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Quendrith Johnson


Quendrith Johnson is filmfestivals.com Los Angeles Correspondent covering everything happening in film in Hollywood... Well, the most interesting things, anyway.
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Top 10 Hollywood Next Wives: No More “Wronged Women”

 

BradJenSAG2020

by Quendrith Johnson, Los Angeles Correspondent

At the SAG Awards in Los Angeles on Jan. 19, Brad Pitt made veiled mention of his ex-wife Angelina Jolie in a moving acceptance speech for Male Actor in a Supporting Role in Quentin Tarantino’s ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD. More telling, though, was a brief clinched handhold backstage with once wife, Jennifer Aniston, who  picked up a statuette at the gala.Aniston has moved on since their divorce, being recognized last night for her work in THE MORNING SHOW. Their brief acknowledgement and harmonious accord brings us to a reframe of that old label “wronged woman” for this new “woke” decade 2020.

While Gwyneth Paltrow may be credited for the “conscious uncoupling” movement among high-profile ex-spouses, most Hollywood husband infidelities have left a blemish on the “wronged wife.” The 10 women listed below have helped change that perception, and they’ve managed to keep their careers and lives on track. While it is shocking to see the number of A-List and celebrity ex-wives who’ve withstood the the media gauntlet post-scandal, more shocking is that they stood their ground under enormous heartache and set a shining example of ‘moving on.’

Hopefully this Top 10 will serve as inspiration and a reframe of any Ex-wife to Next wife or partner.  If they can do it, so can the rest of us out there, having survived their own faithless husbands. As Rose Kennedy (who stayed married) endured, so did they on their own solo terms. The Kennedy matriarch knew scandals on many fronts, but men and their extramarital antics, from husband to son, were her specialty. “It has been said, 'time heals all wounds,’” she famously noted. “I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.”

 

Top 10 Next Wives in Hollywood

 

1. Jennifer Aniston - Brad PittJenAnistonSAGAward2020

Most fans of the TV show “Friends” know the Aniston-Pitt timeline by heart, how Brad Pitt met up with Angelina Jolie on the set of MR & MRS SMITH. But the 2005 crime thriller was just the beginning of the end for an enduring partnership between Hollywood Darling Jennifer Aniston and Hollywood Hunk Brad Pitt. Aniston was crushed in a media storm that depicted a broken marriage busted up by “lack of children” and a designing new mom in Jolie; however, Aniston managed to go forward with grace and make an outstanding career pivot, most notably with the starrer CAKE and now with THE MORNING SHOW. No surprise that the unbreakable Jennifer Aniston sailed through her next marriage-exit strategy with Justin Theroux, and is a working Happy Singlet.

 

2. Jennifer Garner - Ben Affleck

JennGarnerNanny rumors dogged Hollywood action stars Jennifer Garner, best known from the TV show “Alias,” and SUPERMAN Ben Affleck (HOLLYWOODLAND) for months before the full monty broke in worldwide headlines. Garner went on the make PEPPERMINT, an action thriller in which her character literally physically takes revenge, but privately she became the picture of poise as “Bad Boy Ben” BATMAN bounced around like a pinball from failed relationship to non-starter in his personal life. Known for putting her kids first, Jennifer Garner is a close second to the other Jennifer, Aniston, who also weathered her cheating scandal with aplomb. She is a producer and farmer’s market devotee, as well as accomplished entrepreneur.

 

 

3. Sandra Bullock - Jesse JamesSBullockGG

Hollywood Sweetheart Sandra Bullock, who took the crown from embattled predecessor Meg Ryan, was known for many years as a Julia Roberts-lookalike. That all changed with THE BLIND SIDE, for which she won an Oscar, and with a new husband in her life, Biker Bad Boy Jesse James of the reality TV show based on building tricked-out motorcycles. When the infidelity rumors turned out to be fact-based, Bullock closed up shop on her marriage quicker than a custom-built chopper rush order. She turned a five-alarm media dumpster fire, into a smoldering reminder that she is indeed an A-List Movie Star. Her legend continues.

 

4. Khloe Kardashian - Lamar Odom

KhloeKardashian2020An integral part of a matriarchal Reality TV Dynasty, Khloe Kardashian had a lesser profile to more famous sibling Kim Kardashian until 2013. This is the year her NBA Basketball husband Lamar Odom was discovered to be a serial cheater, moreover, he was soon found in a drug funk in a brothel that resulted in an induced coma and allegations of brain damage. Khloe stayed by his side throughout the ordeal, but soon made her way back into the arms of another Basketball Hero, Tristan Thompson. History repeated itself, however, at least as far as infidelity. But Khloe has kept her head up, and still stars on her family’s KUWTK show.

