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Jewish World Review March 9, 2001/ 14 Adar, 5761

Marianne M. Jennings

Marianne M. Jennings
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The lessons of Tom and Nicole -- THE media remain dedicated to round-the-clock coverage of the recent Tom Cruise/Nicole Kidman split. MSNBC had an hour-long special on this sad state of affairs, as it were. Had it not been for the passing of Dale Earnhardt and resulting distraction of inquiring minds, Elton John would surely have been called upon to write yet another version of "Candle in the Wind," originally written as the national anthem for Marilyn Monroe and then revised for Diana's funeral as "Bulimic Rose in the Loo." Reworked for a tribute to the end of Tom and Nicole's wedded bliss, Sir Elton might have performed the ballad with his newfound pal and musical genius, Eminem.

Yes, sadness envelops the land over the split of one of Hollywood's few marrieds with children. Children without marriage abound. Children without childbirth abound as Hollywood waifs adopt children as if buying a new puppy at the mall. Rosie, Calista and Jody have given their children the blessing of growing up fatherless.

Among the designer ruins of the Cruise/Kidman pending divorce are some eternal lessons on marriage. One of my colleagues should develop a course. If golf is a major, as the Wall Street Journal reported this week, then Top Gun's marriage could surely be a course. There is a legislative trend around the country for requiring couples to take lessons before marrying. Herein Tom and Nicole 101 - What Went Wrong?

She's too tall. Men who are short are insecure. Ask any man who is short, say 5'8", and he will inevitably say he is 5'11." When the woman is taller than the man, the marriage won't work. Sonny and Cher. Napoleon and Josephine. Dudley Moore and anyone. Mickey Rooney and everyone.


They had a prenuptial agreement. A California lawyer who specializes in drafting prenuptials says he's never seen a marriage with one work. The real name for these agreements is antenuptial. If you don't want to put your bucks on the line, forget about a lasting marriage, to wit: Steven Spielberg and Amy Irving. Donald Trump and Marla Maples. Christina Ferrare and John DeLorean. Ron Perelman and all of his marriages.

Cruise called it quits just days before the California 10-year limit. Go over 10 years there and the prenup loses its sting to community property laws. The prenup marriages headed down the tubes: Barbra Streisand and James Brolin, he's tall but she's too famous and Clinton has free time. Katherine Zeta Jones and Michael Douglas, the father of her son, who is older than the grandfather. Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt. Get real.

Publicists point to Cruise's and Kidman's stressful careers as a cause. Please, they work 6 weeks per year, have nannies, hairdressers, trainers, personal assistants, luxury set trailers, and three homes. Try marriage when you have to work all day every day to make the mortgage on a cracker box, the weeds from your lawn are growing into the sidewalk and the washer and dishwasher are filled with all that you own. There are couples trading off swing and graveyard shifts at the front lines at Ford who manage career separations. All marriages have stress. This too shall pass.

They had different religions - she's Catholic and he's an L. Ron Hubbard guy. The pope's edicts are bound to cause discussions. Also, Mrs. Cruise wanted to raise her children as Catholics. Toddlers understand Moses and Miriam in the bulrushes. Scientology has no parables. One couple, one faith, one marriage.

The marriage was founded in infidelity. Cruise left his first wife, Mimi Rogers, shortly after becoming smitten with Nicole, his leading lady in Days of Thunder. A courtship based in infidelity has it consequences, generally infidelity and/or divorce.

Nicole kept taking off her clothes. Having your wife and the mother of your children nude on a London stage does not spawn security, particularly when height is an issue. Marriage means a screeching halt to the indiscretions of youth, including public nudity.

They worked with Stanley Kubrick for almost a year. Eyes Wide Shut was a bomb in every way. But, a theme of nudity and infidelity under the tutelage of the director of A Clockwork Orange is begging for trouble. See nudity and infidelity clauses above.

All the money in the world can't buy happiness. Those of us in the trenches do not rejoice when Hollywood marriages fail for there are children at issue. Nor do we harbor feelings of superiority for the tender balances in a marriage require constant maintenance. But there is some small comfort in knowing that $250 million in assets does not buy happiness. You don't have their portfolio or their A-list status, but you have what they want --- a longstanding successful marriage complete with stress and no prenup.

