Special to WorldTribune.com
At this year’s Grammy Awards, married singers Beyoncé and Jay Z performed a racy number onstage that included his fondling of her posterior — right before the prying eyes of a boisterous live audience and millions watching on television.
Beyoncé sang “Drunk In Love” on a spinning chair in a scant black outfit — otherwise known as lingerie — while simulating sex and expressing her carnivorous sexual appetite in the lyrics. Her husband joined her onstage and they continued the raunchy scene by rubbing bodies together. The audience applauded the spectacle uproariously, celebrating the marriage and talents of an American powerhouse couple.
Yet, rather than cheering we should be crying. This behavior usually means there is trouble at home; the couple is devouring their marriage right before our eyes.
Consider the pattern of other previous renowned couples who did the same.
In the 1990s, Kim Basinger was widely regarded as one of America’s most beautiful women. In 1993, she married Alec Baldwin, a rising movie star who had made a splash as Jack Ryan in The Hunt for Red October (1990). The proud husband showcased his wife in a vivid sex scene with him in the movie The Getaway (1994). Both were in fact fully nude during the scene. Yet, all the steam they generated onscreen was not enough: the tabloids were filled with the couple’s frequent public spats — and they divorced bitterly in 2002.
Actors Demi Moore and Bruce Willis were at the peak of their stardom throughout their tumultuous marriage from 1987 to 2000. They often graced the red carpet in tandem and were the talk of Tinseltown for both their talent and good looks. By 1996, Ms. Moore became at the time the highest-paid actress in film history; she won a Golden Globe Award as Best Actress for her work in Ghost (1990) and was acclaimed for her performance in A Few Good Men (1992) and Indecent Proposal (1993). Mr. Willis rose to Hollywood’s A-list with his work in the blockbuster Die Hard series, Twelve Monkeys (1995), The Fifth Element (1997) and Armageddon (1998). Together, for a time, they were Hollywood royalty. Ms. Moore even gave birth to three children, while reigning supreme as one of the nation’s great beauties.
Yet, despite marriage and motherhood, Ms. Moore increasingly advertised her body. In 1991, she appeared nude on the cover of Vanity Fair — while seven months pregnant with daughter Scout. The cover shoot by Annie Leibovitz sparked a national debate. The following year, Ms. Moore replicated the media flurry with another nude cover portrait for Vanity Fair — this time she was painted in a body suit. She bared flesh again in Striptease (1996) while playing a stripper — even appearing totally in the buff in the film promotional poster.
In other words, Ms. Moore’s career increasingly became overshadowed by her scandalous, indecent behavior.
And what did all this heat ultimately generate for the glamorous couple? Divorce in 2000, amid rumors that Mr. Willis had a “zipper problem.” Looks like his wife’s repeated public nudity was an attempt to get his attention more than ours, after all.
A similar pattern occurred for another red-hot Hollywood couple, Nicole Kidman and Tom Cruise. They married in 1990 at the point where Ms. Kidman’s career was just beginning to be noted following her performance in Dead Calm (1989) and Days of Thunder (1990). Mr. Cruise, on the other hand, was already a household name due to his work in successful movies such as Risky Business (1983), Top Gun (1986), The Color of Money (1986) and Rain Man (1988). Together, they had talent and looks galore, starring in films that earned them highest movie honors at the Golden Globes and Academy Awards; they even regularly topped lists of “best dressed” for Ms. Kidman and “sexiest man” for Mr. Cruise.
And what did the couple do with all this success and fame? They starred together in the sexually charged film Eyes Wide Shut (1999), directed by Stanley Kubrick. Ms. Kidman appeared nude, along with dozens of other women and she and her husband also performed an erotic scene together. But much of the controversy the movie generated was drowned out by repeated reports that Mr. Cruise is gay, which he denies amid lawsuits for defamation. In 2001, the couple separated and Mr. Cruise blindsided his wife and mother of two children, by filing for divorce.
Even more recently, the pop music couple who made waves in America, Latin America and across the world — Marc Anthony, the Grammy-Award winning singer-songwriter, and Jennifer Lopez, the actress and singer known for both her beauty and multi-faceted talents — performed together during the American Idol finale in May, 2011. By then, they had been married since 2004 and were the parents of twins.
The American Idol performance was steamy with Marc Anthony singing, while his wife shook her body very suggestively all around him. His facial expressions conveyed he regarded her as irresistible, as she rubbed her body against him. At one point, he crooned in a crescendo as she wiggled her buttocks repeatedly for the audience. He looked on with approval and pride. At the end of the performance, host Ryan Seacrest declared: “Now we know what they do at home!”
Not so fast. Two months later, the couple announced their separation, divorcing in 2012. That year, Ms. Lopez launched her hit single “Dance Again” which features lyrics about re-finding one’s sexual prowess after many years of negligence. Looks like all that shaking and hollering onstage was, again, much ado about nothing.
Hence, we can safely surmise that when famous married couples showcase their sexual potency for the world, it usually means the fire is not burning at home.
Here is some advice for Beyoncé and Jay Z: if you are still married next year, during the 57th annual Grammy Awards, stay home and take care of your private affairs. Otherwise, you will be another statistic in the long list of famous couples cheered by the public for their sex appeal, while lonely in the marital bed.
Grace Vuoto is the Editor of Politics and Culture at World Tribune, host of American Heartland with Dr. Grace on WTSB Radio and is the founder of the Edmund Burke Institute for American Renewal.