Reconciliation: What it Means for Patrick Carney and Michelle Branch’s Divorce

For pop culture fans, it might be interesting to see those pictures of celebrities as they do “normal” people stuff like shop for groceries, pump gas, walk their dogs, and take their kids to school. It can be even more entertaining if the celebrities are dressed down, wearing workout clothes and sneakers. But the reality is that celebrities, whether they be sports stars, famous musicians or actors, are people too. While they entertain us, we can learn from them as well.

It is no surprise that celebs divorce; it seems as if a famous couple split is making the news daily. Sylvester Stallion is going through another divorce, and he is having his tattoos redone, covering up references to wife #3. Johnny Depp and Amber Heard got a divorce (in the event you have not heard) and it made headlines for weeks. Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor each had 7 divorces. Billy Bob Thornton has had 5 divorces; Larry King 6. Divorce amongst famous people is nothing new.

But, just like us “normal” folks, some celebrities find their way to reconciliation. A recent case in point is American singer and songwriter, Michelle Branch, and Patrick Carney, drummer for the Black Keys. The couple has two young children and they were married in 2019. Ms. Branch has publicly admitted that she made a tweet about her husband cheating on her while he was on tour and she was home with a 4 year old and a 7 month old. She was also admitted that the stress of releasing new musical material, lack of sleep, and a mix of alcohol lead to her slapping her husband. This led to domestic violence charge and filing for divorce.

Despite these allegations, the domestic violence charge has since been dropped and the couple has suspended their legal divorce filing. They are now participating in marriage counseling and they are trying to save their marriage. There are countless other celebrities who dated, married, broken up, and reconciled. Music superstar Justin Timberlake and his wife, actress Jessica Biel, started dating in 2007, broke up in 2012, and married in 2012. Another music superstar, Alecia Beth Moore, aka Pink, and her husband, Carey Hart,
motorcycle racer and motocross athlete, have had a very up and down relationship as well – they started dating in 2001, split in 2003, engaged in 2005, married in 2006, split in 2008, and got back together in 2009.

Royals are just like others as well. Prince William and Kate started dating during their university years 2003-2007, spent time apart, reunited in 2010 and are now married with 3 children. And, lastly, movie star Ben Affleck and superstar Jennifer Lopez spent almost 2 decades apart. They dated and were engaged, but Bennifer fell apart in 2003. Ben and Jen reunited in 2021 and just recently married in 2022, with 2 ceremonies!

So, what does it take to reunite and work things out? Every marriage and couple are different but studies do support the following conclusions. Ultimately, the probability of reconciliation depends on the reasons for the separation. For couples with issues of incompatibility, domestic violence, and substance abuse, there is a greater chance that these couples will eventually divorce. Being able to work things out and resume the marriage has a greater success rate for couples who have gone through infidelity, had disagreements over their children, and those who have just grown apart. A key factor in any marriage salvation is to find good, emotional support. Counseling is key. Couples who can work things out often cite marriage counseling or couples therapy as a requisite factor in saving their marriage. It is imperative to find the right therapist.

If you are in a similar position and hoping to reconcile your marriage, look for a therapist who:

  • Possesses the proper credentials, training, and background
  • Has experience working with couples
  • Displays compassion and an impartial attitude
  • Is a good fit for both spouses
  • Encourages both parties to communicate and grow

It is never too late work on a relationship. Most therapists agree that the sooner a couple seeks help, the better. There are situations where the parties can allow their issues to grow and fester, rendering a situation more difficult to resolve. And, as an important legal note consideration, the possibility of saving the marriage is part of the reason North Carolina requires couples to have a mandated one year of separation before either party can file for divorce.

During this year of living apart, the parties should be able to take time and consider if their marriage can be saved. Studies also show that the longer a couple stays apart, the harder it will be to resume the marriage. The 6-month mark seems to be a turning point for couples.

Back to our celebrity couple, songstress Michelle Branch admits that her tweet about cheating was something she should have avoided. This is a common concern in all relationships, but especially ones where there are growing issues  – be very careful with what either of you posts on social media. A public airing of problems can cause things to escalate. Working things out is not easy and it demands a devotion by both parties to work on their relationship and themselves, as well as the time and privacy to be able to do so successfully. Though difficult, it can be done.

In the years to come, who knows where Branch and Carney will find themselves in terms of their relationship. We wish them well regardless of whether or not they choose to remain together or seek independence from each other as they raise their children. But, famous or not, no matter how big or small your family is, you and your spouse may be able to learn from their mistakes and journey in order to resolve your issues and save your marriage. Should you find that your issues are irreconcilable, do not fret – not all couples can or even should reconcile, and only you can make the decision about what is right for you and your family.

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