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Did Statistics Predict Tom Cruise’s Third Divorce?

Andrew H. Walker, Getty Images

When news broke that Katie Holmes and Tom Cruise had called it quits, many celeb-watchers weren’t terribly surprised. But while the impetus of the split is keeping the tabloids busy, statistics may tell a less-enticing story: this was Cruise’s third marriage, and they’re simply more likely to fail.

The commonly-accepted wisdom in the US is that about half of marriages overall end in divorce. That’s true, but when age and other demographics are taken into account, the numbers shift pretty dramatically.

For example, divorce rates among wealthy, well-educated people who marry after the age of 26 have actually fallen, with the vast majority of such unions lasting 10 years or more.

The Holmes-Cruise marriage lasted for six years, but Census numbers for men in Tom’s age bracket (he was 49 when Katie filed divorce papers) may have predicted the outcome:

  • About a third of the marriages involving white American men between 40 and 49 end in divorce
  • Roughly half of those divorced men marry again, with a quarter of their second marriages also failing
  • Only about three percent of twice-divorced men take the plunge again, and the numbers show less than a quarter of those subsequent marriages succeed

Statistics aside, though, experts say the kids of parents with multiple spouses are the ones who tend to suffer most — among other negative outcomes, they have a higher likelihood of getting divorced themselves later on.

But since some of that is also tied to poverty, little Suri Cruise may be able to sidestep the fallout of her dad’s inability to make a marriage work. Tom Cruise may be many things, but broke isn’t one of them.


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