Two Hearts: Phil Collins and the 'Rebound Marriage' Phenomenon

26th February 2016 Family Law

As with many aspects of life, the popular perception of divorce is in part shaped by the media.

Whether it's coverage of couples with high profiles and great wealth or fictional treatments of rancorous splits, it's fair to say that there is a view of marriages only ending amid tantrums and tears. The fact is that most divorces are conducted rather more amicably than news reports or film and TV drama might suggest.

In many cases, they involve individuals who have simply grown apart. The pressures of building families and careers with realities and expectations of being a husband or wife can be rather different than when they were boyfriend and girlfriend. Sometimes, it's only distance and time which makes them accept that the decision to part might well have been a mistake.

Such circumstances are, I believe, behind a succession of celebrity examples of something now known as 'the rebound marriage'.

Take the hugely successful singer, songwriter and actor, Phil Collins. Regular readers of this blog will recall how, having divorced from his third wife, Orianne Cevey, in 2008 after a nine-year marriage - and handing over a £25 million settlement, it emerged earlier this month that the pair were back together (

She has now confirmed in an interview that their relationship has progressed to the point where they are to remarry. Setting aside the fame and the riches, it's a situation which has echoes in many other relationships.

Couples often experience tremendous pressures, particularly when they're younger. Although they start the journey together, they effectively develop parallel lives only to later realise that they really do crave a life partner which they had always intended their now ex-spouse to be.

Without differences of the sort which are truly difficult to patch up, they get back together often after years and other marriages have passed. I would anticipate that it's only couples who determinedly try again having not resolved underlying differences who run the risk of a repeat marital collapse.

In Phil Collins' case, his former wife had married and divorced in the interim. However, it was his support of Orianne and their sons following her health problems that provided a reason to be geographically close something which led, in turn, to a second proposal.

The fractured and much-changed state of family life in the UK over the last few decades should have taught us that the course of romance is not a simple narrative thread. As long as it leads to lasting happiness whether that be the first or second time around surely that has to be a groovy kind of love.


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Holly Tootill is a Partner located in Manchesterin our Family department

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