Drawing on Garth’s statistical expertise and my extensive survey of the literature in supermarket checkout lines, we published an equation in The New York Times predicting the probability that a celebrity marriage would endure. The equation’s variables included the relative fame of the husband and wife, their ages, the length of their courtship, their marital history, and the sex-symbol factor (determined by looking at the woman’s first five Google hits and counting how many show her in skimpy attire, or no attire).
Now, with more five years of follow-up data, we can report firm empirical support for the Sundem/Tierney Unified Celebrity Theory.
The 2006 equation correctly predicted doom for Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher; Pamela Anderson and Kid Rock; and Britney Spears and Kevin Federline. It also forecast that Will Smith and Jada Pinkett would probably not make it to their 15th anniversary, in December 2012; so far, they’re still married, but gossip columns are rife with reports of a pending split.
On a happier note, the 2006 equation identified two couples with a good chance to make it to their fifth anniversary, in 2010: Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner, and Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso. Sure enough, they made it (and are still married).