Many of us are interested in celebrities and their lives, and when it comes to power couples’ breakups, we may grieve them just as much as our own. Some people can feel so deeply upset that they are still not over the fact that Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt never got back together. The world shakes when the couples we thought of as “perfect” fall apart, even though we were not close and we never knew these people in real life.
We at Bright Side are rooting for celebrity couples too, so we got curious about finding out how psychologists explain this phenomenon, and here’s what we learned.
It’s not about them. It’s about us.
When our favorite celebrity couples break up, the love fairy tale we want to believe in is suddenly over and we see the truth of adult life — love doesn’t always last forever. We see how these beautiful, talented, and wealthy (as we think of them) people lose what they’ve been building together, sometimes for years, and we may start thinking to ourselves: “If they can’t make their love last, how can I do this?”
We tend to romanticize the lives celebrities are living. Sometimes we think of them as good examples to follow to become more successful, and when their relationships fall apart, we start to question the perfect image we created in our minds. Celebrities are humans, just like us. And just like us, they may have their highs and lows, they can find love and lose it. It’s perfectly normal. But when we rely too much on personal hopes about celebrity couples, their breakups can hurt almost as much as our own.
We should probably stop idealizing famous people.
There are no special terms to call this phenomenon yet, but some experts refer to it as “over-identification.” When we over-identify with celebrities we love and we may feel hurt when they experience something painful, like a divorce. Social media that shows famous people “as they are” only contributes to this over-identification.
We may think we see their true selves on their social media accounts, but this is not always true. We can only judge the lives of celebrities from the pieces of information they chose to share with us. We don’t see many of their flaws, and we start idealizing them.
Surprisingly, when something good happens to our favorite celebrities, our feelings may not be that strong. In other words, we may feel strong sadness and pain when the couples we root for get separated, but we may not feel such strong joy and happiness when they marry or have children. According to experts, this happens because good events better fit into the ideal image of the celebrities’ lives we picture in our heads. While things like divorce and separation are more unexpected, and they remind us that things like that can happen to anyone, even our favorite celebrities.
Why we ship celebrities who are not in a relationship.
This is another thing that we love doing. Kate Winslet and Leonardo DiCaprio have been friends for decades since starring in Titanic. They’ve never been in a relationship officially, but fans have been shipping them ever since, seeing something more than friendship behind their red-carpet interactions. This happens with TV show characters too. If there are 2 people on the show we ship, we start heartily rooting for them and we watch the show with even more interest. Why does this happen?
Again, it’s more about us than them. According to psychologists, this may reveal how lonely we can sometimes feel living in the modern world. Some of us may want to feel that love and romance we need, even vicariously, through the celebrities and TV show heroes we ship.
Are you rooting for any celebrity couples? Whose breakups have upset you the most?