Newsmakers ’09: Breakups

Kate and Jon Gosselin, and Paul Haggis and Scientology

Paul Haggis and Scientology
Risking Hollywood ignominy, the Oscar-winning director publicly crashed and burned his 35-year alliance with Tom Cruise’s place of worship in a letter blasting the church for its “tacit” support of a same-sex marriage ban. Fuelling the London, Ont., filmmaker’s ire was the “terrible personal pain” his wife suffered when she was ordered to shun her parents after they quit the religion.
Kate and Jon Gosselin
After 10 years, a zillion diaper changes, five seasons of film-crew chaos, a tummy tuck and sundry cosmetic surgeries, the Jon & Kate Plus 8 parents cancelled their marriage (and TV show), each accusing the other of infidelity. They did agree in separate back-to-back interviews that the intrusive tabloid media they courted contributed to their split and that they would leave their nine-year-old twins and five-year-old sextuplets in the Pennsylvania mansion on 10 hectares, while mom and dad move in and out “to minimize the disruption.”

Dany Heatley and the Ottawa Senators
The disgruntled forward finally got his wish to be traded, but not before his veto of a trade to the Edmonton Oilers made him a national pariah. Let’s hope the climate is warmer in San Jose for the newest Shark.

Greg Norman and Chris Evert
The ESPN fairy-tale union between the retired golf great and former tennis champ came at the cost of two marriages, a US$103-million settlement for Norman’s wife of 26 years, and US$2.3 million for a blowout Bahamian wedding. Fifteen months later it was kaput due to dissenting adult children and intractibility over whose lavish abode to set up house in.

Arlen Specter and the Republican party

Claiming he was increasingly “at odds with Republican philosophy,” the veteran Pennsylvania senator crossed the floor in a spring switchover that put the Senate Democrats one vote shy of a filibuster-proof majority of 60 seats and further solidified the ideological divide between the two parties.

Antarctica and the Wilkins ice shelf
The Jamaica-sized ice shelf continues its breakaway from the world’s southernmost continent, with the last major fracture recorded in April. It’s the tenth and largest ice shelf to give ground in the past 50 years.

Steven Page and the Barenaked Ladies
Fans of the beloved band were bereaved when its bespectacled lead singer and songwriter tweeted he was exiting the group he co-founded in 1988 to pursue a solo career, in the wake of an annus horribilis capped by a bust for cocaine possession.

Avril Lavigne and Deryck Whibley
The pint-sized pride of Napanee, Ont., finally said “c u l8er boi” to the Toronto-born Sum 41 lead singer after six years together, three as husband and wife. Known for their public spats, the couple took pains to declare each other “amazing” on their fan websites post-split.

Princess Taiping split
No lives were lost, no movie will be made. But the sinking of the replica 17th-century junk had its own pathos. The seacraft, built to prove that Chinese mariners could have reached America before Columbus or Magellan, was sliced in two by a cargo vessel near Taiwan one day short of completing its 27,360-km crossing of the Pacific Ocean.

Ian Davey and Michael Ignatieff
So much for political loyalties. The filmmaker son of famed Liberal “Rainmaker” Keith Davey recruited the Harvard intellectual, ran his failed leadership bid and served as chief of staff after Ignatieff was anointed leader—only to be dumped without warning for former Chrétien aide Peter Donolo. Fed up, Davies decamped to Toronto, taking with him girlfriend Jill Fairbrother, who quit as the party’s director of communications.

EnCana divided
Hoping to create 200 jobs and pump up the stock price, EnCana, the Calgary-based oil giant, revived its May 2008 scheme to divide itself into two distinct energy companies—one oil, one natural gas—that will share headquarters. The original plan had been kiboshed due to economic uncertainty and plummeting energy prices.

Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn

There were some achin’ hearts when country duo Brooks & Dunn announced they’d agreed to “call it a day” after 20 years, 10 studio albums and numerous No. 1 hits, including Boot Scootin’ Boogie and My Maria. Before they walk into the sunset alone, though, they’ll squeeze out a 2010 farewell tour, the Last Rodeo.