The Oscar Curse

There is a lot of buzz these days about the Oscar Curse and it may well be true according to researchers at the University of Toronto, who found that women that have won best actress are over fifty percent more likely to divorce than those who were simply nominated. Let’s be clear: since this accounts for a miniscule part of the population (256 women over 76 years versus over a billion normal women over the same period) these results simply do not apply to most people.

So what can we learn?

First, our actresses and actors are part of an elite class that dominates our consciousness. Remember that they are just people and suffer aches and pains like the rest of us. No one is exempt from the drama of being human.

Second, this rarefied group of women test social norms. By and large, they are more successful than their husbands, more visible and more powerful. Perhaps we don’t have a social norm for the kind of man that can skillfully handle this situation?

Third, commitment to a career, at its most ambitious level can be detrimental to marriage. This happens all the time with successful CEOs who have devoted their precious time to their career and not to their marriage. They divorce often. And actors of this caliber probably fall into a category of people who have neglected the plainness of a successful marriage in favor of career.

Finally, many people stay in an unhappy marriage because they are worried about money. Sometimes it works to their advantage because their marriage improves (but not always). Our star actresses don’t have to really worry about surviving. If anything, they may have to take care of their ex husband with support after the divorce.

(Sigh) Life is so very short. We should all find happiness.

Dr. Banschick is a child and adolescent psychiatrist. He has been quoted in The New York Times, The Huffington Post and The CBS Early Show. He is currently finishing the second of three books in The Intelligent Divorce series, which are devoted to teaching parents how to raise well adjusted kids during a divorce. You can reach him at or at

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