Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
Trending that caught Doug's eye: Famous failures
Have you heard the terrible news?
No? OK, grab a box of tissues and make yourselves comfortable because this one's a real tear-jerker.
There's no easy way to say it, so we'll just blurt it out -- just days after sending out wedding invitations, former world No. 1 golfer Rory McIlroy last week broke off his engagement to Danish tennis star Caroline Wozniacki.
You see, we told you it was a heartbreaker.
In a statement issued through his Dublin-based communications consultant, the tousle-haired, 25-year-old Northern Irishman said he was making the tragic news public after speaking to his 23-year-old now-ex-fiancée.
Here's what he had to say: "The problem is mine. The wedding invitations issued at the weekend made me realize that I wasn't ready for all that marriage entails. I wish Caroline all the happiness she deserves and thank her for the great times we've had. I will not be saying anything more about our relationship in any setting."
On the upside, we have to give the young golf star credit for not breaking up via Twitter or Facebook.
On the other hand, McIlroy pulled the plug on Wozniacki just weeks after he persuaded the tennis ace to dye her flowing locks pink to match the famous azaleas at Augusta National Golf Club when she joined him at the Masters.
Not that they will care at the moment, but this formerly loving couple are in good company when it comes to calling off impending marriages, as we see from the following five famous failures:
5. JASON MRAZ AND TRISTAN PRETTYMAN
THE COLLAPSE: What you need to know about Jason Mraz is that he is a chart-topping, super-sensitive, hat-wearing American singer-songwriter who spent some time mentoring contestants on this season of American Idol. Back on Christmas Eve 2010, Mraz asked fellow musician Prettyman to marry him, then in June 2010 the cute couple called it quits. Are they crazy-famous? No? So why are they on this list? Because we just can't get over the statement Mraz issued to explain the split, which goes a little something like this: "My greatest mistake right now is, I've been clinging to my art. In that, I have victory for my art and a great loss for my heart. At the moment, my beautiful fiancée is no longer my beautiful fiancée. Two halves don't make a whole. Two wholes make a whole. In my relationship, I was giving myself away to make the relationship better, but in actuality, wasn't doing better by doing that. I became less of a man." Everybody got that? No? No wonder he had a hard time saying "I do."
4. BRAD PITT AND GWYNETH PALTROW
THE COLLAPSE: Before Brad was with Angelina, before he was with Jennifer Aniston, and before Gwyneth decided to "consciously uncouple" from rock-star hubby Chris Martin, this pair was it, the perfect Hollywood couple. Consider the evidence: They were blond, beautiful and, according to the tabloids, hopelessly in love. As several celebrity websites pointed out at the time, they even appeared to have identical haircuts, which was more than a little creepy. The fairy tale began when they met on the set of the movie Seven in 1995, Brad popped the question in December 1996 and the pair were set to marry in East Hampton, N.Y., in the summer of 1997. Then Paltrow stunned women everywhere -- including the wife of the columnist writing these words -- when she called off her impending nuptials with the actor People magazine had crowned "the Sexiest Man Alive" because she wasn't ready for marriage. Here's what the famously, um, quirky Oscar-winner had to say to ABC's Diane Sawyer after the split: "I'm so lucky that I spent time with Brad, somebody who was such a good person! Especially when I was, like, such a mess." A mess, Gwyneth? Who knew?
3. PARIS HILTON AND PARIS LATSIS
THE COLLAPSE: We still get misty-eyed thinking about this pair of Parises, who rank No. 25 on the pop culture website Complex.com's list of "The 50 Lamest Celebrity Couples of All Time." Noting the duo didn't even merit a cool nickname, the site chirped: "We're pretty convinced that Paris Hilton's ultimate match would be herself, so someone who at least shares her name seems to be a close second." Tragically, it was not to be, as Paris (the more famous one) decided to tie the can to Paris (the Greek shipping heir and socialite) after being engaged for five months in 2005. The thing is, Latsis had given Paris a 24-carat, $4.7-million canary diamond ring that, according to cheesy reports at the time, "was so big that apparently the poor little rich girl complained it was too heavy for her to wear, prompting Latsis to respond by buying her a Cartier band to wear instead." What happened to the ring? Paris (yes, the one with no talent) auctioned it off for half the original price and donated the proceeds to victims of hurricane Katrina. So something good came out of someone getting blown off.
THE COLLAPSE: When Jennifer Lopez (Jenny from the Block) and Ben Affleck (Bennie from Boston) hooked up on the set of their box-office bomb Gigli in 2002, they were transformed into the Super Monster Celebrity Creature known as "Bennifer." And we persons in the media couldn't get enough of them, including when they were in Winnipeg in the summer of 2003 so J.Lo could film Shall We Dance. Here's what an overexcited city fan said at the time: "She was wearing Daisy Dukes, they were short shorts. They were sitting on a Harley. He patted her bum and kissed her. I couldn't believe it was them." Of course, a relationship this powerful was doomed to implode, which it did just days before they were slated to say "I do" in September 2003, blaming the stress from the media spotlight. Lopez reportedly returned her 6.1-carat, $1.2-million Harry Winston diamond ring to Affleck. What with being in the media, we still feel sick about this one.
1. LOUIS J. BILLITTIER JR. AND CHRISTA M. CLARK
The collapse: Never heard of this ill-starred couple? Of course you haven't. In fact, no one had until they hit the news earlier this year, offering proof you don't have to be famous to be a loser in love. Billittier is also proof of an old saying we have just made up: If you want to get your $53,000 engagement ring back, don't say anything monumentally stupid. What happened was, in 2012, the obviously classy Billittier broke up with his then-fiancée, Clark, via text message. After ending the engagement, Billittier decided to rub text-salt in the wound, firing off this follow-up text: "Plus you get a $50,000 parting ring. Enough for a down payment on a house." This was a poor choice of words because, according to the Buffalo News, when the bitter Billittier tired to get the ring back earlier this year, a New York judge shot his claim down, saying the snotty text message proved the 2.97-carat sparkler was a gift outside the promise of marriage.
As we're sure the newly single Rory McIlroy would tell him: That's a swing and a miss, Louis! A swing and a miss!
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 24, 2014 D2
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