When a couple divorces, it’s rarely as simple as one person packing a suitcase and sleeping on a friend’s couch. Lawyers are hired, assets are divided and child custody is negotiated. A painful process, to be sure, but those enduring it can sometimes escape at work, an oasis of distraction where personal problems can be ignored for eight hours a day.
This is not an option when a divorced couple works together. As stressful as this situation likely is, some divorced couples roll up their sleeves, put on a stiff upper lip and deal with seeing the ex at the office every day. Yes, some couples who have ended their marriages have also decided to hang on to their exes in a professional capacity.
Some of these couples are coworkers in name only, sharing ownership of a business entity and communicating strictly through lawyers and underlings. Others have adjoining desks. And some go on 300-day international stadium tours together to promote a million-selling album. Click ahead to see who some of them are.
By Daniel Bukszpan
Posted 12 December 2011
The actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor fell in love on the set of the 1963 cinematic epic “Cleopatra.” They wed in 1964, but the marriage was contentious, and they divorced in 1974.
Despite everything, true love soon beckoned again, and they remarried in 1975. But after nine months, they divorced for a second and final time.
In 1983, the couple reunited onstage in a Broadway revival of the Noel Coward play appropriately called “Private Lives.” The prospect of seeing them work together again for the first time since 1966 helped make the play a popular attraction. It ultimately had a successful limited run of 63 performances.
Actress and singer Cherilyn Sarkisian began her professional career as the latter half of Sonny & Cher. The pop music duo was best known for the hit single “I Got You Babe,” which reigned atop the Billboard charts for 14 weeks in 1965. They parlayed their success into a variety of endeavors, including “The Sonny and Cher Comedy Hour,” a popular television show that ran on CBS from 1971 to 1974.
The show was canceled when the couple separated. Their divorce was finalized in June 1975, and each started a television variety show. However, the promise of further televised hijinks was too tantalizing, and the newly divorced couple reunited for “The Sonny and Cher Show” in 1976. It was nowhere near as popular as its predecessor, and was canceled in 1977.
Lucille Ball remains an American comedy icon thanks to “I Love Lucy,” the classic sitcom that ran from 1951 to 1957. It has lived on for decades in reruns and is seen in the U.S. by 40 million viewers every year. Ball starred alongside husband Desi Arnaz, who played her fictional husband Ricky Ricardo.
Arnaz and Ball were married for 20 years and owned Desilu Productions together. The company was home to “I Love Lucy,” as well as such popular shows as “Mission Impossible” and “That Girl.” When they divorced in 1960, they stayed with Desilu Productions. Arnaz eventually resigned as president in 1962 and sold his share of the company to Ball, then formed Desi Arnaz Productions, which made its home at Desilu.
From 1997 to their recent breakup in 2011, the White Stripes were purveyors of no-frills, down and dirty garage rock. The band had only two members — drummer Meg White and guitarist, vocalist and songwriter Jack White, but they produced a full sound nonetheless. They were also married in 1997, although in interviews they claimed to be brother and sister.
In 2001, it was revealed that not only were they a married couple, but they had already divorced. The end of the marriage didn’t spell the end of The White Stripes, though. In 2001, they released “White Blood Cells,” their first album to achieve mainstream success, and they followed it up with three more successful albums and nonstop touring. The band officially broke up in 2011, marking 11 years of simultaneous divorce and success.
Singers George Jones and Tammy Wynette were popular solo musicians before they married in 1969. When they wed, they began recording music together, collectively earning the nickname “The President and the First Lady of Country Music.”
Behind the veneer, the marriage was plagued with problems. Jones’ severe alcoholism had cost him his previous marriage to Shirley Corley. She once hid Jones’ car keys to prevent him from driving to the liquor store, only to see him get there on his lawn mower, according to his 1996 autobiography “I Lived To Tell It All.”
Jones’ alcoholism also cost him his marriage to Wynette, who divorced him in 1975. However, nobody could deny that the couple was a perfect fit when it came to making music, and they reunited in the studio in 1976 to record the “Golden Ring” album, which topped the Billboard country music charts upon its release. They recorded two more albums together before Wynette’s death in 1998.
The popular 1970s rock group Fleetwood Mac began in the 1960s as a blues band. When original guitarist Peter Green left, the remaining members decided to pursue a pop sound, and bassist John McVie asked his wife, keyboard player and singer, Christine, to join the band in 1970. Fleetwood Mac gained in popularity over the next few years, but the McVies’ marriage crumbled.
In 1977, the couple divorced. At the same time, the band released its most successful album, “Rumours,” which reached No. 1 on the Billboard pop charts and is still one of the best-selling albums ever. The divorced couple decided to grin and bear it. They stayed with their very successful band, and they appeared on five more albums together.
Kathryn Bigelow is the Academy Award winning director of the 2009 war film “The Hurt Locker,” as well as the Patrick Swayze classic “Point Break.” In 1989, she married James “King of the World” Cameron, director of 1997’s “Titanic” and 2009’s “Avatar,” but they still worked together after their 1991 divorce.
Bigelow directed the 1995 science fiction movie “Strange Days,” which featured the services of her ex-husband as co-writer and co-producer. More recently, they battled for supremacy at the 2010 Oscars when “The Hurt Locker” and “Avatar” competed for Best Picture, and they themselves for Best Director. “The Hurt Locker” and Bigelow won, leaving Cameron with only his film’s $2.8 billion box office gross to console him.
Singers Marc Anthony and Jennifer Lopez married in 2004. The couple had what appeared to be a happy marriage, but in 2011 they announced plans to divorce.
Anthony and Lopez may not be a couple any more, but they’re still business partners. They are partial stakeholders in the Miami Dolphins, have lines of clothing sold at Kohl's department stores and are co-producers of a reality show called "Q' Viva! The Chosen."
The show was created by Simon Fuller of “American Idol” fame. People magazine reported that Anthony and Lopez will use the show to search Latin America for the "world's most extraordinary talent."
Anyone who has been to a karaoke bar, seen the movie “Muriel’s Wedding” or was simply alive during the 1970s is likely to be familiar with the music of the Swedish pop group ABBA. The group is responsible for such hits as “Dancing Queen” and “Mamma Mia” and has sold over 370 million albums worldwide. In fact, ABBA continues to sell approximately 3 million albums every year, despite being absent from the recording studio since 1982.
The group was composed of two married couples, one of whom was singer Agnetha Fältskog and guitarist and singer Björn Ulvaeus. The couple had married in 1971 before ABBA was formed, but the union disintegrated in 1980 and the couple divorced. However, they continued with the group, even when Ulvaeus took a new wife in 1981.
There’s a reason why so many of ABBA’s songs were about romances gone bad — in reality, the group had two unhappy couples. Besides Agnetha Fältskog and Björn Ulvaeus, ABBA featured the musical talents of singer Anni-Frid Lyngstad and multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Benny Andersson, whose marriage was as stormy as that of their fellow band mates.
Andersson and Lyngstad married at the height of the group’s popularity in 1978. Like their fellow band members, they also divorced in 1981. Andersson remarried that year, all while remaining in the group and making globally popular music. However, in both couples’ cases, the situation became too much to bear, and after releasing the 1981 album “The Visitors,” the group broke up.