 

 

 

5. Maria Shriver - Arnold SchwarzeneggerMariaShriver2020

In terms of infidelity, the unkindest cut may have been delivered to Maria Shriver. Daughter of Sargent Shriver and Eunice Kennedy of the JFK Dynasty, she’d married the PUMPING IRON Olympus turned Hollywood Action Star Arnold Schwarzenegger. Little did she know that he had found comfort in the family nanny, in fact netting a contemporaneous double pregnancy for wife and this woman on their household payroll. In true Kennedy fashion, Maria took her time facing the music, but stood up to the formidable challenge with the Rose Kennedy vigor in line with her grandmother’s famous quote above. Shriver thrives today, working as a published author, NBC journalist and with her own Maria Shriver Sunday Paper.

 

6. Elin Nordegren - Tiger Woods

ElinNordegrenGolf Legend Tiger Woods definitely conquered Hollywood and had been beyond reproach for decades as an ace on the greens, but it wasn’t until wife Elin Nordegren smashed that illusion with a golf club to his SUV windshield that reality intervened. Around Thanksgiving, a little over a decade ago, Golf Legend became tarnished Serial Cheater revealed. The extent of the peccadilloes wasn’t immediately leaked to the press, until a rogue’s gallery of extramarital escorts and paid companions came forward in an endless parade of shame for Nordegren. Undaunted after the initial Fore on the Windshield, Nordegren went on to graduate from university and design the course of her own life and romantic future, with a newborn in 2019.

 

 

7. Eve Mavrakis - Ewan McGregoreveMavrakis

“Fargo,” the TV show from showrunner Noah Hawley based on the Coen Bros darkly humorous hit movie of the same name, debuted with Ewan McGregor in 2014. It was a coup to get a Movie Star in the role, and McGregor delivered to EMMY expectations for three seasons; however, seasons changed in his personal life. Talented French-born wife Eve Mavrakis was not only known for being part of films like EMPIRE OF THE SUN, DANGEROUS LIAISONS, and a Guy Ritchie smash hit, but she was also mother to their four daughters when the scandal broke like a tsunami overseas from his escapades in America. Mavrakis proves that no matter how far gone the situation may be, raising a family with dignity is the best way forward.

 

8. Sadie Frost - Jude Law

SadieFrostGorgeous Sadie Frost, a star in her own right as early as INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE, had a likely husband in the very talented star Jude Law. Granted she was 25 and married with child, he was 19, when they met, so her place on the list is complicated. Yet Frost had a canny sense in not engaging a nanny, because when the AI star moved on to later gorgeous fiancee Sienna Miller, this was a nanny-cheating scandal she could have predicted, no doubt. Frost picked herself up and put herself back together after the Law marriage. Today, in her new Law-less life, Sadie Frost continues to act and is a producer of substantive projects.

 

 

 

 

9. Wendy Williams - Kevin Hunter Sr.

WendyWilliamsDaytime talk show hosts are known for seeing and reporting their share of heartache and unusual predicaments in other people’s lives, but for Wendy Williams the reality of her own cheating husband was a stunner. The self-proclaimed “Queen of All Media,” swallowed a bitter pill when spouse of 22 years Kevin Hunter, who was also her employee, turned out to have impregnated another woman. That’s the 20-second recap, the harsh facts are a lot less pleasant. As early as 2003, when her memoir was published, she’d already weathered infidelity. But by 2018, the house that “The Wendy Williams Show” built was blown down. Hunter has been cut loose from her show, but not her life, as Williams continues to co-parent and plan her next Hollywood reinvention.

 

10. Eva Longoria - Tony Parker

EvaLongoriaUnhappy endings might be said to have been the beginning of a great life for Hollywood’s TV Star Eva Longoria. Known for her sunny disposition and endless gutsy charm, Longoria threw her lot in with NBA Star Tony Parker wholeheartedly. Longoria herself became akin to the show she was known for, TV’s “Desperate Housewives.” When it became known that even as soon as the flowers dried from her French dream wedding to Parker in 2007, he’d already compromised their union. The final straw was in 2010, when the powerhouse actress penned divorce papers. Remarkably, Eva Longoria has gone from two unsuccessful marriages (one before Parker) on to Happily Married with child to Mexican-born José Bastón, President of Television and Contents and Member of the Executive Committee of Grupo Televisa. Eva Longoria has also become an advocate for STEM education.

 

 

 

Congrats to these courageous 10 women in Hollywood, and many others like them in the wider world, who have helped reframe the outdated views on coping with divorce triggered by infidelity, no matter how heart-shattering their divorces may have been. There are no “wronged wives” anymore, just wrong marriages, and we can strive to create our versions of a happy ending.

[*Editor’s note: This list does not include spouses with cheating scandals who have stayed married.]

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LA Correspondent for filmfestivals.com


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