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Breaking up isn't so hard, after all

The news that Hollywood star Scarlett Johansson fled to Jamaica with her girlfriends to get over her failed two-year marriage to Ryan Reynolds is yet another confirmation that 2010 was an annus horribilis for celebrity love.

While they may have started off in a fuzzy pink haze of champagne, roses and expensive, glossy magazine spreads, many of our brightest home-grown and international celeb relationships imploded last year in an ignominious cloud of curt press releases, beaten-up cars and trips to Marrakech.

Allegations are swirling that Ryan, voted Sexiest Man Alive by People magazine, had a fling with Gossip Girl star Blake Lively, whom he met on set of their film Green Lantern. Then again, it can be a tricky business when your gorgeous husband's job is to generate chemistry with his beautiful co-star on-screen, as Jennifer Aniston could have told Scarlett, given that she lost her husband Brad Pitt to Angelina Jolie in similar circumstances a few years ago.

While recessionary money troubles were being blamed for stressing the relationships of the rest of us mere mortals, it was quite shocking to see many of our well-off stars' marriages biting the dust quicker than you can say "pre-nuptial agreement." Liz Hurley and Arun Nayar separated last month following three years of marriage and a hugely lavish wedding ceremony, which took place in both Jodphur in India and a castle in Gloucestershire, England.

While the reason for the split is alleged to be lovely Liz's relationship with Australian cricket ace Shane Warne, the posh-totty actress was less than pleased with the circulating rumours, using her Twitter page to refute the allegations.

"Bored now of silly speculations: no one is divorcing anyone yet, no one is fighting over money and I have no plans to go to Australia. Enough," she tweeted.

Closer to home, some Irish celebrity relationship meltdowns left us stunned in 2010, while others confused us with their on-off status -- Ryan Tubridy and Aoibhinn Ni Shuilleabhain anyone? And then there were those who simply bored us rigid. After the revelation of the previously squeaky-clean Boyzone star Ronan Keating's alleged dalliance with backing dancer Francine Cornell made our collective jaws hit the floor, we were full of admiration at how Yvonne washed the crooner right out of her sleek blonde hair with such decisive dignity.

Then, a few months later, he said "Shhhorrry" and she was photographed holding his hand while having a tattoo applied in Bondi Beach. Ro was spotted proudly pinching her bum at a recent launch, after which we decided that they deserved each other!

Those of us who love a good romance were dismayed at the demise of the relationships between Grainne Seoige and Stephen Cullinane, Andrea Roche and PJ Mansfield, Yvonne Ellard and Jamie Rohan, Vivienne Connolly and Mark Dunne and Ruth Griffin and Alan Quinlan.

However, we can't help suspecting that the end of the relationship between David Agnew and his partner Ruth Hickey may not have completely devastated his former wife Adele King, aka Twink. As everyone knows, she called him a "fat, balding, middle-aged d******d" in that famously leaked voicemail, after which she implored her former husband to "zip up his mickey," a phrase that caught the imagination of the whole country. Sadly, the absence of Agnew by her side during a court case taken by Miss Hickey against some newspapers, confirmed that the relationship was now over -- news that we're assuming may not have completely devastated the colourful matriarch of Idrone House!

Discussing the dramatic implosion of the relationship between the gorgeous Glenda Gilson and multi millionaire property tycoon Johnny Ronan, 23 years her senior, added to the gaiety of the nation for weeks in March. There was a street brawl, the infamous "Rumble in Ranelagh" as it was subsequently dubbed, after which Johnny flew off to Marrakech in a private plane accompanied by Rosanna Davison and a friend. The bill for the overnight trip was eye-watering, with the hotel rooms costing €2,140 and food and drink coming in at €1,200.60; while it was estimated that the plane trip could have cost as much as €56,000. In the ensuing furore, it was announced that Johnny would stand back from his role in Treasury Holdings, Rosanna became a newspaper agony aunt, and Glenda is now happily loved-up with Rob McNaughton, where wedding bells are predicted.

Meanwhile, back in La La Land, as she raunchily writhed her way through her routine on The X Factor last month, most of us noted that the previously svelte Burlesque star Christina Aguilera looked like she had turned to the biscuit tin to help her get over the demise of her marriage to music executive Jordan Bratman, with whom she has a two-year-old son Max. Happily since then, Xtina has been dating Matt Rutler, a set assistant whom she met while filming Burlesque, proving that film sets are definitely the place to hang out if you're looking for love -- and to avoid if you'd like to hang on to your marriage!

Others taking up residence in Celebrity Splitsville in 2010 included Sandra Bullock and Jesse James, Courtney Cox and David Arquette, Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, Jim Carrey and Jenny McCarthy, Sean Penn and Robin Wright, Eva Longoria and Tony Parker, Mel Gibson and Oksana Grigorieva, Charlie Sheen and Brooke Mueller, Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes, and Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry.

The most entertaining scorned wife of all, after Twink, was definitely Elin Nordegren, who used the richest sportsman in the world's precious golf clubs to inflict damage on his SUV or his person, depending on which report you choose to believe. In August, after Tiger's multiple infidelities were revealed by more than a dozen women, Elin divorced the golfer who topped Forbes magazine's 2010 list of the top 50 earning athletes in the world, with an income of $105m for the previous year.

They say the first 40 years of marriage are the hardest, and so it proved to be in the case of Al and Tipper Gore, who announced their separation last June. This despite the fact that at the time of the Bill Clinton/Monica Lewinsky scandal, former US vice-president Al said that Tipper was "someone I've loved with my whole heart since the night of my high school senior prom". Interestingly, the beleaguered Clintons are still together, while the Gores seemingly felt that they couldn't stand to be together after enduring it for a mere four decades!

Then again, there was light on the horizon for our cynical old hearts as some people whom we had previously written off surprised us. While the relationship between Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt is regularly reported to be at breaking point, the actress revealed in an interview with RSVP magazine this month that they make a point to spend romantic evenings by themselves.

"We're very aware of not letting ourselves forget how much we love each other, even though so much of our time is spent on being parents and taking time for our kids," she simpered.

Even more surprising was that Robbie Williams married his actress girlfriend Ayda Field in August, and a million Take That groupies' hearts were broken. The biggest shock of all was that serial womaniser and my personal thrill Russell Brand finally settled down and married the I-kissed-a-girl-and-I-liked it singer Katy Perry, and while we'll be amazed if these two dramatic and attention-seeking characters survive intact to the end of this new year, for the moment it gives our cynical old hearts some faith in love and romance again.

And this despite the fact that the rest of our celebrities spent the whole of 2010 doing their very best to wreck it!

Sunday Independent