Why Hugh Grant’s Marriage Matters
Te actor has long spoken out against monogamy and marriage; has he found a way to individualize his union?
Actor Hugh Grant got married last week to his longtime partner, Swedish television producer Anna Eberstein, the first time the father of five has tied the knot. He’s 57.
That in and of itself is not weird — more couples are having children outside of marriage and many “perpetual bachelors” marry later in life, as George Clooney, even though he had been married previously. But Grant has been pretty vocal about why he doesn’t believe in marriage.
“I have known a few good marriages, but very few. And others look to me like they’re pretty miserable. I don’t really think that’s a recipe for happiness,” he said.
No fan of monogamy
And although he’s had several high-profile long-term relationships, including with British star Elizabeth Hurley, he also admitted that he isn’t a fan of monogamy:
Do I think human beings are meant to be in 40-year-long monogamous, faithful relationships? No, no, no. Whoever said they were? Only the Bible or something. No one ever said that was a good idea. I think there’s something unromantic about marriage. You’re closing yourself off.”
Up until now, he’s been a man of his word: two of his children were born to two women he was not married to — Eberstein and Tinglan Hong — who were pregnant at the same time.
Eberstein has been just as vocal about marriage as Grant has, tweeting: “Marriage is dead (and boring). Long live other options.”
OK … and yet here we have two people who say they don’t believe in marriage and still opt to marry. What happened?
There are many reasons why people who say they are anti-marriage might want to wed, government perks and privileges among them. Grant and Eberstein haven’t said why — not should they have to — yet my gut tells me it isn’t for that. Grant is worth a lot of money so he certainly doesn’t need to tap into all the goodies he could get and actually could have a lot to lose if he ends up divorced, but Eberstein has her own financial stuff going on. I certainly hope they have a prenup.
My gut also doesn’t think that they are caving into social pressure to marry or a desire to make their relationship “legit.”
So why wed?
Individualizing their marriage
I don’t know. That said, given the way they feel about the institution, there’s a part of me that thinks that Grant and Eberstein decided that they could create a marriage that would not only suit them, but also their three kids together and Grant’s two children with Hong. That they could create relationships that offered commitment, love and freedom — and my guess is that would include sexual freedom, too — within their romantic relationships, while also offering the same in their parental relationships. In other words, they individualized their marriage (hello, The New I Do!).
Apparently, the two don’t live together and, as a friend said of their lifestyle, “She is a free-spirit and a liberal and I think they’re happy to do what they’re doing. It suits Hugh as he can see his other kids as well.”
Bachelor = ‘selfish’
The press has not been kind to Grant through all this. “[H]ow is Grant faring given he has gone from living a sublimely selfish life to being a father of five in a matter of years?” asks Australia’s The News.
But apparently, being a father matters more to Grant than being a husband. As he’s said:
It was the nicest thing that’s ever happened to me but it happens to be true. It’s just lovely to have all that love around. Suddenly you love someone more than yourself. It’s unheard of in my case and they love you and it’s all enchanting.”
I don’t know this as a fact, but my guess is that Grant and Eberstein may model a way to be married, committed, a good parent and still have the freedoms they had while single. Wouldn’t you want the same?
Want to individualize your marriage? (Of course you do!) Then read The New I Do: Reshaping Marriage for Skeptics, Realists and Rebels (Seal Press). You can support your local indie bookstore or order it on Amazon.
Originally published at omgchronicles.vickilarson.com.