Skip to main content

Why did Angie and Brad bother to get married?

By Peggy Drexler
August 29, 2014 -- Updated 1330 GMT (2130 HKT)
The lives of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, both on and off the big screen, make headlines around the world. A representative for Angelina Jolie confirmed the couple were married in August in a small, private ceremony in France. The couple have six children together and have been together for nine years. The lives of Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, both on and off the big screen, make headlines around the world. A representative for Angelina Jolie confirmed the couple were married in August in a small, private ceremony in France. The couple have six children together and have been together for nine years.
HIDE CAPTION
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie
<<
<
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
>
>>
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Peggy Drexler: Angelina and Brad seemed to be doing just fine without tying knot
  • Drexler says marriage in U.S. is at a record low, but it still offers substantial benefits
  • Drexler: Couples who make intentional choice, or live together first, more likely to last

Editor's note: Peggy Drexler is the author of "Our Fathers, Ourselves: Daughters, Fathers and the Changing American Family" and "Raising Boys Without Men." She is an assistant professor of psychology at Weill Cornell Medical College of Cornell University and a former gender scholar at Stanford University. Join her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @drpeggydrexler. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN) -- You might have heard: Brad and Angelina secretly tied the knot at last. A spokesperson for the couple announced that the pair wed privately in a nondenominational civil ceremony in France over the weekend. So ends years of speculation as to when, if ever, one of Hollywood's more famously liberal couples will finally make it official. It's official.

Peggy Drexler
Peggy Drexler

The first question, of course: Why now? With the recent, public undoing of some long-term celebrity marriages—Melanie Griffiths and Antonio Banderas, Neil and Pegi Young—it's tempting to wonder why another celebrity couple would even bother. Pitt and Jolie have sustained a seemingly successful relationship (and built a rather large family) without marriage, and the pair is famously liberal besides—the sort of people you might assume are among those a recent Pew Research Center survey found to increasingly consider marriage passé. Conformist. On the road to obsolete.

But while marriage in the United States is indeed at a record low, there are still considerable benefits to getting hitched. Marriage confers many financial rights: Federal provisions provide benefits and protections exclusively to married couples, as they also do to small businesses, homeowners and the unemployed. That's one reason millions of gay Americans, and their friends and supporters, continue to fight for the right to marry traditionally.

It also comes with emotional, psychological and intellectual benefits. According to studies cited by the National Marriage Project, people in happy marriages are healthier, have more and better sex, and are richer than their unmarried counterparts -- not that it matters to Brad and Angie. Research also shows that the more education and financial independence a woman has, the more likely she is to stay married.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie get married

But let's not forget that if you are a celebrity, marriage also does a pretty good job of, you guessed it, garnering press. A cynical view, perhaps, but not unwarranted, especially when you consider Brad and Angelina have never exactly shied away from using their relationship and their children as story hooks. It's hard not to wonder if the announcement of the marriage had anything to do with his upcoming film, "Fury," set for release in October, or hers, "Unbroken," which she directed, due out Christmas Day. Meanwhile, this summer the two began filming "By the Sea," their first film as co-stars since "Mr. and Mrs. Smith," the movie that sparked their romance. At the very least, the many, many reports on their marriage will surely mention these projects, as -- oh, look -- I've just gone and done.

Brad and Angelina's decision to marry after a decade and six children seems like an incredibly informed one that reflects recent research from the National Marriage Project, which finds couples who make intentional decisions regarding "major relationship transitions," rather than just letting things happen because it's the next logical step, are more likely to have successful marriages. And indeed, their union is representative of the rising rates of cohabitation before marriage, which gives people more time to make sure theirs is a good choice.

So maybe that's it. Maybe these two waited so long precisely because they don't take marriage (his second, her third) lightly. Getting more moviegoers in seats as a result? Well, that's just the icing on the proverbial wedding cake.

Read CNNOpinion's new Flipboard magazine

Follow us on Twitter @CNNOpinion.

