When 19-year old Miley Cyrus announced her engagement to 22-year old Liam Hemsworth , the media was abuzz with messages of doom for the couple. Cyrus is still a teenager, making their union a young one. However, it is not illegal. In fact, marriages between young girls and older grooms have occurred often in the history of the Hollywood community. Don Johnson married Melanie Griffith when he was 26 and she was only 18. Rumor has it that the two started dating when she was 14. Bo Derek was also 18 when she married John Derek, who was 50 at the time. These examples are not the only reason why the Cyrus-Hemsworth union is no cause for alarm. There are five other things to consider that require taking a closer look at Hollywood culture.
Hollywood Runs on Different Rules
The world of actors, directors and movies is a glamorous, sheltered world where the superficial seems to reign. The people who inhabit this world have big egos and even bigger wallets. These two factors can create a reality that is not like the one in with the rest of the world lives. In such an insulated, exclusive world, things occur that are justified to others in Hollywood but don’t mesh with the real world. For example, the extreme weight pressures that keep Hollywood stars dangerously thin are a far cry from the average size 14 women. Also in this world, a 19-year old accomplished star can be engaged to her leading man. The rules of the rest of society (that say such a union should not be allowed) don’t apply.
The Majority of Hollywood Teen Marriages Last More than Five Years
A survey of some teen brides actually reveals a bit of good news for Cyrus and Hemsworth. It seems that most teen Hollywood brides stayed married at least five years before divorcing. There were a few exceptions. Drew Barrymore was married to bartender Jeremy Thomas for only a month. At the time, she was 19 and he was 32. However, there are several cases for the other extreme of long-term marriage. Charlie Chaplin married Oona O’Neil when she was 18 and he was 54. The couple stayed married for 34 years, until Chaplin died. Bo Derek also married young (age 18) and stayed married until her husband John Derek passed away 21 years later. Despite these exceptions, teenage Hollywood brides seem to have at least five years before divorce is imminent. This gives Cyrus and Hemsworth a chance at some wedded bliss.
Engagement Does Not Equal Marriage
Hollywood couples have taught fans over and over again that engagements do not always translate into weddings. Several engagements are broken throughout the film community each year. The break-up makes news for a moment, but usually is recorded as a nominal event. All of the uproar over the young couple’s engagement should be saved for the actual wedding. Until then, anything is possible.
Typical Child Star Move
Many of the stars who get married as teens were child stars. These actors tend to have a higher level of maturity than their peers, which makes them believe they are ready for wedded bliss. The actor’s ego is also present in a child star, reinforcing the belief that an early marriage will be different in her case. However, the odds are still that the couple will divorce after five years of marriage. Drug use and excessive partying are also things that young Hollywood stars are notorious for. A hasty marriage seems to be “par for the course,” as the saying goes.
It’s Good PR
The most important thing to consider is the public relations side of the coin. After “Last Song,” Cyrus had a run of bad press that deemed her a drug addict and a reckless teen. What better way to clean up such an image than to announce that the girl is settling down? The problem is that such an approach may only work for an older star. For Cyrus, it has only reinforced the public perception that she is irresponsible. The public relations backfire could result in a sudden, but quiet, dissolution of the engagement before the walk down the aisle can occur.
The “Hannah Montana” star is a favorite for many people. Her fan base is quite large. However, when any of these fans try to rationalize the engagement between this teenager and her leading man, they must consider the ways that Cyrus differs from the typical teen bride. It is only when her status as a Hollywood teen bride is examined that fans and others will see that the engagement between Cyrus and Hemsworth is no cause for alarm. Furthermore, it has no bearing on society at large.