Divorce All-Stars: Katy Perry & Russell Brand

I recently shared a post holding up Bruce Willis and Demi Moore as paradigms of mature divorce. Now I want to focus on a slightly—or very—different recently divorced couple, one you might not expect: Katy Perry and Russell Brand.

If you’re one of the uninitiated, Katy Perry is a pop singer-slash-pinup girl known for such classics as “I Kissed a Girl” and “Teenage Dream,” and Brand is a British comedian-slash-revolutionary who likes to piss off various members of the upper classes and book critics by publishing bad—but entertaining—books about Che Guevara.

In all, these two were married, I think, a total of about fourteen months. Not a great start, but hey, we all make mistakes. Anyway, once you get past the uber-quick marriage, there’s a lot to be said for how Brand and Perry handled the divorce once it was in progress. Much like the stars of divorce badassery Bruce and Demi, Perry and Brand kept things pretty much under wraps in terms of how they presented things to the public.

I mean, Brand made some jokes—that’s his job, after all—but they were pretty mild, and he was ultimately as graceful as Russell Brand has ever been about anything. He wasn’t mean-spirited, just honest: “Marriage is an arse-ache,” was about the height of detail he gave when the media was rushing for the reasons for divorce. Well, sometimes, yes it is. Moving on.

Perry was totally silent on the matter, keeping mum even after a divorce-themed prank was pulled on her by a UK DJ on the air in the middle of her divorce—now that’s professionalism. The point is, the two haven’t said anything vindictive about each other, even when hounded, undoubtedly by the press, to do so. As a result, while people might snicker at the length of the marriage, and maybe the fact that Brand originally suggested a break by text message, overall they did pretty well. Regardless of behind-the-scenes feelings, Brand opted not to take the $20 million of Perry’s money that he was legally entitled to, and Perry even left Brand a little smiley face on their divorce papers.

When it comes to talking about your marriage, there’s a fine line between what’s professional and what isn’t, and Brand and Perry managed like pros. Brand got a laugh or two and moved on; Perry just moved on. And while I don’t condone poking public fun at your marriage or divorce—seems like a recipe for making either one more difficult—I always condone poking fun at yourself. Don’t forget that laughter is the best medicine.


James J. Sexton