Late Friday afternoon, "American Idol" judge and resurgent songstress Jennifer Lopez and her husband, Latin pop superstar Marc Anthony, announced they were ending their 7-year marriage.
“We have decided to end our marriage," Lopez and Anthony said in a joint statement to People magazine. "This was a very difficult decision. We have come to an amicable conclusion on all matters. It is a painful time for all involved, and we appreciate the respect of our privacy at this time."
The split shocked many, as Lopez and Anthony have for years seemed the picture of wedded bliss. As surprising as the news itself was, the couple’s decision to announce their separation on a Friday afternoon is telling, according to former celebrity publicist and Huffington Post columnist Naughty But Nice Rob Shuter, who has worked with Lopez.
“That’s such a celebrity publicist trick, to dump bad news on a Friday. And it’s interesting that Nick [Lachey] and Vanessa [Manillo] dumped good news on a Friday too, that they were married. So it’s not even just bad news, it’s news you don’t want a lot of buzz about,” Rob says. “The silly thing about this is these rules were created in the old days of stars like Marilyn Monroe. These sorts of PR tricks were created a very long time ago, and now what’s happened is the media has changed so much. There wasn’t Internet, or digital media or social media back when these sorts of rules or tricks were created. In the last three to five years, social media has become so important that it really doesn’t matter what day, what time or what planet you announce it on, it’s going to be a big deal.”
Read on for more insight into J.Lo and Anthony’s announcement.
NBN Rob notes that it’s always interesting when a pair of divorcing celebrities issues a joint statement because they can often take time to craft, meaning the relationship has been over long enough for the stars’ respective public relations teams to come together to plan how to handle the inevitable media attention the news will attract.
“The fact that they did a joint statement, that is quite tricky. To put out a joint statement when a couple is breaking up – maybe they’re not speaking, they’re certainly not in the most friendly period of their relationship – to actually draft a joint statement where couples can argue over little words like ‘it’ or ‘we’ or ‘why,’ it’s quite a tricky thing to do,” Rob says. “They did a joint statement, which tells me that these two people’s camps, if not [Lopez and Anthony], signed off on this. That’s a sign that it probably took a couple of days to get that statement into a position where they both agreed on it.”
Ultimately, the decision to release bombshell news on a Friday evening or before a holiday – as Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey did when they announced their divorce – comes down to wanting to “minimize the impact,” according to Rob, of the news, even though it doesn’t make much of a difference anymore because of the 24-hour news culture we live in.
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