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A summer of celeb separation

PEACHES Geldof has a lot to answer for. The precocious child of Bob Geldof left us all open-mouthed in shock in 2008 when she blithely conceded that her marriage to Max Drummey wasn't built to last.

"I'm realistic, you can't ignore divorce rates. Every friend of mine has parents who are divorced. I didn't go into it with Max thinking, 'This is going to last forever'," she admitted, less than two months after saying "I do".

She's obviously a woman of foresight, as the marriage hit the rocks after just six months, proving that Peaches's commitment is about as flighty as her ever-changing fashion fads.

One year on, Peaches's cynicism is looking far less shocking in the face of Ireland's plethora of break-ups.

We haven't even reached the end of June and already we've been bombarded with details of several relationship splits. Andrea Roche and PJ Mansfield, Ronan and Yvonne Keating, Mark and Vivienne Dunne, Grainne Seoige and Stephen Cullinane, all couples whose marriage break-ups have helped make this the Summer of Un-Love.

And just when we thought we'd weathered the storm of heartbreak, rugby star Alan Quinlan and his wife Ruth became the latest pair to call time on matrimonial bliss this week.

Catastrophe

Pardon my negativity, but it doesn't bode well for July and August if the current rate of marital catastrophe is any indication. Now might be the ideal time to appeal to the nation's happily married celebs -- keep it together guys, because we mere mortals desperately need idols to show us that it really is possible to have it all.

To the outside world, these five couples appeared to have the world at their feet. In each case, handsome, successful, charismatic men married gorgeous, equally successful women. Four out of the five wives in this list were models, and the one exception -- Grainne Seoige -- possesses the type of beauty that would give most clothes horses a run for their money.

Mind you, being married to a gorgeous woman reputedly didn't stop Ronan Keating's eye from straying, but that's another story.

Our out-of-love couples also enjoyed financial success, ensuring they didn't have to suffer the same worries that put many normal marriages under immense strain.

So what's the common denominator?

Could it be that we've entered a phase in which "til death do us part" has been subtly altered to read "til disagreement do us part"? Maybe Peaches Geldof wasn't so crazy after all, but merely confident enough to vocalise the fact that she exchanged sacred vows with a person to whom she didn't plan to commit.

Three of these five marriages lasted five years or less, suggesting that it has become easier for troubled couples to throw in the towel when strife raises its ugly head.

The Keatings stayed the pace for 12 years -- remarkable when you consider the rate at which celebrity relationships hit the rocks.

Exactly two years ago, a nation swooned when the stunning Ruth Griffin walked down the aisle with Quinlan, a stalwart of the Irish rugby team.

They were the ultimate fairytale, a gorgeous model and a sports star, blessed with looks, charm, money and -- apparently -- the key to a lifetime of happiness.

Little did we know that the marriage would fall apart faster than most normal couples can manage to even plan a wedding.

We were misty-eyed at the thought of the sultry Andrea Roche meeting her prince -- PJ Mansfield. Yet the marriage disintegrated in less than four years, long before the wedding snaps began to fade.

As for the ice queen of TV, the impressive and perennially successful Grainne Seoige, she unfortunately proved that good fortune in a career doesn't extend to married life when she split with husband Stephen after 11 years.

Maybe our celebrities are just unlucky when it comes to love. Then again, maybe they're just mirroring the vast number of relationships going belly-up across the country.

Let's not forget we are Generation Gratification, so the notion of working hard to keep what we have is still a mystery to some of us.



Faster

While the ordinary Joe and Josephine Soap might take years to enter into a relationship and even longer to seal the deal with a diamond ring and a beef or salmon dinner, celebrities move in faster circles.

Katie Price and Kerry Katona change partners so fast you'd need a mathematical graph to understand it. Some might say they simply suffer from the curse of celebrity, because the public eye is too bright a place to conduct a marriage.

They're right, but that doesn't account for several well-publicised Irish break-ups featuring people who jealously guard their private lives.

Whatever the reason, Ireland's most dazzling couples have shrugged off their gloss in recent weeks to prove that even celebrities can suffer heartache.

As for the rest of us, I suggest we forget about pesky Peaches and her cynicism and put our faith in the heart-warming ideal of a fairytale romance.

We need a new couple to prove that there is such a thing as happily-ever-after, which makes it all the more convenient that the nation's favourite sweethearts Brian O'Driscoll and Amy Huberman are heading up the aisle this week.


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