Join us on Facebook.com/CNNOpinion.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
December 13, 2014 -- Updated 2108 GMT (0508 HKT)
The NFL's new Player Conduct Policy was a missed chance to get serious about domestic violence, says Mel Robbins.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 1740 GMT (0140 HKT)
The slaughter of more than 130 children by the Pakistani Taliban may prove as pivotal to Pakistan's security policy as the 9/11 attacks were for the U.S., says Peter Bergen.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1600 GMT (0000 HKT)
The Internet is an online extension of our own neighborhoods. It's time for us to take their protection just as seriously, says Arun Vishwanath.
December 16, 2014 -- Updated 2154 GMT (0554 HKT)
Gayle Lemmon says we must speak out for the right of children to education -- and peace
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 1023 GMT (1823 HKT)
Russia's economic woes just seem to be getting worse. How will President Vladimir Putin respond? Frida Ghitis gives her take.
December 17, 2014 -- Updated 0639 GMT (1439 HKT)
Australia has generally seen itself as detached from the threat of terrorism. The hostage incident this week may change that, writes Max Barry.
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 2020 GMT (0420 HKT)
Thomas Maier says the trove of letters the Kennedy family has tried to guard from public view gives insight into the Kennedy legacy and the history of era.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1456 GMT (2256 HKT)
Will Congress reform the CIA? It's probably best not to expect much from Washington. This is not the 1970s, and the chances for substantive reform are not good.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 2101 GMT (0501 HKT)
From superstorms to droughts, not a week goes by without a major disruption somewhere in the U.S. But with the right planning, natural disasters don't have to be devastating.
December 15, 2014 -- Updated 1453 GMT (2253 HKT)
Would you rather be sexy or smart? Carol Costello says she hates this dumb question.
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 2253 GMT (0653 HKT)
A story about Pope Francis allegedly saying animals can go to heaven went viral late last week. The problem is that it wasn't true. Heidi Schlumpf looks at the discussion.
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 1550 GMT (2350 HKT)
Democratic leaders should wake up to the reality that the party's path to electoral power runs through the streets, where part of the party's base has been marching for months, says Errol Louis
December 13, 2014 -- Updated 2123 GMT (0523 HKT)
David Gergen: John Brennan deserves a national salute for his efforts to put the report about the CIA in perspective
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 1426 GMT (2226 HKT)
Anwar Sanders says that in some ways, cops and protesters are on the same side
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1439 GMT (2239 HKT)
A view by Samir Naji, a Yemeni who was accused of serving in Osama bin Laden's security detail and imprisoned for nearly 13 years without charge in Guantanamo Bay
December 14, 2014 -- Updated 1738 GMT (0138 HKT)
S.E. Cupp asks: How much reality do you really want in your escapist TV fare?
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1828 GMT (0228 HKT)
Rip Rapson says the city's 'Grand Bargain' saved pensions and a world class art collection by pulling varied stakeholders together, setting civic priorities and thinking outside the box
December 13, 2014 -- Updated 2310 GMT (0710 HKT)
Glenn Schwartz says the airing of the company's embarrassing emails might wake us up to the usefulness of talking in-person instead of electronically
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 2233 GMT (0633 HKT)
The computer glitch that disrupted air traffic over the U.K. on Friday was a nuisance, but not dangerous, says Les Abend
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 1740 GMT (0140 HKT)
Newt Gingrich says the CBO didn't provide an accurate picture of Obamacare's impact, so why rehire its boss?
December 13, 2014 -- Updated 0040 GMT (0840 HKT)
Russian aggression has made it clear Ukraine must rethink its security plans, says Olexander Motsyk, Ukrainian ambassador to the U.S.
December 12, 2014 -- Updated 0046 GMT (0846 HKT)
The Senate committee report on torture has highlighted partisan divisions on CIA methods, says Will Marshall. Republicans and Democrats are to blame.
December 11, 2014 -- Updated 1833 GMT (0233 HKT)
It would be dishonest to say that 2014 has been a good year for women. But that hasn't stopped some standing out, says Frida Ghitis.
ADVERTISEMENT