What do Angelina Jolie, Britney Spears, Tom Cruise, and Ed McMahon have in common?
Of course, all three of them are celebrities. But more than that, all three are serial monogamists. And since most adults have been involved in multiple monogamous relationships throughout the course of their lifetime, then it's fair to say that most adults, celebrity or not, are serial monogamists. Nevertheless, this phenomenon seems especially prevalent among celebrities.
According to People Magazine, as of June 21, 2008, Angelina Jolie is the third most buzzed about star as of this minute! The Hot List shows the most buzzed about celebs of the moment as measured by reader activity on People.com. Here is the Top Ten:
1 Jamie Lynn Spears
2 Britney Spears
3 Angelina Jolie
4 Brad Pitt
6 Nicole Kidman
7 Sienna Miller
8 Keira Knightley
9 Julia Roberts
10 Blake Lively
Consider the love life of each of these celebrities, as it relates to serial monogamy.
Jamie Lynn Spears
Jamie Lynn is the baby sister of Britney Spears. As of this writing, Casey Aldridge is her fiancé and they've been a couple since 2005.
On September 07, 2000, Britney Spears and singer Justin Timberlake went public with their romance at the MTV Video Music Awards. But in March, 2002, Britney confirmed that she and Justin were no longer seeing each other. Britney told People Magazine:
"[The breakup] was horrible. Very upsetting and it took a lot out of me. He was my first real love, and I doubt I'll ever be able to love anyone like that ever again. But I'd rather spend two days with my soul mate than the rest of my life with some guy who doesn't mean as much."
Then on January 2, 2004, Britney married her childhood friend Jason Alexander in Las Vegas. The marriage was annulled after 55 hours. Spears told Matt Lauer it was an act of rebellion, prompted by a demanding performance schedule.
Next, on April 23, 2004, Britney hooked up with Kevin Federline, a backup dancer, and they become a couple. Shar Jackson, who was Federline's girlfriend prior to this, was also pregnant with his second child. Jackson told People Magazine:
"This just isn't right."
On September 23, 2004, Spears and Federline married in a surprise ceremony in Studio City, California, at a private home. She described the wedding as "my fairy tale dream."On September 14, 2005, Spears gave birth to son Sean Preston by C-section at UCLA Medical Center. He weighed 6-lb. 11-oz. While pregnant, Spears told People Magazine,
"I find being pregnant empowering. I think it brings out a pure side of you, and I think that's cool."
In August, 2006, Spears was six months pregnant with her second child. She appeared nude on the August cover of Harper's Bazaar with her hands placed over her breasts. "It made me want to cry a little bit, doing these photos," she tells the magazine. "I started feeling like myself again." On September 12, Spears gave birth to son Jayden James. "It just kind of happened," Spears told People Magazine of her second pregnancy. On November 07, after appearing on David Letterman's Late Show, Britney filed for a divorce from Federline, citing "irreconcilable differences."In January, 2007, she was romantically linked with Isaac Cohen. After Spears split with Cohen, she hooked up with her current boyfriend, Adnan Ghalib.
Britney's ex-boyfriend, Justin Timberlake, has been linked with the following women:
Jessica Biel, girlfriend (2007 to present)
Cameron Diaz, ex-girlfriend (2003 to 2007)
Britney Spears, ex-girlfriend (2000 to 2002)
Brad Pitt, boyfriend (2005 to present)
Billy Bob Thornton, ex-husband (2000 to 2003)
Jonny Lee Miller, ex-husband (1995 to 1997)
Angelina Jolie, girlfriend (2005 to present)
Jennifer Aniston, ex-wife (1998 to 2005)
Gwyneth Paltrow, ex-girlfriend (1995 to 1997, engaged)
Jitka Pohlodek, ex-girlfriend (1993 to 1995)
Juliette Lewis, ex-girlfriend (1990 to 1993)
Robin Givens, ex-girlfriend (1989)
Jill Schoelen, ex-girlfriend (1988)
Chris Brown, boyfriend (2008 to present)
Keith Urban, husband (2005 to present)
Lenny Kravitz, ex-boyfriend (July 2003 to Dec. 2003)
Tom Cruise, ex-husband (1990 to 2001)
Tom Cruise has been linked with:
Katie Holmes, wife (2005 to present)
Penélope Cruz, ex-girlfriend (2001 to 2004)
Nicole Kidman, ex-wife (1990 to 2001)
Mimi Rogers, ex-wife (1986 to 1990)
Rhys Ifan, boyfriend (2007 to present)
Jamie Burke, ex-boyfriend (2007)
Jude Law, ex-boyfriend (2003 to 2006, on and off, engaged)
Rupert Friend, boyfriend (2006 to present)
Jamie Dornan, ex-boyfriend (2003 to 2005)
Del Synnott, ex-boyfriend (2001 to 2003)
Danny Moder, husband (2002 to present)
Benjamin Bratt, ex-boyfriend (1997 to 2001)
Matthew Perry, ex-boyfriend (1996)
Lyle Lovett, ex-husband (1993 to 1995)
Jason Patric, ex-boyfriend (1991 to 1992)
Kiefer Sutherland, ex-boyfriend (1990 to 1991, engaged)
Dylan McDermott, ex-boyfriend (1988 to 1990, engaged)
Liam Neeson, ex-boyfriend (1987 to 1988)
Penn Badgley, boyfriend (2008 to present)
Kelly Blatz, ex-boyfriend (2004 to 2007)
So out of the top ten most buzzed about celebs of the moment, only two are not serial monogamist. Why are the vast majority of celebrities serial monogamists? And why are so many non-celebrities serial monogamists? Scientifically, there's strong evidence that suggests that humans are simply not naturally monogamous. This theory was put forth in the Marilyn Monroe movie The Seven Year Itch. Since then, the titular phrase "seven year itch," which refers to a disinterest in a monogamous relationship after seven years of marriage, has entered the popular culture. It has also been used by psychologists. (See The Ties That Unbind by Aaron Dalton, an article from Psychology Today.)
Another term that casts doubt on the notion that we are naturally monogamous is the catch-phrase "The Coolidge Effect." This term describes phenomena seen in nearly every species whereby males show continuously high sexual performance given the introduction of new receptive females. The notion of society is that we can't start a new romantic relationship until we end a current romantic relationship. So if Angelina had all of her ex-lovers moved in with her and Brad, and if all Brad's ex-lovers were to move in with him and Angelina, everyone would say "How naughty!" Yet there are revolutionary Utopians who insist that such a radical lifestyle not only can work, but often does work. One term for this arrangement is "Open Marriage." This was suggested in Nena O'Neill and George O'Neill 1972 book Open Marriage, which sold over 1.5 million copies. Another term is "polyamory," which means "many loves." It seems peculiar that romantic relationships are the only arena where variety is not the spice of life.