Reading the stars: Will these couples stay or split?

April 04, 1993|By Sally Ogle Davis | Sally Ogle Davis,Contributing Writer

The old Hollywood joke goes something like this: Two kids meet on the school playground: "How do you like your new dad?" asks one. "I had him last year."

Hollywood marriages -- a contradictory, troubling, comic phrase if there ever was one. It conjures up all the scandals we've ever read about -- the obvious lack of commitment, the blatant infidelities, the extensive prenuptial agreements, the huge post-divorce payoffs.

In short, they aren't anything like ordinary couples. And why should they be? Think about it. The pressures on Hollywood couples are enough to create a magnitude-8 earthquake: Celebrity couples face months of separation as competing careers take them to different corners of the globe, and their work brings them into constant contact with extraordinarily beautiful people.

So you'd have to be crazy to take out an insurance policy on any Hollywood twosome. For every Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward, and Jimmy and Gloria Stewart, there are dozens of Woody and Mias, Stallone and Brigittes, Mac and Tatums.

Nevertheless, here are some predictions -- against the odds -- that put several of Hollywood's most celebrated relationships in the spotlight to see what makes them hits -- or flops.

Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith

Status: Fragile but hopeful.

The best thing to happen to this volatile relationship in a long time is Melanie's three recent flops in a row -- "The Bonfire of the Vanities," "Shining Through" and "A Stranger Among Us" -- which may have balanced the seesaw a bit. The partnership had looked decidedly rickety, heading for the "Star Is Born" (she's hot; he's not) marital scrap heap. As her career rocketed after "Working Girl," so his bottomed out once he took off the "Miami Vice" pastels. And the more his marketability plunged, the more 43-year-old Don's traditional roving eye got a workout. Thirty-five-year-old Melanie countered by reportedly starving herself to curb her tendency to plumpness and by augmenting her breasts to a hyper-sexy new image.

She also tries desperately to build him up, sometimes by putting herself down. "Anywhere in the world, everybody knows who Don is," she's said. "But they don't know who I am. I'm just the bimbo on the arm." Her self-abasement is matched only by her determination to make the marriage last.

In fact, together they've lived several lives -- lovers when she was 14 years old, married four years later, divorced six months after that, and remarried in 1989. They've both survived alcoholism and drugs to create a beautiful joint family and set up an idyllic ranch home in Aspen, away from the temptations of Hollywood.

But the strains remain, making this a can't-live-with-him, can't-live-without-him twosome. A lot may be riding on the fate of their joint remake of the old Judy Holliday-William Holden classic, "Born Yesterday," currently playing at theaters.

Michael and Diandra Douglas

Status: rough, very rough.

Things haven't looked too good for the Douglases recently: The tabloids reported that she found 48-year-old Michael in bed with one of her longtime friends in Los Angeles' Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel. He promptly took off for a stint at a fashionable addiction clinic in Arizona -- reportedly to overcome his sexual dependency. Mrs. Douglas, meanwhile, retreated to their villa on the island of Majorca.

What's their next move? Who knows? But if they do get divorced, there's an awful lot to split up: Besides the villa, the couple own a multimillion-dollar mansion with a vast view of the Pacific, a four-bedroom penthouse overlooking Central Park, and vast compound near the ski slopes of Aspen. Indications are, though, that 34-year-old Mrs. Douglas, whom Mr. Douglas married when she was 19, may have had it with her husband's "socializing."

"I knew I had to change a lot of things if we were going to survive," Mr. Douglas said some time ago. But genes will out, and the womanizing tradition he inherited from his father, Kirk, gives Mr. Douglas a taste for living carelessly. The odds on this one surviving -- despite the glue provided by their teen-age son -- are no better than 50-50.

Bruce Willis and Demi Moore

Status: Strained.

Hollywood is asking, "How long can two egos as big as these fit into one household?"

The 37-year-old former bad boy and the staggeringly beautiful Demi, whose flair for self-promotion is second only to Madonna's, have switched roles. When they married in 1987, it was he who was the megastar, she, the ambitious up-and-comer. But times change. Ms. Moore's success with "Ghost," and Mr. Willis' inability to find a place for himself in movies that aren't variations on the "Die Hard" theme, have made this marriage separate but unequal. Meanwhile, 30-year-old Ms. Moore has become a limelight-obsessed, pop-culture phenomenon with a seemingly permanent spot on glossy magazine covers in various stages of undress, making her the most self-absorbed actress since '40s stars like Crawford and Davis.

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