| 15.5°C Dublin

truth about

The one thing the women at the centre of the recent spate of marriage splits have in common is beauty. Former model Vivienne Connolly still gets paid to pose for cameras, while TV presenter Grainne Seoige's formidable media career hasn't been hindered by her brown-eyed beauty.

Yvonne Keating drew on her catwalk experience in recent weeks, plus her blonde good looks, when photographers showed up at her house following the news of her split from Boyzone frontman Ronan.

Former Miss Ireland Andrea Roche was linked with a new man shortly after her marriage break-up, and not surprisingly, as the 12 years which have passed since she wore the beauty crown have not diminished her looks.

We expect beautiful people to be happier, to be more loved-up. Recent romantic break-ups involving stunning women -- and including pretty pixie Kylie Minogue, who is mooted to be on the verge of splitting from her toyboy model -- have highlighted how wrong we are to assume that beauty alone is a precursor of romance, devotion and marital happiness.

How superficial is our assumption that women blessed with good looks will be equally favoured by the good fortune of being loved? We imagine they will be cherished and spoilt by a man smitten by their presence, and willing to make gigantic compromises to be in their reflected gorgeousness. (While not assuming any of the beautiful women mentioned left their marriages as a result of anything other than their own volition.)

There is a reason we think these things. Beautiful women, by the virtue of their allure and charm, have more of a choice when picking a partner. They have more admirers, more suitors, more Valentine's cards and more offers of a night out on the tiles and fancy dinners.

They have more chances of getting to know a number of men and find one who pushes the right buttons for them. One who puts a smile on their face, and can give them a life they desire, who will go the extra mile for them, and who softens at a flicker of their eyelashes. Unlike their plainer sisters who are more limited when it comes to selecting a life partner.

We assume beautiful women have healthy standards, based on a life of getting lots of admiring glances, radiating sexual power and having every man look as they walk into a room. Is it accidental that our recently separated beauties are in their 30s, in their prime, and certain to still attract lots of male attention?

Hanging in longer in a marriage which isn't working will see attractiveness fade with each passing year. Beautiful women understand this more than most.

We assume they have standards, or perhaps 'expectations' is a better word for describing what we feel they have. Researchers investigating whether there is a beauty premium to be had in the workplace, discovered that those deemed the most attractive make 12pc more money than people regarded as less good looking.

It's arguable that beautiful people get at least 12pc more positive feedback from life than those who are less attractive. Doted on as children, the object of teenage crushes, admired as young women, pursued by men, it is only to be expected that they have ideas about themselves.

How could they not have feelings about what the world owes them and what they believe they are entitled to? After all, living in a world which puts so much emphasis on appearance and beauty, the rest of us think they are due more, too.

We assume they have expectations about life and love which go above and beyond the average person's.

We are not surprised when they marry well, have a financially advantageous life and dress in the expensive clothes of the beautiful and wealthy elite. Having seen them get so much from a young age, it's what we expect for them, too.

And so we are taken aback when life falls out of love with beautiful people. We couldn't believe it when Jennifer Aniston experienced rejection. Surely not the gorgeous Jennifer? Or when Sandra Bullock was abandoned as she enjoyed her Oscar-win. Is that motorbike and tattoo-loving man sick from breathing in too much motorcycle fumes?

We feel cheated that Kate Winslet's marriage ended amicably. Could she not have held it together so we could hold on to the illusion that beautiful people have it better? And maybe, when the rest of us are reincarnated as lookers, we, too, will be able to reap the easy rewards.

Beautiful women are not brainless women. You would have to have a pretty low IQ to think so. Random examples of intelligent stunners include actress Natalie Portman who is a Harvard psychology graduate and speaks Hebrew, French and Japanese fluently.

Actress Kate Beckinsale went to Oxford University and is fluent in French, German and Russian. Cindy Crawford got a university scholarship to study chemical engineering.

They are, however, judged first and foremost on their looks. Because women are judged first on how they look, unlike men who are judged first on what they say. We see their exceptional beauty -- and many earn a good living from their looks in fairness -- and we make all these assumptions about how they, too, are exceptional and different and blessed. We imagine how they will have easy and advantageous and blissful existences -- lives as gorgeous as they look.

Yet as recent marriage breakdowns have shown us, beauty alone does not guarantee a charmed love life.