Watch: Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet split because 'people change and goals change'
Plenty of Hollywood marriages are over in the time it takes to post an Insta snap. But actors Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet made it last for 16 years, before calling it quits this month.
According to People Magazine, they simply 'grew apart.'
In a statement last week, the ex-couple recalled Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow's famous 'conscious uncoupling'.
Via his Instagram post to fans, Momoa wrote, "We have all felt the squeeze and changes of these transformational times.
“A revolution is unfolding, and our family is of (sic) no exception… feeling and growing from the seismic shifts occurring.
“And so, we share our family news – that we are parting ways in marriage.
“We share this not because we think it’s newsworthy, but so that as we go about our lives we may do so with dignity and honesty.
“The love between us carries on, evolving in ways it wishes to be known and lived.
“We free each other to be who we are learning to become.”
They are parents to two children, and according to the source who spoke with People, Bonet did not want to join her husband when he travelled away from their LA home for film jobs as his career took off.
“They have grown apart because of different focuses. A few years ago, Jason was struggling to find work.
“Now his career is booming and he wants to keep working as much as he can.
“For Lisa and Jason’s marriage, being apart was a disaster.” the source added, implying the the couple had been leading largely separate lives for a while.
“They were a great couple with a lot of love and respect for each other, but people change and goals change and they weren’t the same together anymore."
With nobody else involved, it seems the once-rock solid couple have simply grown apart - but what does that really mean? And if you suspect it's happening to your own relationship, can you ever 'grow back together'?
"Once the dust settles on the thrill of a relationship and you settle into living and being with each other, it’s not uncommon for couples to head in different directions," says Neuro Linguistic Programming trainer Andy Coley.
"Whether it's in a few months, a few years, or even 30 years, it’s something I’ve seen in my coaching and training work. A lot comes down to communication, if something isn’t working and you hang onto it and don’t share, that can cause couples to drift apart.
"Other times, a lack of shared purpose and goals as a couple mean that each work on their own goals, which can lead in different directions."
The simplest solution is the best, he offers. "I believe that talking will get you growing together, if you want to strive for something else or are unhappy and want to change.
"If they want to support you, they’ll enable the change. If they don’t, or if they feel threatened by it, their behaviours will also show that up. Ultimately sometimes people are with us for chapters of our life, but it doesn’t mean we need to carry them around with us for ever," says Coley who himself went through a break up in his mid-30s.
"Letting go of the relationship where we’d drifted apart and ultimately got to be two acquaintances sharing the same roof was ultimately, the best thing I’d ever done."
Growing apart is very often down to lack of communication, agrees Becki Sams, a Mindful Communication trainer "often in terms of not knowing how to communicate how we're feeling, what we need, and asking for what we want from our partner," she explains.
"After the honeymoon phase wears off, communication skills are vital to helping us feel close, connected, and intimate. What often happens, for example, is we expect the other person to just 'know' what we want and give it to us without us having to ask.
"We might have unhealthy boundaries and don't know how to tell them what we need (e.g. getting snappy instead of saying, "I need space when I come home from work before being able to have a conversation with you"). Maybe we judge or criticise them instead of asking for specific things they could do to make life more amazing for us - like telling them they never listen, rather than asking them to be with us and not interrupt when we're telling them about our day."
Again, she believes that 'growing back' can be done - but to do so, you need to "learn how to identify your own feelings and speak in that language, identify your needs, and the strategies you could use to meet them, and ask what you want in a way that honours your needs as well as the other's persons.
"Plus, simple listening skills such as being present, not interrupting, and reflecting back what you heard can go such a long way," Sams adds.
Sometimes, though, simply talking isn't enough - because you're changing and re-prioritising at different speeds, says Relate-trained therapist Rhian Kivits.
"A couple may be moving through phases of their lives and careers at different rates. As each partner grows, their core values and priorities may shift and change and while they may have previously felt aligned, it’s possible that this may have driven them in different directions," she explains.
Life events may have knocked you onto different courses - "for example, partners may have adapted in their own individual ways to having children, and this may have exposed differences rather than drawing them together.
"As each partner reflects on their future aspirations, they may realise they no longer share the same desires and vision."
When it comes to Bonet and Momoa, she adds, "the media have reported that Jason’s booming career drove the couple apart. At the start of their relationship, Jason wasn’t earning as much, he wasn’t travelling extensively for work and wasn’t in the limelight.
"Lisa seems to be more of a private person than Jason, nowadays. Perhaps she struggled with the impact of seeing less of her husband while he was travelling and focusing on developing his career.
"Maybe she felt a chasm growing between them and it became apparent that neither partner’s needs were being met.
"Jason’s success may have created a difference in this couple’s aspirations. Their time together may have been impacted and eventually they realised that they came to a place where they wanted different things and compatibility was no longer evident."
They may still be room for compromise for many couples, adds Kivits.
"It can be useful to get professional help from a therapist. In therapy, couples can be gently reminded to focus on the underlying love they have for each other, to consider the wider impact of their choices on their children and families and encouraged to take the commitments they made at the start of their relationship into account," she says.
"But they’ll also be encouraged to be honest about how they’ve changed and what this means for the future.
"No matter what the outcome, what’s important is that they are clear about their options and explore what’s possible."
To help you grow back together, she suggests,
1 Try to establish whether you do have common ground and common aspirations and focus on those.
2 Look for new shared interests and pursuits that inspire you both.
3 Identify how you’re changing and make an effort to fall in love with the new versions of each other.
4 Be flexible with each other - keep communicating, shift your expectations of each other and of the relationship because it helps to acknowledge that things don’t have to stay the same in order for it to work.
Watch: Kristen Bell and Dax Shepard talk body image, parenting and couples therapy