatic end to this short marriage which is currently being played out in the High Court in London. What a shame that help wasn't on hand to support this couple and others like them, it would have avoided a real life version of the 'War of the Roses'!