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Is there such thing as an ‘Oscar Love Curse?’

If you have watched the Academy Awards in recent years, you probably remember the acceptance speeches of Best Actress winners Sandra Bullock, Kate Winslet and Hilary Swank, during which they tearfully thanked their husbands for their love and support. And you probably also remember when, just a few months after winning their Oscar, the actresses’ marriages ended in divorce.

This is not a new occurrence, unfortunately. Best Actress winners have had an oddly high rate of divorce following their Oscar wins, especially in comparison to men who win Best Actor. This has led many to refer to this trend as the “Oscar Love Curse,” and a new study shows that it might actually be a real phenomenon.

The study examined more than 750 Best Actor and Best Actress Academy Award nominees from 1936 to 2010. Researchers found that Best Actress winners have a roughly 63 percent chance of their marriages ending earlier than the marriages of nominees who do not take home the award. In comparison, men who win Best Actor do not have any statistical increase in the risk of divorce following their victory.

Although most of us do not have to worry about our husbands leaving after we win an Academy Award, there are some interesting corollaries between the study results and universal divorce statistics affecting everyday people in Las Vegas and throughout the country. Researchers say that a wife’s success, whether it be winning an Oscar or earning more than her husband, can lead to an upset in traditional gender roles in which the husband is the breadwinner. This can lead to unhappiness, resentment, infidelity and divorce.

Source: Forbes, “Why Do Successful Women Fall Victim to the Oscar Love Curse?” Jeff Landers, Feb. 1, 2012

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