It was the classic Hollywood love story: Boy meets girl, boy leaves girl, boy and girl appear constantly in the daily gossip columns for the next three weeks. And yet there was something different about Minnie Driver’s breakup with Matt Damon, shortly after they both starred in the smash Good Will Hunting. Perhaps it was because they played out this personal drama against the backdrop of the Academy Awards. Or maybe it was because of the way she wore her heart on her sleeve, opting to talk about her pain with all and sundry. Or maybe it was her reaction after the split — while Damon hooked up quickly with Winona Ryder, Driver cozied up to singer Elliott Smith, actor Rufus Sewell, and Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.
Whatever it was, Driver’s private life has turned into one of this year’s most visible spectacles. Forget about the stock market’s bull run or peace in Northern Ireland — the watercooler subject of the moment is, Where do you come down on the Minnie issue? We asked a gaggle of relationship experts and gossipy pundits for their takes.
·”Somebody asked her right before the Oscars, ‘How do you feel?’ and she said, ‘I feel awful.’ That’s great! She gave an honest answer. Look how far we’ve degenerated: A woman speaks honestly about her ended relationship, even though it’s humiliating to her, and some people say, ‘Oh, she’s doing it for press coverage.’ I think it’s brave.” — Olivia Goldsmith, author of The First Wives Club
·”In The Rules II, we have a chapter called ‘Don’t tell the media about your love life and other rules for celebrities.’ Don’t talk about the guy you broke up with or who broke up with you. Talk about your next movie or your career. Don’t talk about your relationships, because mystery is very important.” — Sherrie Schneider, coauthor of The Rules
·”If I get dumped on by a chick, it’s just me and whoever’s at the bar who knows about it. If she gets dumped in that sort of way, it’s sort of a humiliation because it’s on a grand scale. It’s like being left at the altar with all these people there.” — Adam Carolla, cohost of MTV’s Loveline
·”Minnie is playing this like croquet. She’s driving her point too hard.” — Talk-show host Sally Jessy Raphael
·”She looks very angry. I was watching the Academy Awards with my wife, and we said, ‘Wow, she looks so mean. What happened to that nice overweight girl in Circle of Friends who looked so happy?”’ — Martin von Ruden, senior VP and general manager of cable network Romance Classics
·”It sounds like a typical case of the man who makes it big, then dumps the woman who helped him get there. Should it surprise us that he dropped his woman for someone younger and more beautiful? Wait a minute…Minnie is young and beautiful. Never mind.” — Talk-show host Jenny Jones