Celebrities who have gone to couples therapy
Being married to someone — or being in any kind of committed relationship — can bring love, companionship, and sexy times into your life. But let’s be honest: It can also bring about tension, turmoil, and even a broken heart. Frankly, keeping a long-term relationship in tip-top shape is rarely easy and usually takes a fair share of care and attention. However, if couples are willing to put in the work, then the payoff can definitely be worth it. That’s why seeking out couples counseling can be the best option for some pairs.
While “many people [are] skeptical about couples counseling,” according to Psychology Today, that may be, in part, because methods used in the past weren’t terribly effective, and attitudes around therapy were more dismissive and resistant. However, these days, many couples swear by it and credit couples counseling for helping them work through issues or simply keep the good vibes going. Ashley N. Grinonneau-Denton, a marriage and family therapist, told CNN, “Every couple should take preventive measures to maintain health in their relationship, just like going to the gym.” She added that “[I]f couples don’t work their relational and emotional ‘muscles,’ they become un-toned, weak, and create more of a chance of damage being done to their relationship.”
That’s why these stars have all gone to couples therapy, and while it helped some of the pairs stay together, others couldn’t keep things together even though they had professional help. Either way, they’ve all been honest about their experience with therapy.
Beyoncé and Jay Z 'did the hard work' after he cheated
Beyoncé and Jay Z may be the definition of a power couple; however, even they have endured martial hardships that could have ended their relationship. While there may have been various issues affecting the pair behind closed doors, the entire world found out about one major problem when the duo used their troubles to inspire their music.
“The couple’s last three albums have … formed a kind of marriage trilogy,” Vox noted in 2018. Explaining that “2016’s Lemonade saw Beyoncé accusing Jay-Z of adultery and then forgiving him,” that was followed by “2017’s 4:44 [which] saw Jay-Z confessing and then begging for forgiveness to his sins.” The third album, 2018’s Everything In Love, found Bey and Jay “overcoming their difficulties to triumphantly declare themselves ‘happily in love.'” Apparently, one of the reasons they stayed together is because they went to therapy.
During an interview for David Letterman’s Netflix show My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, Jay Z pointed out that while boys and men are told, “be a man, stand-up, don’t cry,” he explained: “I want to cry, I want to be open, I want to have the emotional tools that it takes to keep my family together.” He added that he and his wife “did the hard work of going to therapy,” adding: “I’m proud of the father and the husband that I am today because of all of the work that was done.”
Couples therapy is the 'only reason' Pink and Carey Hart are still together
Pink’s (at times odd) relationship with her husband, motocross racer Carey Hart, has seen more ups and downs than the courses he’s used to traversing. For instance, the pair separated in 2003 before getting married in 2006, then separated again in 2008 only to go on to reunite in 2010, according to BuzzFeed. That dynamic is surely why Pink admitted during a chat with the Today show in April 2019, “Carey and I have been in couples counseling almost our entire 17 years that we’ve been together. It’s the only reason we’re still together.”
The singer confirmed that in June 2020, when she held an Instagram live conversation with her therapist, again saying, “It’s the only reason that we’re still together … I think partners, after a long time … you just speak two different languages.” Therapy apparently helped them start deciphering that conflict-sparking barrier.
Because of that, the duo is able to celebrate their history together. “We’ve been at this thing a long time, babe. It isn’t perfect, but I’m grateful it’s ours,” Pink captioned a January 7, 2020, Instagram post marking their anniversary. She also added some apt hashtags that seem to have come straight from their therapy sessions, including #agreetodisagree and #fightnice.
Will Smith said therapy with Jada Pinkett Smith was 'the dark before the dawn'
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith got married in 1997, when she was pregnant with their first child together, Jaden Smith, according to The Oprah Magazine. While Will and Jada have been together for more than two decades now, in August 2016, the actor opened up about fighting for their relationship, which included “a lot of marriage counseling,” according to The Sun. “Once you do counseling, the truth comes out. And you sit across from your wife and you’ve said all of your truth and she has said all of her truth,” he explained, then admitted: “You can’t imagine you could ever possibly love each other again now the truth is out.”
The I Am Legend actor noted that the situation “creates a dark moment,” however, added that for him, it was “the dark before the dawn.” He explained that “when the truth comes out and people have to say who they are and what they think, you get to know who they are.” Apparently, this is “the cleansing before you get to the other side that is understanding and moving forward in [a] relationship.”
As for Jada, she had a chat with couples therapist Esther Perel during a June 2019 episode of the star’s Red Table Talk Facebook show and discussed “betrayals of the heart.” While she didn’t go into specifics, it seems clear that this couple has overcome some intense situations thanks to therapy.
Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard have both been open about therapy
“We have a very healthy marriage and we got there by doing therapy when we needed it, and constantly doing fierce moral inventories,” Kristen Bell told People in 2017 while talking about her relationship with her husband, fellow actor Dax Shepard. She added that they “both take responsibility” when they’re wrong, saying, “I think it is easy to work with him because … I enjoy spending time with him and I trust him. That is exactly what I want in someone that I work with.”
Shepard was also willing to open up to Good Morning America that same year about putting in the effort to keep their marriage going strong as well as the benefits of therapy, saying that he and Bell went “early on to learn what their pattern of arguing was” and at what points they “needed to stop that.”
The Bless This Mess actor also summed up what happens in therapy, saying, “You go to the therapist and he listens to you talk for about 30 seconds [and] he’s like, ‘I got it. Okay, you used to be a scumbag, right, Dax? Yeah? So you always feel like you’re in trouble? Uh-huh. Okay, so when you [meaning Bell] phrase things like this and [he] thinks he’s in trouble, but he’s not in trouble, he doesn’t deserve to feel bad because he’s a good guy now. Alright, see you guys in a month!” Easy peasy?
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka like to keep their marriage 'running smoothly'
While some couples seek out therapy because they’ve gone through a rough experience (like cheating) or need to work through their issues (like a lack of communication), Neil Patrick Harris and his husband, actor and chef David Burtka — who were married in 2014 and have two super cute kids together, twins Harper and Gideon, according to Us Weekly — seek out professional help not because “there’s anything wrong, but it’s nice to sort of just talk to someone who is a mediator,” Burtka told Life & Style in 2017. “That’s helped our relationship.”
Things certainly do seem to be going well between the pair — at least, if the fact that they were included in Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue’s book What Makes a Marriage Last is any indication. And then there’s the former How I Met Your Mother star’s Instagram posts that make it clear that NPH adores his spouse. For instance, on May 29, 2020, he posted a birthday message to Burtka, writing, “Your talent is remarkable, your energy is infectious, your love is unconditional. Our kids are so fortunate to have your guidance and strength as a parent — their awesome qualities are largely thanks to you.” Aww! If that wasn’t sweet enough, he added, “I’m honored to have you as my husband, and am super glad that you were born.” We’re sure the feeling is mutual.
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade could share what they've learned in therapy
Bring It On actress Gabrielle Union and former NBA player Dwyane Wade are another famous couple who have survived a rollercoaster relationship, which Us Weekly notes has included them raising a mixed family together, enduring “eight or nine miscarriages,” splitting for a time, and having a baby via a surrogate. That’s on top of him getting another woman pregnant while he and Union were on a break before getting married. “When you hold something in that you know is going to come out and you have this information and you know it’s gonna f**k somebody’s life up, that you care about, that you love, if it don’t hurt you, then you’re not human,” Wade said during the ESPN documentary, D. Wade: Life Unexpected (via Entertainment Tonight). However, they appear to have a fabulous relationship these days, which is partially due to therapy.
“People are like ‘goals;’ me and D are like, ‘wtf?'” she told Complex in 2017. She added that while they’ve “kind of figured it out now,” she supposed that they might be able to help others by passing on what they’ve learned by “tweet[ing] live from couples’ therapy.” Um, yes, please!
Union also explained oh-so-wisely that if you ask herself or her husband, “we’re gonna tell you, there’s a process to happy.” And they’re apparently willing to work through that process together in order to continue to find that happiness while by each other’s sides.
Couples therapy couldn't save Kourtney Kardashian and Scott Disick's relationship
Kourtney Kardashian and the father of her children, Scott Disick, are an on-again-off-again couple — per Us Weekly, there was buzz that something might be going on between them in June 2020 following his split from Sofia Richie — but that’s another topic altogether. As for Kourtney and Scott, back in 2012, she had hoped that weekly couples therapy sessions would save their sometimes struggling relationship, which viewers often saw both sizzle and fizzle onscreen thanks to the family’s reality show, Keeping Up With the Kardashians.
Kourtney told Oprah Winfrey (via Us Weekly), “We go to therapy, which helps us a lot. I think we’re always working to better ourselves, which I think a lot of people can do.” She explained that while she can go into a therapy session “despising him,” by the time she leaves, she “feel[s] like [she] understand[s] him so much more,” saying that remains true “even if he’s not in there.”
As for Scott, at the time, he explained that he felt like Kourtney was “pretty fantastic and doesn’t do much wrong.” Although he was willing to admit, “It would make my life easier if she made mistakes.” He also added, “I probably don’t deserve such a good person, but she makes me better, so in that sense I do deserve that.” Whatever ends up happening with these two, it seems as if they’ll always care for and appreciate each other.
