Do celebrities have a higher divorce rate than the general population.

This is normally focused around Hollywood type celebrities, so for comparison sake:

Is the divorce rate amongst U.S celebrities in the past decade higher than in the general U.S population?


The divorce rate in the United States has reached 50 percent, and while an exact statistic is not available, the divorce rate in Hollywood is certainly higher. When celebrities marry, the question is always "How long is it really going to last?"

Worth mentioning, is this wikipedia article on Hollywood marriage:

Negative views of Hollywood marriages take the position that the divorce rates are indeed unusually high among celebrities and that this is caused by faults within Hollywood as a culture or by personal faults of the celebrities themselves.

  • 1
    The general population includes childs and olds. Do you want to compare to a sample with an even age distribution? Aug 16, 2011 at 1:27
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    @user unkown - Is that a serious question?
    – going
    Aug 16, 2011 at 1:36
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    Yes, of course. The divorce rate has reached 50% - for whom? For married adults? Including people above 80? Do you count divorce/lifetime or divorce/year? If you compare the divorces per year, how do you handle ex-actors, which acted only from 20-65, and had a divorce at 72? Most actors of the last decades are still alive, so if they are alive, and their partners, if they're married, are still alive too, they might have a divorce tomorrow, so you could only count dead or divorced actors. Social statistic is hard, if you want to do it right. Aug 16, 2011 at 1:51
  • The divorce rate for celebrities is 40% compared to 20% of UK population referring to unpublished research mentioned here-marriagefoundation.org.uk/Shared/Uploads/Products/…. Feb 8, 2016 at 12:14

1 Answer 1


For as celebrity obsessed as our cultures tend to be, this was actually a pretty hard statistic to confirm or debunk. It just seems that very few people kept track of it in actual numbers. That may be due to the fact that how does one exactly classify someone as a "celebrity".

I did find one article that seems to pop up in all my searches that said:

The United States has the world's highest marriage rate of 9.8 per 1000 as well as the world's highest divorce rate of 4.95 per 1000.

A recent study done on Golden Globe award winners revealed that of the celebrities who had been married, the average number of marriages was 1.4, while the average number of divorces was 0.65. The probability of a famous union surviving is only 35 percent, so the odds are 1.9 to 1 against the marriage.

This site (which I can't say much about) also repeats this study without actually linking to it or referencing it properly:

Well, because we thought you had a right to know, we conducted a comprehensive first-of-its-kind study of celebrity divorce. The study focused on Golden Globe award winners, who should fairly represent celebrities as a whole. (The Golden Globe categories include both television and motion pictures.) All 2001 and 2000 Golden Globe nominees and winners in the acting categories were included in the database, for a total of 151; due to multiple nominations and awards, the final yield was 127 unique celebrities.

Of the 127 celebrities listed, 68 percent had been married at least once. Billy Bob Thornton takes the honors of having the most marriages with five (as well as the most divorces, also with five of course, by law it had to be at least four divorces, but you never know with Billy Bob).

Of the celebrities who had been married, the average number of marriages was 1.4, while the average number of divorces was 0.65. The probability of a celebrity marriage surviving is only 35 percent, so the odds are 1.9 to 1 against the marriage.

So, from this unverified "study", it would seem that the rates for celebrities is indeed higher than the general population.

The only reason I even decided to answer this was because of a blog post by a blog I am following that popped up today. In that post, they mention a group called the Barna group doing a study on US divorce rates, and they seem a bit lower than 50%, but that was from 1999. Even so, a website dedicated to divorce rates also seems to back up a rate at less than 50%.

The CDC tracks it a bit differently, by giving it a stat like: Marriage rate: 6.8 per 1,000 total population, and Divorce rate: 3.4 per 1,000 population. In this case, it seems that the 50% number holds up. (Although the marriage and divorce rate is different than the rate claimed in the first article, so that would cause me to question that article a bit more.)

BOTTOM LINE: Yes, it appears that celebrities do have a higher divorce rate than the average person (dependent on how you define celebrity of course).

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    "9.8 per 1000" - huh? Less than 1 out of 100 people is married? I find that hard to believe. Aug 15, 2011 at 21:23
  • @BlueRaja - Danny Pflughoeft I didn't understand that either to be honest! Aug 15, 2011 at 22:37
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    @BlueRaja: I'm guessing that's annual
    – vartec
    Aug 15, 2011 at 23:01
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    Most actors in hollywood are adult. Is the divorce-and-marriage-rate of non-actors made for the whole population, or just for adults, too? Hollywood actors should contain less old people than the average population too, which will make it harder to compare the numbers. Aug 16, 2011 at 1:36
  • Most famous actors are rich. Many poor people can't divorce because of financial reasons. Does that affect the numbers?
    – gnasher729
    Feb 8, 2016 at 17:09

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