Label’s Culture Editor, Rebecca Pearson, sheds light into the fiasco of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s marriage and the façade of celebrity relationships.
In the world of the media, the boundaries between public and private became disputable a long time ago. The filtered, edited and romanticised concocted itself into an online world where the private was public. Celebrity break-ups fall into this blurring of divisions, heartbreak being easily warped into a gossip-piece. Most recently, it has been the public breakdown of Kim Kardashian and Kanye West’s relationship that has been plastered across gossip magazines. But what is the issue with romanticising celebrity relationships?
Romanticised, painful and superficial, the coverage of Kim and Kanye’s relationship breakdown has only skimmed the surface of the realities of a fading marriage. After six years of marriage, and months of rumours that their union might be coming to an end, Kim Kardashian filed for divorce in February 2021. In an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians in June, Kim had suggested that, understandably, she did not want her husband to live in a different state after Kanye had relocated to Wyoming. She explored the idea of failure – that she was a failure for producing another failed marriage when, instead, she is a mother, turning 40, and attempting to balance busy schedules and love.
Through the grips of the media, emotional and testing situations – like the breakdown of relationships, and the experience of loss and disappointment – are so often reduced to selective quotes and edited phrases. Celebrity relationships become romanticised on the premise that, in the public-eye, it is best to remain emotionless and distanced from the portrayal of pain and heartbreak. Seeing filtered snapshots and rehearsed recordings of someone’s life shapes it into a false 3D of reality.
You’ve probably seen them – the paparazzi photographs of celebrity couples walking romantically, hand-in-hand down some pretty California boulevard. A few months later, the media starts to speculate that – without any sightings of the couple for a few weeks – there’s been a break-up. Anyone living outside of the public-eye knows that a break-up is anything but easy. However, such omissions of the nitty-gritty details merely romanticise expectations. It compounds the feeling of failure, forgetting that some things simply don’t work out, and it neglects the emotional upheaval that occurs through the breakdown of a tested relationship.
The fragrant world of celebrity relationships tells life through photos. We see aesthetic snippets of romance, but hardships of balancing schedules, simmering tensions and falling out of love. Celebrity relationships paint a pretty picture. It is only when a celebrity relationship publicly breaks down that we see glimpses of the emotional reality. And, even then, it might be carefully constructed in order to keep up appearances.
Edited by Uchenna Omo-Bamawo, Entertainment Editor
Header design by Molly Goldby, Assistant Head of Design