A study has revealed a correlation between attractiveness and divorces. The high rate of Hollywood divorces could stem from good-looking people being less inclined to settle down long term (pictured attractive divorcees Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes)
Beautiful people may appear to have it easy in life.
But it turns out they are actually unlucky in love – as their relationships are more likely to end, research reveals.
A study which explains the high rate of Hollywood divorces has found that being attractive could actually be a ‘relationship liability’.
Even if people are not looking to poach you, being good-looking makes you more likely to cheat and be attracted to other people. While few people will be reaching for their violins, this leads to a higher break-up rate for the most beautiful.
The findings come from Harvard University, whose researchers looked at celebrities for fresh insights into the splits of Hollywood power couples like Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin or Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes.
They found the top 20 actors and actresses from the IMDB website and the 100 most powerful celebrities were more likely to be divorced and had shorter marriages.
Trying to figure out the reasons why, the researchers asked two women to judge the attractiveness of 238 men from a high school yearbook. The men who were rated most attractive also were more likely to have short marriages and divorces.
Relationships last because people are not drawn to other people, or play down how good-looking, funny or clever people other than their partner are. But good-looking people, shown photographs of people of the opposite sex, rated them as more attractive – a ‘relationship-threatening behaviour’ which suggests they might be tempted to cheat.
Lead author Dr Christine Ma-Kellams said: ‘There are a lot of good reasons why we pick people who are good looking, because facial symmetry in men can be a sign of health and virility and beauty in women a sign they have good hormones for reproduction.
‘The message is that we all value physical attraction, but it may make people who are unhappy in their relationships more likely to pursue alternative relationships and so perhaps it is not always a good thing.’
Previous studies have found that while good-looking people get paid more, are happier and assumed by others to be friendly and intelligent, there are some downsides. One is that other people are jealous of them, which can make life difficult.
Those of normal attractiveness may like to think they would not stray, but the study suggests they can fall victim to ego too.
Made to feel more beautiful, by being shown pictures of ugly people and then asked to rate their own attractiveness, these people rated pictures of strangers more highly. In other words, when they thought they were better looking, people were more likely to be interested in infidelity.
The study concludes that a relationship with someone attractive is more ‘vulnerable to threats’, particularly when going through a rough patch.
The Harvard study found that the top 20 actors and actresses from the IMDB website and the 100 most powerful celebrities were more likely to be divorced and had shorter marriages (pictured Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin)
It builds on previous evidence that the most beautiful people have more partners, cheat more and attract more ‘short-term mating interest’. They are more likely to be ‘poached’ from their partners, suggesting another reason why their relationships may fail.
Also involving the University of La Verne in California and Santa Clara University, the research is published in Personal Relationships, the journal of the International Association for Relationship Research.
It concludes: ‘These findings suggest that the more favourable traits possessed by physically attractive individuals can stand as a relational liability and thus may confer benefits to the individual at hand (the physically attractive person), but not the relationship at stake.
‘Thus, from an evolutionary perspective, physical attrractiveness remains a trait that is highly selected for, but from a relationship maintenance perspective, this highly desirable trait can come at a cost to the relationship itself.’