There must be something in the celebrity juice.

In the space of a couple of weeks we’ve seen the uncoupling of several long-standing celebrity marriages and partnerships: Angelina and Brad after 12 years and six children together; Naomi and Liev after 11, with two kids; and Zoe and Norm after 18 and two children.

It’s been the talk of the office. It’s as though the universe has sent a strong message out to every parent.

To the outside world these celebrity universes had everything – career success, wealth, fame, glamour, gorgeous children – all the trappings. But now these rich tapestries have unravelled.

Read more Oh, to pack it all in and head off round the world

Zoe Ball said in the joint statement announcing her separation from DJ Norman Cook, alias Fatboy Slim: “After many exciting adventures together over the last 18 years, we have come to the end of our rainbow.”


Zoe is reportedly “bored”; Angelina “wants to take her life in a new direction”; and Aussie actress Naomi Watts, who shocked fans by announcing her separation from actor Live Schreiber earlier this week, is looking to “explore a new phase in her life” – it’s rumoured that she wants to travel the world with her kids, making movies but he is quite happy staying put in New York with them.

When you’re a woman with a career and then have children life changes. No matter how hard one tries to keep the two in tandem, something always has to give. Choices have to be made. Partners have to decide whose career takes priority, with the other’s being put on the back burner.

These decisions are often tinged with regret, guilt and resentment. Some resent having to be the breadwinner; others feel trapped, their wings clipped; while others are riddled with guilt that they don’t spend enough time with their children.

The sad truth is that if these rarefied beings, these leading ladies, these working mums who seemingly have it all, cannot keep the dream alive, struggle juggling careers with family, keeping the passion alive, then what hope have the rest of us mere mortals?