I can’t say that I was shocked when I heard the news about TomKat two weeks ago. But Katie Holmes’ decision to file for divorce from Tom Cruise still seems a bit like the end of a fairy tale, even if we rarely expect Hollywood actors to have the “happily ever after” they dream of. 

I follow celebrity relationships out of professional interest, since celebrity weddings have a huge influence on the industry. I’ve started to notice the same influence when it comes to divorces; the trend to celebrate a divorce with a party was popularized by celebs (remember way back to the “tacky” celebrations of Shanna Moakler or Danny Bonaduce?), and the latest twist–couples celebrating their divorce at a party together–also came from celebrities (namely Karen Elson and Jack White).

Last week I asked friends on Facebook what they thought about Tom/Kat and celebrity relationships in general: do they inspire you? Are they discouraging? Do they have any relevance to our lives? The responses vary: some of us have kept up with the news, riveted as Tom/Kat’s latest settlement news was announced this week. Others wonder what took Kate so long, citing Tom’s “wacky” behavior. And still others said it doesn’t make any difference in their lives. (If you want to add your opinion on Facebook, you can visit our conversation here.)

I would guess that our small group at Facebook is representative of the wider world, with some of us following out of curiosity (or with the obsessive attention usually reserved for royals), and others scarcely noting another Hollywood breakup. Maybe our fascination comes from the fact that for many Americans, divorce is a result of money troubles. We probably figure that a net worth of $250 million (Cruise’s estimated estate) should “buy” an easy life and stable marriage. Even if this feels like just another inevitable celebrity split, we probably wonder how much better our own relationships might be if we had their money and vacations and “stuff.” 

Do you follow celebrity weddings and divorces? Do you think they’re relevant to our lives at all, or are celebrity lives so different that we can’t compare? What do you think?