Celebrity Princess Bride

In case you blinked and missed it, Mariah Carey got divorced and engaged in the last 4 nanoseconds. And you’re going to have to blink a few times to fully take in her giant rock. The 35-carat piece of bling is, to quote the Huffington Post, “completely insane.”

So is Carey’s delusional notion that she is embarking on a “princess fairytale.” According to a “pal” quoted in People magazine, Carey is convinced that this time, the third time for her and her fiancé, “her princess fairy tale is coming true.”

Carey definitely likes the fairy tale theme. About one year before her marriage to Nick Cannon blew up, they rented out the entire Disneyland theme park to renew their vows. The ceremony’s theme was, “Do you believe in fairytales?” and Carey and Cannon wore matching prince and princess outfits and departed the Dream Suite of the Pirates of the Caribbean exhibit in a horse-drawn Crystal Carriage en route to the Sleeping Beauty Castle.

Less than a year later, the fairy tale was over, and Carey released the song, “Infinity,” in which she sings uplifting lyrics aimed at Cannon such as:

Boy you actin’ so corny like Fritos

Wouldn’t have none of that without me, though

Is it lack of ice got you so cold?

Have you ever felt this on your own?

Why you tryin’ to play like you’re so grown?

Everything you own boy you still owe 

Not exactly the way you imagine Belle or Cinderella behaving, post-breakup, but, anyhoo…

Like most other celebrities, Carey has nine love lives to live and moved on to a man who most certainly is not lacking for ice: James Packer is the fourth richest man in Australia. And though both are heading into their third marriage and already have children with former spouses, they are acting as if it’s their first, showy ring and all.

In a not too distant past, a second wedding (forget about a third) was a quiet and simple affair. The bride wore off-white or a different color altogether, and any sort of full-throttle celebration was considered gauche. Fast-forward to today, and celebrities set the example by hosting one lavish wedding after another.

Take Sofia Vergara for example. Despite finding herself in the midst of a bitter custody battle over her and ex-husband Nick Loeb’s frozen embryos, she managed to pull off an embarrassingly over-the-top wedding to a new beau, which she described to Ellen DeGeneres, as “like a fairy tale.”

And then there was Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries ill-fated, seven-figure nuptials, which were turned into a two-part television series entitled, Kim’s Fairytale Wedding: A Kardashian Event. Their fairytale lasted 72 days.

For all the talk about fairytales, the celebrity engagements and weddings that emphasize fantasy usually end up having a nightmarish feel. Perhaps it’s the frantically over-the-top décor. Or maybe it’s the sense of inevitable marital doom that lingers in the flowers and on the wedding party’s garish grins. Or maybe it’s the infantilization of something profoundly adult, the sexualized bride in a princess dress, that makes the affair seem downright creepy.

Whatever it is, the irony lies in the reality that celebrity fairytale romances never seem to have a storybook ending. It’s become an inevitability that the more whimsical the wedding, the likelier the divorce. And not just in Hollywood: The latest studies confirm that a lavish wedding correlates with higher likelihood of divorce. The same, apparently, now goes for the size of one’s ring. Add to that the harsh reality that 67 percent of second and 73 percent of third marriages end in divorce, and the fairytale begins to fade rather quickly.

There’s nothing wrong with dreaming about a whirlwind romance and a sparkly ring to go along with it. But the “princess fairytale” weddings that celebrities like Mariah Carey model for today’s couples have an aura of childlike escapism that suggest that their understanding of marriage is little more than what they claim to be celebrating: a fairytale.

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  • Prospector

    Wow. Weird and sad.

  • dwpittelli

    I think a bigger, related problem is the widespread aping of the celebrity wedding. It is not uncommon to see middle class people throwing $50,000-$100,000 weddings. That means that they will start out $50,000+ poorer than need be the case, and money problems are a big part of marital stress and many divorces. It also means that the betrothed couple, or at least the bride-to-be, will have spent a year obsessing on wedding plans, instead of on the health of the relationship and the marriage itself.

    There is no reason to think that a small wedding, as was common 50+ years ago, or an elopement (perhaps followed by a reasonable party) will damage a marriage.

  • Daniel O’Brien

    “Don’t marry a girl whose father calls her princess!”