JWR contributor Marianne M. Jennings is a professor of legal and ethical studies at Arizona State University. Send your comments by clicking here.


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01/26/01: The challenge to be better than we have been
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12/23/00: Litigation: It's the American way
12/15/00: In defense of rhetoric
12/06/00: The company we keep: Lawyers and elections
12/01/00: Liberals' art of trashing of women
11/20/00: Put me out of my misery
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11/13/00: When it's broke, fixing it wouldn't offend the Framers
11/08/00: ELECTION 2000: I SURRENDER
10/27/00: Al in the package? Memo to women: Choosing presidents and husbands
10/20/00: Ten things the gay community should understand
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09/29/00: The capacity for truth
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09/15/00: The taming of the shrew: Gloria Steinem takes a husband
09/09/00: Why rich folk don't bother me none
08/28/00: Survival of the not-so-fit but conniving
08/25/00: Conventions: A study in contrasts
08/18/00: Resenting the accusations of racial prejudice
08/04/00: Women: Their own worst enemy
07/21/00: Hillary: Our longshoreman First Lady
07/21/00: SUVs: The root of all evil
07/14/00: The basketball gene and white men not jumping so well
07/07/00: I wanna be around
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06/14/00: Sex and the City: The shallow but vulgar female
06/08/00: No excuses schools
06/02/00: Oh, Canada: Our Nutty Neighbors to the North
05/23/00: The new mollycoddling coach
05/16/00: On adultery and leadership
05/12/00: Taking your lumps
05/02/00: Elian: There's never a liberal around when you need one
04/25/00: Life's circle and tenderness
04/18/00: Womyn who want it both ways
04/11/00: The monsters we're raising with the ergo proposition
04/05/00: Endowing the Hooters Chair for Literature Appreciation
03/28/00: Dr. Laura: The passive/aggressive kid's mom
03/21/00: Dough and campaigns
03/14/00: The volunteerism of conscription and pomp
03/07/00: Hope and pray that religion remains a force in politics
02/29/00: Ditzes in TV Land
02/22/00: Cranky nitpickers make writing a [sic] experience
02/15/00: Those chameleon 60s activists
02/08/00: McCandidate McCain: Flirting with principles
02/01/00: The demise of marriage
01/25/00: Stroke of the pen, law of the land: Clinton's Camelot
01/18/00: Off the Rocker Rorschach Test
01/11/00: Oprah's lemmings
01/04/00: Struggling mightily amidst the comfort
12/23/99: Confused fathers
12/14/99: Drop-kicking the homeless
12/07/99: Turtles and teamsters, side-by-side in Seattle
11/29/99: When conservatives behave badly
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11/18/99: The elusive human spirit and accountability
11/11/99: Succumbing to the intellectual child within with the help of crackpots and screwballs
10/28/99: Live by litigation, die by litigation
10/22/99: Jesse, Warren, Cybill, Donald and Oprah
10/14/99: Inequality and injustice: It's the big one
10/05/99: Dan Quayle, morals and schoolyard bullies
09/30/99: The monsters of epidermal parenting
09/21/99: The Diversity Hoax
09/15/99: Waco Wackos
09/09/99: Selective censorship
09/01/99: The village, the children, judicial imperialism and abortion
08/24/99: Naughty Newt?
08/17/99: In defense of Boy Scouts and judgment
08/10/99: Ruining the finest health care system in the world
08/03/99: Nihilism and politics: ethics on the lam
07/26/99: Of women, soccer and removed jerseys
07/23/99: Not in despair, a mere mortal doing just fine
07/20/99: "Why me?" How about "Why us?"
07/13/99: Bunk, junk & juries
07/06/99: An Amish woman in a Victoria's Secret store
06/30/99: That intellectually embarrassing Second Amendment
06/24/99: Patricia Ireland eat your heart out --- but check out the recipe in 'women's mags' first
06/22/99: Dems and the Creator coup
06/17/99: True courage is more than just admitting troubles

© 2000, Marianne M. Jennings