When Prince Harry and Meghan Markle announced their engagement, everyone quickly became overjoyed. Well, perhaps not everyone. Markle’s ex-husband, Hollywood producer Trevor Engelson, has not yet commented on the recent royal engagement. His latest project, however, speaks volumes. Business Insider reports that his newest work, a television show green-lit by Fox, “seems to draw direct inspiration from Markle.” How so?
The show is “about a man who must share custody of his child after his ex-wife marries a British prince,” the report continues. Coincidence? Not at all. Business Insider goes on, “Engelson admitted that the idea for the show came out of a conversation about what would have happened if he and Markle had kids and he had to share custody with Prince Harry and his family.”
It’s impossible to know if Engelson’s new show is born of resentment, a broken heart, or otherwise. Regardless, airing the dirty laundry of a failed relationship on national television—whether fiction or not—is in bad taste. Engelson may have flexed his power in Hollywood in order to get this show approved but there isn’t much he can do about how people perceive him now. It seems he may just be another famous, bitter ex exacting revenge, which begs the question—why do celebrities have such a hard time being civil to each other after a break-up?
In the early 2000s, the world watched as pop icons Britney Spears and Justin Timberlake called it quits. Of course, it didn’t end there. Timberlake released his first solo single, “Cry Me A River,” and the accompanying music video, which featured a Spears look-a-like who cheats on Justin. Not to be outdone, Spears later released the track, “Liar,” seemingly refuting Timberlake’s passive-aggressive claims.
Timberlake and Spears aren’t the only ones singing about their breakups. After separating from Mariah Carey, Nick Cannon released a “new song called Divorce Papers, which he penned in the wake of rumors he had deliberately delayed signing off on the end of his marriage to Mariah,” Glamour reports.
The list of overly public and bitter breakups and divorces goes on and on: Hulk and Linda Hogan, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston (and later Angelina Jolie), LeAnn Rimes and Dean Sheremet, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren. While the end of a relationship almost always involves hurt feelings, the public shaming and humiliation are optional. The rare few celebrity couples who have remained civil prove this to be true.
Popsugar.com explains, “Bruce Willis and Demi Moore may go down in history as the most congenial exes in Hollywood! The couple tied the knot in 1987 and divorced in 2000, immediately deciding that they would continue to coparent their three daughters, Rumer, Scout, and Tallulah.” The article continues, “Since their split, the pair has supported each other through ups and downs—Bruce famously attended Demi’s 2005 wedding to Ashton Kutcher, and the blended family often hit the red carpet together with Bruce and his model wife, Emma Heming.”
Actress Gwyneth Paltrow and singer Chris Martin handled their separation with such politeness that Paltrow even coined a new term for their split: “conscious uncoupling.” While the phrase perplexed the masses at first, it gradually began to make more sense. In an article on People.com, Dr. Habib Sadeghi and Dr. Sherry Sami explain, “By choosing to handle your uncoupling in a conscious way, regardless of what’s happening with your spouse, you’ll see that although it looks like everything is coming apart; it’s actually all coming back together.”
While the term is admittedly still a bit cringe-worthy, perhaps celebrities would be able to maintain civility if they made more conscious decisions on how to handle their breakups. There’s still time for Engelson to change his course and pull the plug on his tell-all TV show. But will he do it? I suppose the only thing we can do is stay tuned to find out.