Katy Guest: Guy Ritchie and Madonna are to split but will we ever get the full story

Now, they are to divorce. Cue a frenzy of 'revelations'. The truth, though, is that no one else can really know what goes on behind closed doors.

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It's because of her constant working out; it's because he is always in the pub. It's down to her obsession with Kabbalah; or rather with his blokeish devotion to his mates. He failed to sympathise when she hurt herself badly by falling off her horse; she won't let him eat fried breakfasts. She is uptight and controlling; he is emotionally retarded. It's been on the cards for years; it just happened very recently. These are all the things that we think we know about last week's marriage break-up. And there are many more besides.

It's a good thing that the British public knows everything about why Guy Ritchie and Madonna have split up, because most people don't have the faintest idea about what is going on in their own marriage. It's all so straightforward when it's someone you've never met. Mr and Mrs Ritchie might be waking up this morning wondering where it all went wrong, but Sun readers know that it all went wrong in 2005, when she fell off a horse and broke eight bones, and he told her to pull herself together. It was his "very British way" of dealing with it that bothered her, he will now have read. Or, depending on whom you believe, it was one of the following:



The seven-year itch

It started so well. They fell in love. The sex was dynamite. The movies were not quite so hot. But, as with so many couples, things started to cool after seven years.

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), more marriages end in the five-to-nine-year window than at any other time. If only Madonna and Guy had lived in Munich, where forward-thinking politicians are aware of this phenomenon. Last year, Gabriele Pauli, then running to become head of the Christian Social Union party, announced plans to annul all civil marriages after a statutory seven years – when the fun runs out. "After that initial period, each partner would have to say 'yes' again in order to prolong the marriage," she said. "[This would save] the financial and emotional cost of many divorces."



The over-successful wife

As everyone knows, Ritchie clearly resented the fact that Madonna earns so much more than him. After all, what man worth a mere £30m would not feel hopelessly emasculated by a £300m fortune?

According to government figures, in 21 per cent of all couples the woman now earns more than her husband or partner. But this doesn't necessarily mean that Madge came home to a hot bath and tea on the table when she finished a hard night's touring with her latest squillion-selling album. Scientists at the Center for Research on Families, at the University of Washington, say that the more money a wife makes, the more housework she does in proportion to her husband. No wonder Madonna's fuming if she did all that and still came home to a bowl full of dirty washing up.



The husband's always at the pub

Men's biological make-up means they are genetically predisposed to like sweaty boozers, warm beer and spending time with drunken people of the same sex, particularly if they do not have a shed to hang out in. Even more so if dinner at home is macrobiotic and the Martin-Paltrows are on their way over for supper. Guy Ritchie, however, liked the pub so much that he bought it: the Punchbowl in Mayfair cost him £2.5m.

An ICM survey of 1,000 people found that Madonna is not alone in despairing of her husband's tendency. One in five people complained that "my partner drinks too much", and one in four admitted that drinking leads to marital rows. Probably about spending too much in/on the pub.



Religious differences got in the way

Far from the divorce being Ritchie's fault for being an emotionally crippled English public school boy who spends all his time in the pub, it is obvious that the split can be blamed on Madonna's obsession with Kabbalah. "Pals" of the couple have revealed how he would watch in despair as she dragged their children off to meetings. Rather than being the glue that held them together, her faith has driven them apart.

This is not so common among British couples, who are more likely to stay together if they have a strong faith. According to the ONS, Hindus and Sikhs are the least likely to be divorced, separated or remarried. Unfortunately, the ONS does not collect data on the marital status of Kabbalists.

Different social backgrounds pushed them apart

Madonna and Guy's break-up may have come as a shock to some people (living in caves for the past seven years), but not to his mother, Amber, Lady Leighton. "I know who Guy is and it didn't take much to see who she is – and it couldn't work," she said. "If you muck around at that end of the market, that's what you get."

In fact, social background has less influence on the success of a marriage than educational background. In this instance, Guy is the downmarket one. According to three recent Norwegian studies, divorce risk declines with higher levels of educational attainment. Madonna was a straight-A student and received a dance scholarship to the University of Michigan. Ritchie was expelled from the prestigious Stanbridge Earls School.



The pressures of adopting

In fact, it makes no odds how well Ritchie did in school, because those in the know will tell you the stress of adopting David Banda led to the divorce. Last week, a spokesman for the child protection organisation Eye of the Child said: "We will be watching to make sure that the interests of David have been observed in the divorce." However, smart folk know Madonna really alienated Guy by trying to adopt yet another child. Clever. According to www.adopting.org, adoptive parents are less likely to divorce than other couples, since: "If a marriage is on shaky ground, the agency will recommend against adoption." And, in a Relate poll of 3,000 of their clients, eight out of 10 couples were staying together for the sake of the children.



Hitting a big birthday ...

You're young, you're in love, you get married, gain a stepchild adopt an orphan or two, and everything seems perfect. And then, one day, you wake up to find you're 40 and living with a person you abhor. Oh, how many times does it happen? Actually, not as often as you might think, apparently. According to the ONS, more divorces are granted to people between the ages of 25 and 29 than to any other age group. This being Madonna's second marriage, however, she was in much more danger of splitting up. Obviously, then, it really was all her fault.



The age gap was too huge

Let's face it, how many hunky, exciting 40-year-old men would want to stay in a relationship with a boring, stay-at-home 50-year-old woman? Not many. Except, obviously, men such as Ashton Kutcher (30), who must see something or other in Demi Moore (45); or Tony Parker (26), who manages to put up with Eva Longoria (33).

In fact, medics know older women and younger men are a perfect sexual match: men's testosterone tails off in their 40s, while women's sex hormones peak in their 30s and stay there.



A lot of this will no doubt be a great help to Madonna and Guy as they draft in the lawyers and divide the spoils. But it leaves us none the wiser. Who said what to whom? How many hours exactly does she spend in the gym? Why has his mother waded in? And, most importantly, who is to blame?

Naturally, the public needs to know. By hook or by crook, Britain will make its mind up. And if it turns out that they met, fell in love, married, then fell out, will that be good enough? No. The public doesn't settle for such explanations. We're not emotionally retarded, you know.

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