By ELIZABETH GELBAUGH
After more than a decade together, celebrity power couple Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie separated on Sept. 15. According to CNN, Jolie filed for divorce, citing irreconcilable differences.
Though the pair were only married for two and a half years, they share six children, three biological and three adopted.
Brangelina fans around the world were shocked and craved more insider information. Millennials feed off of the latest celebrity gossip and entertainment news, but where should entertainment news media draw the line when it comes to delving into the relationships and breakups of celebrity families?
Whenever children are involved, divorces always seem to be messier. But how will constant publicity and prying eyes play a factor in the couple’s ability to divorce peacefully?
Many celebrities go to great lengths to keep their children out of the spotlight and give them a “normal” childhood. However, the Jolie-Pitt children will have even more difficulty coping with their parents’ divorce than ordinary kids with headlines plastered on every front page and media website, from tabloids in supermarket checkout lines to media alerts and twitter feeds.
“I am very saddened by this, but what matters most now is the well-being of our kids,” Pitt said Tuesday in a statement to CNN. “I kindly ask the press to give them the space they deserve during this challenging time.”
Unfortunately, I doubt reporters and paparazzi will take the pleas of this concerned father to heart.
So why do tabloids and even reputable news organizations, such as CNN and the New York Times, continue to report on celebrity divorces, regardless of the strain placed on the families, especially children, involved?
The answer is simple: money. News media organizations need revenue to survive and more eyeballs mean more ad revenue.
The news media are driven by the public’s voyeuristic interest, but coverage of private lives, even of public figures, seems incredibly invasive. In the case of Brangelina, not only are the media dragging the private details of a celebrity relationship out into the open, but they are taking innocent, and potentially unwilling, children along for the ride.
With this breed of celebrity news taking over, it’s easy to forget that the media’s original role is to act as a watchdog on government and serve the needs, not merely the wants, of the people.