March marks Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe’s first unanniversary of their marriage. Believe it or not, it has already been almost one year since Hilary filed for divorce from her husband of eight years. Their relationship began when they were both 18.
“News” sources speculated the split was caused by Chad’s jealousy of his wife’s tremendous success. But Hilary has consistently said that is not the case. So what did cause their relatively long (for Hollywood, anyway) relationship to dissolve?
In the latest issue of Marie Claire Magazine, Hilary states that it was Chad’s substance abuse that caused the couple to part ways:
“Seven months after the separation announcement, Swank revealed to the press that a contributing factor to the end of the marriage was Lowe’s past substance abuse, a disclosure she caught no small amount of hell for from some fans who felt she was selling him out for media attention. Lowe, to his credit, called the claims ‘absolutely true,’ and Swank ‘the love of [his] life.’
It is interesting to note what Hilary apparently revealed to Vanity Fair on the same topic a few months earlier, when she said, “Would I say that (Chad’s) substance abuse problem CAUSED our divorce? No. Would I say that his substance abuse problem helped us? Absolutely not.”
Divorce is generally not a black-and-white issue in most cases, even though the media would like to try to paint it that way when it involves the rich and famous. As Hilary seems to indicate in her earlier comments, it’s more likely that Chad’s substance abuse was NOT the sole reason their marriage didn’t survive. There may have been the issue of competing careers, getting married too young, the two of them coming from different financial backgrounds — any number of things could have weakened their situation, and surely Chad’s substance abuse only caused further complications.
But whether a couple lives in Hollywood, California or Hollywood, Florida — substance abuse itself is a VERY serious problem — one that can also quickly breed other marriage-busters including infidelity, damage of trust, physical and emotional abuse, and more. Unless treated with the necessary rehabilitation and in many cases, couples therapy, substance abuse has the potential to irreparably harm a marriage, and should never be taken lightly. I would never advise entering into a relationship with an addict, but even if your partner has only had a HISTORY of substance abuse, you should seriously consider the potential ramifications of that before entering a lifetime commitment–even IF they are currently sober. While I’m not encouraging co-dependent behavior in the case of an out-of-control abuser who is unwilling to get help, it is imperative for both partners to remember that sobriety is never a quick fix sort of situation. It is an ongoing physical AND emotional battle that must become a lifelong priority for BOTH partners if the marriage is going to work. The moment it ceases to be a priority — the marriage is in grave danger.
While we will likely never be privy to all of the particular variables that may have ultimate led to the demise of Hilary Swank and Chad Lowe’s marriage — the overriding point is that it is NEVER easy when a marriage meets with substance abuse, and it requires an unusually strong partnership to be able to overcome it.
WENDY JAFFE, Esq. is the author of “The Divorce Lawyers’ Guide to Staying Married.” You can get more of Jaffe’s advice and hear a podcast interview at AOL.com, and you may also visit her website at divorcelawyersguide.com.