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Chris Pratt, Anna Faris and why some celebrity breakups leave fans genuinely distraught

The Washington Post logo The Washington Post 07-08-2017 Emily Yahr

© The Washington Post Chris Pratt and Anna Faris, one of the Internet’s most beloved celebrity couples, announced their separation late Sunday night. Within minutes, the news was trending worldwide on Twitter.

“Anna and I are sad to announce we are legally separating. We tried hard for a long time, and we’re really disappointed. Our son has two parents who love him very much and for his sake we want to keep this situation as private as possible moving forward,” Pratt wrote in a statement on Facebook. “We still have love for each other, will always cherish our time together and continue to have the deepest respect for one another.”

Pratt, 38, and Faris, 40, met in 2007 on the set of the comedy “Take Me Home Tonight” and got married two years later. Their son, Jack, was born in 2012.

While both have been working steadily as actors for awhile, Pratt rocketed to A-list status in recent years — as he wrapped up a seven-season stint as the goofy Andy Dwyer on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” he landed a starring role in the massive “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Jurassic World” franchises. Faris’s career also got a big boost as the co-lead in “Mom,” the successful CBS sitcom that debuted in 2013.

Last year, Faris talked about how the sudden fame put a strain on their relationship, particularly tabloid rumors that were “weirdly stinging” to read.

“We grapple with the idea of being a public couple,” she said in December on her podcast, “Anna Faris Is Unqualified.” “I take pride in how great my relationship is with Chris, but having said that, of course, in this crazy world where he’s off doing movies and I’m in L.A. raising our child, of course I’m going to feel vulnerable, like any normal human would … it made me feel incredibly insecure.”

Pratt also opened up about the challenges, particularly with his newly-packed film schedule. He told Entertainment Weekly that between his son turning 7 months and 13 months, he only saw him twice.

“It’s tough,” Pratt said. “Anna told me his first sentence was ‘Dada’s working.’ ”

But these kinds of candid disclosures (hey, they’re just like any couple trying to balance work and family) made them one of the most adored modern celebrity couples. Lists are published regularly with titles such as “23 Times Anna Faris and Chris Pratt Were Couple Goals”; “Just 41 Facts About Anna Faris And Chris Pratt’s Adorable Relationship”; “21 Times Anna Faris and Chris Pratt Revived Our Faith In Love”; “Anna Faris and Chris Pratt’s Cutest Couple Moments.”

The common factor through all of the lists devoted to their love is that even for two stars, they seemed genuinely nice, funny and surprisingly down to earth — a rare combination when it comes to Hollywood.


Sure, they go on a lot of red carpets, but they goof off and do an “awkward prom pose.” Faris may have professional stylists, but she lets Pratt braid her hair. They post hilarious videos and adorable family photos with their son. They prank call each other (on Ellen DeGeneres’s talk show, of course.) Faris was in the front row when Pratt hosted “Saturday Night Live”; Pratt guest-starred on “Mom,” where they made out extensively during the episode.

Predictably, fans were distraught when they learned the news. And yes, people who expressed their sadness acknowledged that Pratt and Faris are strangers to them. Still, they took the announcement pretty hard. Sample comments:

“I have never cared about a celebrity breakup or divorce but I am legit upset over Chris Pratt and Anna Faris separating.”

“I’m honestly really upset about Chris Pratt and Anna Faris separating more than I should be for a couple I don’t know.”

“How am I supposed to go confidently into my week knowing Chris Pratt and Anna Faris aren’t a couple anymore”

“I’m honestly more heartbroken over Chris Pratt and Anna Faris getting divorced than my actual parents.”

“I know it’s ridiculous to care about a relationship involving two people you’ve never met,” reads the first comment under Pratt’s Facebook statement. “I know it’s crazy how much society today value celebrities and their lives. But I honestly am saddened to hear this just because they seemed so perfect for each other.”

Why does this happen with certain celebrity breakups? Why do some doomed couples barely elicit a shrug, and others result in thousands of fans expressing their grief on social media?

At the end of the day — perhaps obviously — it all comes down to the star couples who really do seem just like everyday people, so fans are already more connected. It’s easier now than ever with social media, because when you see Faris and Pratt’s Instagram photos of their movie nights and funny tweets about family vacations pop up in your feed, it’s easy to feel like you actually know them. You automatically get more invested in their relationship.

This phenomenon occurs with comedy couples, most famously Will Arnett and Amy Poehler in September 2012; when they divorced, the Internet practically melted down. This reaction also happens with couples who aren’t even in comedy but seem like they would just be fun to hang out with, such as Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert; Chris Evans and Jenny Slate; or even Ben Stiller and Christine Taylor.

Pratt and Faris embodied that “cool couple,” from their self-deprecating tweets about parenting (“You know how when your child goes into your bathroom and gets quiet? And things seem okay? Then your eyeliner is gone”) to the way they poked fun at each other in interviews but also proudly gushed about their spouse’s accomplishments. So their separation is more upsetting than, say, the news of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston — a shocking split, sure, but they already existed in a glamorous celebrity orbit that seemed far away from reality.

Ultimately, one fan on Twitter summed it up: “Chris Pratt and Anna Faris are getting a divorce and in other news love is dead and there’s no hope for any of us.

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