Yesterday, in a stellar example of minding somebody else's business, people were so eager to read about the demise of Gwyneth Paltrow's marriage that they crashed her website. That's because Paltrow chose Goop, her hoity-toity lifestyle site, to announce that she and Chris Martin were parting ways. "It is with hearts full of sadness that we have decided to separate," began the statement. "We have been working hard for well over a year, some of it together, some of it separated, to see what might have been possible between us, and we have come to the conclusion that while we love each other very much we will remain separate."
Paltrow is no stranger to posting the ups and downs of life and love with Martin and their kids on the Internet, and she probably thought this was the best way to announce the split. Before nosy paparazzi could put two and two together and notice something was amiss, she took control of the conversation and released her own words on her choice of platform.
Too bad the actress’s BFF Beyoncé didn't warn her that what works for the Kardashians (sometimes) doesn't usually work for the rest of us: living your love life out loud. People forget that they have their own lives to live and instead hyper focus on commenting on yours. And in the case of Paltrow’s marriage, the focus wasn’t just on the separation, but on how she announced it. TMZ called it the “bougiest separation ever,” while the Washington Post described the amount of hate being hurled at the actress as “tsumani-like.”
This is what else Beyoncé could have told her: give the people a little bit here (her and Jay Z on a bike in Amsterdam) and a tiny bit there (Blue Ivy playing peekaboo in an oversized hat) and then get back to being fabulous. Who gasped when Beyoncé released the song “Mine” with its lines, “Been having conversations about breakups and separations/I’m not feeling like myself since the baby/Are we gonna even make it? Oooh/Cause if we are, we’re taking this a little too far/Me being wherever I’m at, worried about wherever you are?” Everyone! Everyone gasped, because who knew!? This is the kind of tight lid most celebrities should keep on their private lives.
It’s also advice for the rest of us to follow. News of our own breakups might not crash a website, but there would be a ridiculous jump in the number of “told you so” and “I knew he wasn’t s--t” and “maybe I can sleep with him now" from people you thought had your back, from friends, from associates and countless strangers. Social media gives everyone the right to have and express an opinion on things they don’t know anything about. The quick summaries and snapshots we post online are only a glimpse into the millions of moments and countless feelings that make up a relationship, which is why no one else really has a full idea of what really is going down except for the two people living it.
But if you put it online, people are going to comment or ask questions, like when Wendy Williams said yesterday to Tiny, “Did he have to call you out on social media? Couldn’t he have just called you on the telephone?” Apparently T.I. thought Twitter was the better place to say something rude to his wife, meaning Tiny spent most of her interview on Wendy Williams shooting down divorce rumors instead of promoting the new season of her reality show. If you don’t want the good things you’re doing to be overshadowed by gossip about your love life, don’t give people anything to discuss. Just ask Rihanna, who has gone into social media lockdown with whatever she is up to with Drake, a total opposite approach to the very public relationship she had with Chris Brown.
Less is always more when it comes to social media PDA. And if you’re not spending all of your time tweeting and Instagramming, it gives you more opportunity to have real life PDA, not the cyber kind.
The opinions expressed here do not necessarily reflect those of BET Networks.
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(Photo: Lucy Nicholson/Reuters)