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The art of divorce: Split-ups that sparked success

The art of divorce: Split-ups that sparked success

Divorce can be a messy affair. Even if there’s little animosity between the separating parties, both may still suffer losses. Celebrity breakups can be worse, since everything’s happening in the public eye.

But for certain celebrities in creative endeavors, divorce can actually be an unexpected boon. When you’re an artist, pain can be the spark that fuels your creativity. Just take a look at the following celebrity artists who turned lemons into limoncello cocktails.

Toni Braxton: Un-break her heart

The partnership between soulful singer Toni Braxton and prolific producer Babyface resulted in many of the former’s massive hits in the early 90s. After a string of successes, the two parted ways to pursue separate careers.

Several years later, their real-life partners also chose to part ways with them.

After going through public divorces, Toni and Babyface reunited in the studio — older, wiser, and raring to put their pain and hard-earned love lessons to good use. The result was the not-too-subtly titled album Love, Marriage & Divorce. It went on to win Best R&B Album at the 57th Grammy Awards in 2015, proving that either Grammy voters wanted to give both divorcees a pat on their backs, or heartbreak really sells.

Nora Ephron: Write the wrong

The daughter of two writers, Nora Ephron started as an essayist. She published two collections of her articles, first in 1970 and then in 1975.

Her first and only published novel in 1983 is an autobiographical one inspired by her marriage to and divorce from her second husband. Heartburn revolves around a pregnant cookbook writer who contemplates leaving her husband after she discovers he’s having an affair. Critics praised Nora’s prose, describing it as “incandescent, seething, quippy.” And in writing the book, Nora became the heroine, not the victim.

She went on to write the screenplay for the novel’s 1986 film adaptation. That’s when Nora transitioned to film, writing the screenplays for Silkwood and When Harry Met Sally. In 1993, she wrote and directed the worldwide hit Sleepless in Seattle, which earned more than $120 million at the box office. Before her death in 2012, Nora was one of the most influential female writer-directors in Hollywood, best known for bringing to the spotlight strong decisive women.

Nick Lachey: The hardest thing he’d ever done?

Nick Lachey was starting to make a name for himself as one-fourth of the 90s boy band 98 Degrees when he hooked up with rising singer and actress Jessica Simpson. Years later, they cemented their “celebrity power couple” status when they got married in 2002 and starred in their reality show Newlyweds: Nick and Jessica on MTV. Their on-screen antics made the show a pop culture phenomenon.

In November 2005, Nick and Jessica announced their separation. The following month, Jessica filed for divorce. Because she didn’t sign a prenuptial agreement, Jessica had to pay Nick a reported $12 million, prompting her to call Nick her “biggest financial mistake.”

Of course, Nick could afford to be the bigger person. He wrote and released the song “What’s Left of Me” in 2006, claiming in an interview that it was not “vindictive or an assault on her.” The song became Nick’s most successful single as a solo artist. Its music video featured Nick with Vanessa Minnillo playing the role of Jessica Simpson. In real life, Vanessa replaced Jessica as Nick’s wife in 2011.

Clearly, getting divorced wasn’t the hardest thing Nick ever had to do.

Nancy Meyers: The split-to-screen queen

Nancy Meyers is a writer, director, and producer who’s best known for light romantic comedies that critics often dismiss as inoffensive but forgettable fluff. But inspired from her split-up with domestic and creative partner Charles Shyer, Nancy wrote and directed Something’s Gotta Give. Critics fell head-over-heels in love with this 2003 film, calling it aesthetically and emotionally satisfying and the most mature movie in Meyers’ filmmaking oeuvre.

Six years later, Nancy revisited her divorce experience to write and direct It’s Complicated. It’s a frothy companion piece to Something’s Gotta Give, all fluffy, forgettable fun. Still, it grossed $219 million worldwide and garnered three Golden Globe nominations.

To date, Nancy Meyers remains the highest-grossing female writer-director-producer in Hollywood.

Robert Waller: Burning bridges?

Robert Waller wrote one of the best-selling love stories of all time. Published in 1992, The Bridges of Madison County stayed on the New York Times Best Seller list for 162 weeks. Readers fell hard for the brief but intense romance between a photojournalist and an Iowa housewife. In 1995, the film adaptation starring Clint Eastwood and Meryl Streep introduced Waller’s characters to a global audience. The movie earned more than $175 million in worldwide ticket sales.

Robert Waller wrote several novels after Bridges, but none equaled the success of his first fiction novel.

In 1997, his wife Georgia filed for divorce after 36 years of marriage. She got half of his estimated $11 million earnings from The Bridges of Madison County as well as two ranches in the divorce settlement. Meanwhile, Robert is living on his Texas ranch with a much younger woman, Ms. Linda Bow, who works as the landscaper of the ranch.

In 2002, Robert Waller released A Thousand Country Roads: An Epilogue to the Bridges of Madison County. Compared to the first book, the sequel was a modest best-seller, proving that bridges, once burned, can never be crossed again.

Breaking up is hard to do. So if it seems that divorce is inevitable, make sure you won’t be on the losing end. Get professional help from some of the most experienced lawyers in family law and personal injury in Washington state. Schedule an appointment with Buckingham, LaGrandeur, & Williams today.