Extremely rich and famous celebrity couples live in a different universe where marriage is concerned. But sometimes, celebrities’ marriages show the same signs that their marriage is in trouble as that of non-celebrity couples. Take, for example, the soon-to-be-divorced Rocky star Sylvester Stallone and his wife Jennifer Flavin. In August, Ms. Flavin filed for a “dissolution of marriage and other relief” from her very famous husband.
The two met at a restaurant and got married in 1988. They’ve been married for 25 years, and although news of their split may seem sudden, it's actually quite common for marriages to unravel slowly over time without either spouse realizing it until it's too late. Or, in the case of celebrity couples, without the public reading about it in tabloids.
But there had already been signs that the Stallones’ marriage was on the rocks.
There was cheating early on in the marriage
In the ‘90s, the Expendables actor had an affair with former supermodel Janice Dickinson, which led to the married couple's separation. Stallone and Flavin reconciled after two years and had two more kids thereafter.
Infidelity can end a marriage, but some marriages can survive it. In fact, based on research by the American Psychological Association, 50% of partners who had affairs are still married. But the percentage of partners who never cheated is higher at 75%.
For years, it seemed like the Stallones would be among those couples whose marriage would last despite being tainted by infidelity. In any case, they had a good run.
Pet troubles in paradise
Stallone and Flavin were reportedly ending their marriage over a rottweiler named Dwight. In a statement to TMZ, Stallone clarified that although they had arguments over the dog’s care, it was not what ultimately broke their marriage.
Pets can cause all sorts of trouble for a couple. It’s also not unusual for fur babies’ mommy and daddy to have a high-conflict “pet custody” battle. There is no such thing as pet custody, as pets are considered assets or property in most states, including Washington.
Fighting over who should care for the family pet is too trivial a reason for a couple to file for a dissolution of marriage. Mr. Rocky even made it clear that his wife did not banish him into the dog pound for not being able to care for their pooch, given his frequent work-related trips. But perhaps their inability to agree on such a small matter as pet care was a symptom that there was trouble in paradise.
Covering up a tattoo of your wife’s face and replacing it with a dog tattoo
In 2007, Mr. Stallone had a tattoo of his wife’s face on his right bicep. He recently covered that up with the image of Butkus, his deceased dog with whom he shared screen time in two of his massively successful films, Rocky and its sequel.
Coincidence? We think not.
The actor claimed he had been meaning to refresh the tattoo. We are so sure that his covering up the tattoo of his soon-to-be ex-spouse has nothing to do with the divorce whatsoever. Just kidding — we think it has everything to do with it.
Selling assets on the sly
With the divorce filed, the couple have started fighting over big things like marital assets.
In Flavin’s divorce filing, she accused Sly of slyly spending and wasting away marital assets. Per the filing, he “engaged in the intentional dissipation, depletion, and/or waste of marital assets, which has had an adverse economic impact on the marital estate.”
Perhaps Mr. Stallone was merely engaging in self-care after being served divorce papers. But although he deserves to pamper himself because of the stressful split, selling or spending their assets while the divorce is ongoing could backfire. He could end up with much less when their marital assets get divided.
Fun fact: intentionally selling or spending away marital assets in anticipation of a split is not something that only the rich and famous do. Regular people (read: non-millionaires) may also do this for various reasons, such as to spite one’s spouse. But in the case of people like the Stallones who have several million-dollar properties, the costs tend to be bigger.
Mr. Stallone’s lawyers denied the accusation. We think it really was just self-care.
Got questions about internal dissipation in Washington State? We are experienced in handling cases involving Rocky marriages. Call our offices in Renton, Seattle today.