Saturday, December 29, 2007

Blame it on the Name

I don't keep up with current pop culture too well. I couldn't pick Nicole Ritchie, Lindsay Lohan, or Britney Spears out of a line-up, even with such a large likelihood they'll be in one.

But I couldn't avoid the trumpet sounds, announcing another Hollywood marriage biting the dust. This time it's The Penns, Robin (Wright) and Sean.

I don't give a flip, except this piece of news proves yet again my thesis regarding Hollywood marriages. I've been mouthing off about it for years.

When two Hollywood types tie the knot, if the woman changes her name to the man's, the marriage is doomed.

It may take some time: the Penns were married almost 12 years and have two kids.

Or even a longer time: remember when Phylicia Rashad was Phylicia Ayers-Allen? She married that hotshot sports guy, then a couple of decades later dumped him. Maybe if she hadn't taken his name, they'd still be together.

I know, I know, lots of Hollywood marriages end up on the skids even without this Name Change Phenomenon, but just look at the ones which didn't: Joanne Woodward & Paul Newman, Richard Benjamin & Paula Prentiss, Steve Allen & Jayne Meadows, Alan Ludden & Betty White, Hume Cronyn & Jessica Tandy. Maybe those oldsters knew something: that when the lady changes her name, the match becomes unequal.

It just might be how Kyra Sedgwick and Kevin Bacon have never had a degree of separation.

It's just a thought. But one which may be catching on with today's crowd. Remember when Courtney Cox hooked up with one of those Arquettes? She changed her name for the last season of "Friends," and inflicted us with Courtney Cox Arquette.

She has since wised up. Perhaps she took note of her predecessors Farrah Fawcett Majors and Meredith Baxter Birney. She's back to Courtney Cox. At least now, her marriage stands a fighting chance.