When you get divorced, you quickly learn who are your friends and who are your frenemies. Madonna must be smiling because Gwyneth Paltrow and Trudie Styler are publicly rallying behind their pop star pal.
And let’s face it, when you are emotionally raw, you need faithful friends to vent to, even if you are a superstar.
Paltrow, who is married to Coldplay singer Chris Martin, sounds like she is giving the cold shoulder to Madonna’s soon-to-be ex, filmmaker Guy Ritchie. “I'm supporting her in all the ways that I can,” says Paltrow. “I'm just there for her. I speak to her a lot.”
Paltrow spoke about their friendship at the premiere of her film “Two Lovers” at the London Film Festival. She, like Madonna, lives part time in London.
Producer Trudie Styler, who is married to Sting, and is responsible for introducing Madonna to Ritchie 10 years ago, confirmed that their relationship had been in turmoil for quite a while.
“I love them both,” she told Access Hollywood with the diplomacy of a U.N. ambassador. “Obviously they’ve been struggling for a while. They're both dear friends of mine and all good things sometimes come to an end.”
And then she added, “I think they're destined to become great pals.”
Every divorced woman can’t help but monitor who is in her camp and who is in her ex’s camp. Although conventional wisdom says that a friend shouldn’t be asked to choose sides, it is very hard for someone getting divorced to share their innermost thoughts, knowing that you could be talking to a spy. Friends get divided into categories.
Some are cashmere. Some are wool. Some are polyester.
Her loyal circle — as comforting and enduring as cashmere — consists of the ones Madonna can call and ask, “His new girlfriend isn’t thinner than me, is she?” and know that a real friend will say, “Who could have be as buff as you? Plus, you have a better personality.”
Friends are not just cashmere, but a firewall between a woman and her broken heart. They can offer shopping trips for distraction. They will studiously neglect to mention if they saw the ex with anyone else, or even if they saw the ex looking happy.
They also take the late-night S.O.S. calls and don’t mind the extreme self-absorption because they know it will eventually pass and soon it maybe their turn.
That “wool” friend is reliable, if not cozy. She (or he) will be neutral and steadfast in being friends with both of the spouses. Such friends will not allow bad-mouthing though they may pass on information like “Did you know Madonna is now joining Lourdes for her martial arts classes? Look out!”
These friends aren’t always interested in hearing how your heart has been sautéed on a Weber grill, and are surprised you’re upset that she and her hubby actually discussed double dating with your ex.
They will be the ones who say, in a monotone, “Isn’t it time you get on with your life.” And you want to scream, “What life do you expect me to get on with since this has been my life for the past eight years!!” But you just smile because you know this is not a real friend, the kind who will help you through this bumpy period before you find your happily ever after once again.
The polyester friends, those that disintegrate and are often referred to as frenemies, ask too many prying questions and enjoy theirschadenfreude. They want you to pour your heart out, and then they pour whatever you said to everyone else, including the dentist, the drycleaner, the cashier at the supermarket, and the manicurist.
They are also the ones who will say, “Oh guess who I introduced your ex to, hope you don’t mind” and gleefully ruin your day. They are the ones who have a dinner party Saturday night but you are not invited. These “friends” will see you only at lunch. They are not your friends and to be avoided like a virus.
It may take some clever wriggling out of those polyester friendships, but luckily for Madonna, she knows how to wriggle.
Moreover, she is a professional chameleon who has spent a lifetime transforming herself. And she has the advantage of already surviving a divorce — from Sean Penn — and knowing that she can get through the process.
Indeed, our bets are on Madonna. She will not only survive, but she will reinvent herself again.