Health & Wellbeing

Study shows winning Best Actress Oscar significantly increases risk of divorce

Study shows winning Best Actress Oscar significantly increases risk of divorce
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A university study has concluded that Oscar winners in the Best Actress category are at a higher risk of divorce than nominees who do not win. A long line of best actress winners including Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Halle Berry and Kate Winslet experienced marriage breakdowns not long after taking home their awards. By contrast, Best Actor winners do not experience an increase in the risk of divorce after an Oscar.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Toronto's Rotman School of Management and Carnegie Mellon University.

"Research has shown that, in the general population, gender differences have historically given roles with greater power and status to men and roles with lesser status and power to women. Studies have demonstrated that breaching this social norm within a marriage—for example, when a wife earns more than her husband—can strain the relationship," says Tiziana Casciaro, an assistant professor of organizational behavior at the Rotman School, who co-authored the study with Colleen Stuart, a post-doctoral fellow at Carnegie Mellon University, and Sue Moon, a PhD student at the Rotman School.

"It appears that even the marriages of Hollywood actresses at the top of their careers are not immune to the consequences of violating social norms that affect the wider population. Our results suggest that the sudden success reduces the longevity of their marriages," says Stuart.

The study looked at the 751 nominees in the best actor and actress categories of the Academy Awards between1936 to 2010. The results show that Best Actress winners have a 63% chance of their marriages ending sooner than the marriages of non-winners. The median marriage duration for Best Actress winners was 4.30 years, substantially lower than the 9.51 year marriage duration for non-winners. By contrast, the difference between Best Actor non-winners (median = 12.66 years) and Best Actor winners (median = 11.97 years) was not statistically significant.

The complete study is available for download.

Aha! Another study implicating the little gold statuette. A few years ago, another study showed that winning best screenplay meant a writer was likely to die younger. The theory for that being that the pressures of writing another successful script often promoted unhealthy lifestyle choices, like smoking and drinking.
This demonstrates correlation, not causation. Could it be that one needs a troubled marriage in order to put in an award-winning performance?
I wish both the study and article listed the actresses in this fashion: Reese Witherspoon won in 2005 for Walk the Line, separated in 2006 and divorced soon after. Sandra Bullock won for Blind Side in 2009, divorced in 2010. Hillary Swank divorced in 2006 after her second Oscar in 2005; however, they remained married after her first Oscar in 1999. Nicole Kidman won in 2002, but had already divorced Tom the year before. I guess that one doesn\'t count. Basically all winners in the last decade got divorced or split up soon after the win. I think only one wasn\'t attached at all.