When news flashed up on TV screens at London's Victoria station on Monday night: "Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes split", like half of Britain I took it personally. Why didn't they tell us? Why did I have to find out from other people?
It's a humbling moment when you discover you're not as close to a golden couple as you imagined. Presumably there are confidantes who knew the divorce, after seven years, would be announced by lawyers Schillings at 7pm sharp. That Kate would escape with the kids to Mexico; that Sam would just have finished directing his Bridge Project theatre as the media fallout began. The division of those two shining Oscars will have been discussed at A-list soirees in New York. Sympathetic parents and sibings will have flown in. It's just we weren't invited. We're fine for the school run and the pub lunches, but the door slams firmly in our eager face when something major happens.
For all Winslet-Mendes impressed with their low-key English charm (we loved them because they were just this side of smug), they certainly know how to pull off a blinder. In a global media age, NO ONE HAS A CLUE WHY THEY SPLIT.
You wouldn't know it by reading the papers. Weary showbiz hacks are queuing up to explain how they spotted cracks in the perfect marriage a year ago. They just knew Kate was in trouble when her dad accompanied her to the 2010 Oscars. Her dress – a severe Yves Saint Laurent silver number – was full of ominous clues. Oh, yes, then why didn't they mention it at the time?
They'll punish Kate and Sam for their reticence of course. Scurrilous rumours about new lovers will circulate. Who kicked out whom? Already the Daily Mail is solemnly asking: "Why Can't Kate Make Her Marriages Work?" The underlying message is that a 34 year-old-woman with two children by different fathers is a national disgrace.
Of course the press are going to take revenge on a sexy blonde woman who doesn't apologise for her weight. And who dared to say, a year ago, "I am so lucky to have a wonderful husband and two beautiful children who let me do what I love and who love me just the way that I am", from the Oscar podium. We've all been caught on the hop. But I hope we can avoid falling back on lazy journalism. Even the posh papers are suddenly pouring over transcripts of interviews given around Revolutionary Road, the film Mendes directed, with his wife in the lead role.
Of course the sub-plot of the film about a failed seven-year marriage (unfaithful husband, trapped wife, love destroyed by 1950s suburbia) is almost too good to be true. We're all fascinated by the idea of a husband shooting sex scenes between his real-life wife and an A-list star (Leonardo Di Caprio).
Many suggest the film struck too close to home. But grow up, people. Revolutionary Road is a good, brave film. It should have won more awards than The Reader, in my humble opinion. But it is just a film. Working together can be tough and reveal flaws that – even the happiest couple – may prefer to remain dormant.
But it's ridiculous to blame art for real life. Unless, of course, you have absolutely no other lead to go on.Reuse content