Jessica Shaw remembers what went wrong with the love between Julia and Ben, Tara and Carson, and more
Julia Roberts, Benjamin Bratt
Credit: Julia Roberts & Benjamin Bratt: Chris Ashford/Camera Press/Retna

So far, the 21st century is looking bad for love…at least for some high-profile Hollywood couples. While breaking up is hard to do for us mere mortals, at least we don’t have our issues played out in the international media circus. Not that we’re complaining. Here’s a look back at 2001’s most notable breakups:

They were annoyingly perfect. Two nearly flawless-looking people kissing in Manhattan cafés, holding hands on red carpets, visiting each other on film and TV sets. But then you saw the cracks. She practically thanked the lint under her seat at the Oscars but somehow neglected to mention her boyfriend of four years. Sitting in the audience, he looked stoic and miserable. Though they didn’t break up until late July and didn’t announce their separation until after ”America’s Sweethearts” opened, rumors about their demise became Hollywood currency.

Julia was rumored to be spending her summer cooling off with ”Ocean’s Eleven” costar George Clooney, while Benjamin was busy at work trying to prove that he was more than Julia’s arm candy. It may be paying off: His work in the upcoming ”Pinero” is already garnering early Oscar buzz. As for Julia, a little break-up could never hurt her career, although she’s getting quite the little love ’em and leave ’em reputation. Look out, Elizabeth Taylor.

No one is ever surprised when a Hollywood couple gets divorced after a week. But after 18 years? Maybe it was too good to be true: Han Solo and writer of ”ET” shunning Los Angeles for a 700-plus-acre ranch in Wyoming with their two seemingly well-adjusted children.

It appears the ”Indiana Jones” star did not phone home nearly enough while off on locations. After a brief summer reconciliation which followed last winter’s separation, the two couldn’t overcome their differences and Mathison filed for legal separation. Ford, who’s been somewhat untouchable in tabloids, was quickly linked to Lara Flynn Boyle (both denied a romantic relationship), but has since remained out of the spotlight. Guess we’ll have to wait for the premiere of his upcoming ”K19: The Widowmaker” to see who gets to be his date.

Considering how closely these two megastars guard their privacy, we may never know what actually happened last Christmas when Cruise decided the 10-year marriage was over. The clues are definitely odd: Tom reported to the set of ”Vanilla Sky” the day it was announced that he and ”Nic” had split. Kidman’s family members Down Under claim they didn’t know before the public did. Now that the divorce is official, Kidman is definitely getting a lot more sympathy for being the scorned lover.

Strangely enough, such a tumultuous year personally has produced one of the couple’s strongest professionally. Nicole rocked audiences in ”Moulin Rouge” and terrified them in ”The Others.” Cruise proved his talent as a producer with ”The Others,” which is a dark horse for a Best Picture nomination; and his work in Cameron Crowe’s ”Vanilla Sky” will undoubtedly score him statue nominations. At that rate, moviegoers should be hoping they never get back together.