Does Britney Spears Take Marriage Too Lightly? Dr. Ruth Weighs In

I try my best to avoid being judgmental about what celebrities do. I did make one exception recently when Britney Spears got married and then had it quickly annulled, and I'm going to do it again concerning her engagement to someone whom she's been dating for such a short time and who has already fathered a child with another woman who is currently expecting their second.

Being a celebrity is a wonderful opportunity. As Dr. Ruth, it's great to make a phone call and get something that a noncelebrity couldn't. But the perks come with responsibilities. Millions of young girls, including my granddaughter, admire people like Britney. When they see her treating marriage so lightly, as I believe her behavior has shown, what effect does it have on all these young people? Of course teenagers are also influenced by their parents and families, and the vast majority won't elope with the boy next door just because of what Britney has done. But, sadly, some will. Some will think that if Britney did it, it's okay for them to do it too.

While I appreciate how difficult it can be to live the fishbowl existence, I don't believe it is enough of an excuse to abandon the responsibilities of celebrityhood. In Queen Elizabeth's day, it was called noblesse oblige, the obligations of being a noble person. If Britney, or any celebrity, is going to accept the accolades and financial reward offered by having legions of adoring fans, then she also has to think twice about what messages she sends them. I hope that she is truly in love with this young man and that the marriage will last forever. But if I read in six months that they broke up, then I will be very sad; not for Britney but for all the young girls she will have had a negative influence on when it comes to the respect owed the institution of marriage.

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