Josh Duhamel and Fergie split despite both therapy and rules
Former Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie may claim that “Big Girls Don’t Cry,” but she likely had to face plenty of heartwrenching emotions while confronting the issues she had with her now-ex-husband Love, Simon actor Josh Duhamel. Although the stars finalized their divorce in 2019, according to People, which was two years after they broke up and after eight years of marriage, back in January 2015, she apparently felt like therapy was beneficial for them. Fergie explained to Allure that her then-husband was “not afraid” of it and added that “he doesn’t feel like he’s not man enough” to seek out help.
The famous spouses had also agreed on a way to balance their busy schedules at the time. “My husband and I made a two-week rule,” she explained, which was the maximum amount of time they would allow themselves to be away from each other. Saying that they would “trade off” when it came to career-related commitments that take them away from their family, she revealed that Duhamel would stay home with their son, Axl, while she was on tour. In turn, she would stick around to care for their son when he had to be on set for an acting gig.
While Duhamel and Fergie were obviously willing to try to make it work, unfortunately, neither therapy nor rules couldn’t save this former couple.
Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott's former relationship 'died'
Tori Spelling explained in her 2008 memoir sTORI Telling (via Us Weekly) that when she and Dean McDermott met on the set of Lifetime’s 2005 Mind Over Murder, “It was love at first sight … Then I noticed he had a wedding ring. When someone asked, he pulled out photos of his children. And — oh, yeah — I had a husband too.” Indeed, Spelling was still with her first husband, Charlie Shanian, and McDermott was married to Canadian television personality Mary Jo Eustace, the mother of his son, Jack. However, that didn’t stop Spelling and McDermott from sleeping together right after they first met, and she admits that she “didn’t regret it.”
But in 2014, after Spelling and McDermott married and had (some of) their own kids, he cheated on her while the Chopped Canada host was promoting the show in Toronto, per Us Weekly. “I really, really wish that I had been given the knowledge of think with your head, not your penis, because I did a lot of thinking with my penis,” he later said.
Fans of the couple’s reality show, True Tori, were able to watch the “insanely uncomfortable” aftermath offscreen because instead of splitting up, “the couple underwent intense marriage counseling and McDermott entered rehab,” according to People. Spelling says, “We worked on everything. The relationship as we knew it died. We had to bury that.” She added, “Rebuilding our marriage took time.”
Kristin Cavallari thought therapy had saved her relationship with Jay Cutler
Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County alum Kristin Cavallari and former NFL quarterback Jay Cutler announced that they were getting a divorce in April 2020 after enjoying (or enduring?) 10 years of marriage and having three children together. However, back in 2016, she felt confident enough about their bond to offer relationship advice in her book, Balancing in Heels. Suggesting tips in a section titled “Staying Connected When You’re Apart,” she explained: “Even not being together can be meaningful if you make an effort. I actually love traveling for work because it makes me miss Jay. … I get excited to come home and hug him after being gone for a couple of days. I still get butterflies in my stomach.”
Beyond that, Cavallari was also willing to be upfront about the fact that they had gone to couples counseling. “I think it’s important for people to know that there’s no such thing as a perfect relationship, you know? We work on it,” she told Steve Harvey (via Us Weekly). “We love each other and we want to make it work, but I 100 percent credit our therapist for saving our relationship.” She continued by acknowledging that they had “come so far … both individually and together as a couple, that it’s been incredibly beneficial.”
Hopefully, what they learned can also help them get along as ex-spouses and co-parents.
Michelle Obama was surprised by what happened in therapy with Barack Obama
Despite the fact that Michelle and Barack Obama’s marriage seems to be an example of “relationship goals,” that’s a “myth” that the former First Lady is willing to dispel, according to E! News. In fact, the lawyer, author, and mother of Malia and Sasha admits that relationships are hard, which is why she and her husband have gone to couples therapy.
Michelle, who has been married to Barack since October 3, 1992, told Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show in 2018, “I was one of those wives who thought, ‘I’m taking you to marriage counseling so you can be fixed, Barack Obama.'” Then, she says, “Our counselor looked over at me. I was like, ‘What are you looking at? I’m perfect.'”
While many people can likely relate to that feeling, Michelle now says that “marriage counseling was a turning point” for her. She noted that she understands: “It wasn’t up to my husband to make me happy, … I had to learn how to fill myself up and how to put myself higher on my priority list.” She also told Elle that “counseling … was about me exploring my sense of happiness.” She says that she realized she needed “support” from her husband and “to figure out how to build my life in a way that works for me.” That’s surely something that most of us could benefit from learning, whether we’re in a relationship or not.
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