From Britney to Joe Jonas, Celebrity Divorces Dominated 2023: Here’s What Happened


From the demise of Britney Spears and Sam Asghari's “blink-and-you-missed-it” marriage to the shocking revelation that Meryl Streep and Don Gummer have been amicably and secretly separated for years after a 45-year marriage, this has been the year of lost love and legal nightmares in matrimonial land. As we bid goodbye to 2023, let’s take a look at some of the splits that garnered headlines this year, and explore some of the recurring issues at play.

Social Media and PR as Bargaining Tools

Unsurprisingly, the media speculated plenty on the private matters emanating from celebrity divorces this year. In the aftermath of the infamous Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial, we continue to see the use of the press and other media as a bargaining tool to gain public favor. A prime example is actress Sophie Turner claiming that it was through the media that she learned her husband, pop star Joe Jonas, had filed for divorce. Their split quickly yielded multiple narratives in the press, including a spate of coverage about Turner’s alleged hard-partying lifestyle being to blame for Jonas’ decision. Ultimately, the Jonas Brothers’ female-dominated fanbase – not to mention many high-profile female celebrities – publicly sided with Turner, a working mom.

Public perception can be a powerful instrument, and while the “media attention” issue isn’t as relevant for the average couple, I still advise using private mediation during divorce to have a better chance at achieving confidentiality and maintaining integrity. Of course, both sides have to agree to private mediation, and it might not happen if using the press to shape public opinion is a goal of one or both sides.

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"From Britney to Joe Jonas, Celebrity Divorces Dominated 2023: Here’s What Happened," by Morgan Fraser Mouchette was published in Forbes on December 13, 2023. Reprinted with permission.