University Researchers: There Is an Oscar Curse for Best Actress Winners

“We find that Oscar wins are associated with a greater risk of divorce for best actresses, but not for best actors."

TORONTO -- University of Toronto and Carnegie Mellon University researchers have discovered what Kate Winslet, Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman already know: Winning a best actress Oscar may be good for your career, but dooms your marriage.

Researchers at both universities looked at the martial patterns of all best actor and best actress winners between 1936 and 2010, and concluded that the status shift Oscar glory brings puts wives on course to divorce husbands with frail egos.

“We find that Oscar wins are associated with a greater risk of divorce for best actresses, but not for best actors,” researchers at the twin universities concluded.

Best actress nominees are also at risk, though not as much. “The results indicate that a best actress winner’s risk of divorce is 1.68 times the risk of a best actress non-winner’s,” Carnegie Mellon’s H. Colleen Stuart and Sue Moon, and Tiziana Casciaro at the University of Toronto concluded.

The study, entitled Oscar Curse: Status Dynamics and Gender Differences in Marital Survival, found the increased risk of divorce among best actress Oscar winners was due in part to a “husband’s discomfort with his wife’s fame and success.”

Reese Witherspoon, Charlize Theron and Hilary Swank may well concur.

Alternatively, Oscar bling may also have best actress winners soon dumping husbands or boyfriends for new partners.

The university researchers put the matter more delicately: "The wife may grow dissatisfied with her current marital arrangement either because she has outgrown the relationship or because she now has the confidence and opportunity to move away from a bad marriage." 

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