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Divorce as a career move

Splitsville, USA

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How was postal employee Bill Pentland to know? One minute he was married to a struggling, overweight comedian called Roseanne Barr. Next minute he was the ex of a huge phenomenon called Roseanne Arnold. In the entertainment biz, where romance is sometimes an excuse for what looks good in publicity photos, divorce is sometimes the best thing to happen to a resume—ask Roseanne, whose career soared after she split and agreed to pay Bill’s bills. Who else has won or lost-showbizwise, baby-at hearts?

Good moves

Johnny Carson

So what if he’s paying out big bucks to ex-wives Joan and Joanne and Joanna: In 30 years of Tonight Show monologues, Johnny made that money back tenfold in alimony jokes. Which translated into happy audiences. Which led to bigger paychecks. You see the equation.

Madonna

For a brief moment they were equally hot: Madonna the Material Girl and her bad-boy husband, Sean Penn. But he got too bad and they split and then things began going real good for her, while his star cooled down so that now it’s approximately the color of a bad bruise.

Tina Turner

She got out from under the domination of that habitually bad husband of hers and left Ike holding a dead mike while she continues to shake her thang and enthrall her love-slave fans.

Bad moves

Michelle Pfeiffer

Sure, she was pretty and everything but Michelle Pfeiffer wasn’t exactly Michelle Pfeiffer when she and Peter Horton split up. Now she’s Michelle Pfeiffer but he’s still Peter Horton-a nice actor, a nice director, and mostly known as the guy who used to be married to Mic-well, you get the idea.

Marsha Mason

The danger of marrying the man who puts good words in your mouth is that when he’s no longer around, you no longer speak so good. Which means Marsha Mason is pretty much scriptless without playwright Neil Simon.

Lisa Bonet and Lenny Kravitz

It was bad for for him, it was bad for her: Has anyone heard anything good of Bonet and Kravitz since that fin-de-’80s couple split up?

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