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People always say that celebrity deaths come in threes -- and as of this week, that same rule applies to celebrity break-ups. Don't misunderstand us: We don't think that all three famous couples -- Christina Aguilera and Jordan Bratman, Courteney Cox and David Arquette, Laura Dern and Ben Harper -- conspired to end their marriages at the same time. But because their separation announcements came so close together, we can't help but look for a pattern.
Although the three relationships seemed very different, did their break-ups share similar causes? It's pure speculation, but here are a few common sources of marital tension that may have ripped all three couples apart.
Parenthood pressures: All three couples have young children together: Cox's daughter Coco is 6, Aguilera's son Max is 2, and Dern's son Ellery, 9, and daughter Jaya, 6. Balancing work, romance and family can be an impossible challenge, as any new parent knows. There are also rumors that Arquette and Cox were struggling with secondary infertility, which -- if true -- can definitely put a strain on a relationship.
Income inequality: A controversial study released last month showed that women who earned more than their husband were more likely to get divorced. We know this is the case for Aguilera and Cox, who earn millions more than their respective hubbies. Dern and Harper may be an exception, though; the rumor is that Harper's music career has been way more lucrative than Dern's acting career.
Career changes: All three women have experienced big career shifts in the past two years. Aguilera is attempting to start a movie career with Burlesque; Cox successfully launched a TV comeback with Cougartown; and Dern returned to the spotlight with her Golden Globe-winning role in the HBO film Recount. A life shift can often be a difficult thing for a relationship -- even if it's a positive one.
The honeymoon is over: Perhaps this one goes without saying, but it sounds like the romance had fizzled out of all three relationships long ago. Arquette says that he and Cox had gone months without sex; Us Weekly reports that Aguilera and Bratman became "more like friends than husband and wife;" and Harper's divorce papers report that the couple separated in January, even though they've been living together all year.
As of now, all three couples are keeping quiet about their separations (with the exception of Arquette, who overshared with Howard Stern). Hopefully, the drama will be minimal, especially when it comes to the kids. We don't think we can handle another Mel Gibson-type custody battle this year!
Why do you think most celebrity couples break up? Chime in below!