Real Talk From Famous Women Who Have Had Their Heart Broken

They say celebrities are just like us, but are they really? They have so much more money than us, they live in nicer houses than us, and they’ve been able to turn their passions into a career. In some ways, it seems like they don’t have any problems at all. The thing is, love and heartbreak don’t discriminate. It affects everybody, regardless of income level or fame.

These celebrities have felt heartbreak just like the rest of us, and in some ways, the heartbreak was even more intense because they’ve had to get over it in the public eye. Keep reading to find out what Miley Cyrus had to say about Liam Hemsworth during their time apart, and how Ariana Grande feels about the future now that her relationship with Pete Davidson is over.

Friends of Princess Diana’s Husband Suggested She Hide

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Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images
Photo by Tim Graham/Getty Images

Princess Diana’s love life was particularly complicated. Five years into her marriage with Prince Charles, Charles went back to his previous girlfriend, Camilla Parker Bowles, and Diana had an affair with the family’s riding instructor. In 1995 she told the BBC:

“There were three of us in this marriage, so it was a bit crowded. Friends of my husband’s were indicating that I was unstable, sick, and should be put in a home of some sort to get better so I wouldn’t be an embarrassment.” Divorces and infidelity are always difficult, but they’re even more difficult when literally everyone in the world is watching.

Nora Ephron Stopped Letting Divorce Define Her

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Photo by Munawar Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images
Photo by Munawar Hosain/Fotos International/Getty Images

In her book I Remember Nothing: and Other Reflections, Nora Ephron wrote: “People always say that once it goes away, you forget the pain. It’s a cliché of childbirth: you forget the pain. I don’t happen to agree. I remember the pain. What you really forget is love.”

She continued, “Divorce seems as if it will last ­forever, and then suddenly, one day, your ­children grow up, move out, and make lives for themselves. The divorce has lasted way longer than the marriage, but finally it’s over … The point is that for a long time, the fact that I was divorced was the most important thing about me. And now it’s not.”

Jennifer Aniston Keeps Things In Perspective

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Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic
Photo by Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Jennifer Aniston has had a particularly tough time when it comes to love. Somehow, she’s always remained optimistic about the ups and downs of long-term relationships. In 2005 she told Vanity Fair:

“You don’t want to feel that when a marriage ends, your life is over. You can survive anything. Compared to what other people are surviving out there in the world, this is not so bad, in the grand scheme of things. Human endurance is unbelievable. Think of what mothers of soldiers have to rise above! Everything’s relative. Nothing’s broke. Maybe a little bruised.”

Mindy Kaling Can’t Eat With A Broken Heart

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Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images
Photo by Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images

Mindy Kaling spoke about a particularly tough breakup on the Howard Stern Show in 2014. She made an interesting observation about the way her eating habits change when she’s going through a tough time. Mindy said,

“He broke up with me. It was years ago that, that breakup happened … [I was] so sad. Not angry. Sad, sad. That was the hottest I’ve ever looked because I stopped eating. When I get depressed I stop eating. So I was so miserable and so beautiful.”

Emma Stone Was in Physical Pain From a Breakup

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Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Celebrities are not immune to the crushing effects of a breakup, especially in the wake of a relationship they thought would last forever. Sometimes a breakup hurts more than any physical pain you can imagine, but you still have to keep going and move on. Emma Stone described a breakup like this in a 2012 interview:

“I was crawling on the floor. I remember throwing up. Like, within the hour … I have never felt anything quite like that. It was so visceral. It’s like someone has killed you and you have to live through it and watch it happen … It was awful.”

Madonna Focuses On Her Music

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Marco Secchi/Photoshot/Getty Images
Marco Secchi/Photoshot/Getty Images

Back in 2009, Rolling Stone magazine interviewed Madonna. The interviewer quietly brought up the fact that Madonna and Guy Ritchie had recently gotten divorced. Madonna responded,

“You don’t have to lower your voice when you say that. It’s not a bad word. I thought we were talking about music, though. If you can connect the idea of divorce to music, I’ll talk to you about it.” Madonna is not interested in dragging her private affairs into the public. She’d much rather talk about her work, which is far less depressing.

Nicole Kidman Has Jokes

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Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic for HBO

Nicole Kidman was in a very public relationship with Tom Cruise from 1989 to 2001. They got married and adopted two children together. This wasn’t a marriage that was built to last and eventually, both Nicole and Tom figured that out.

In 2001, Nicole went on the Late Show With David Letterman and said, “Well, I can wear heels now.” She was trying to make light of the situation, but I’m sure that sentiment resonated with heartbroken tall girls all over the country.

The Outside Pressure Got In Selena Gomez’ Head

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Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Selena Gomez’s relationship with Justin Bieber was constantly being scrutinized by the media. The pair was super young at the time, but everyone was interested in their personal business. Selena and Justin are no longer together, and they both have moved on to other relationships. Bieber is now happily married to Hailey Baldwin.

In 2016, Selena told W magazine, “At first I didn’t care [about the tabloid scrutiny]. To me, it was: I’m 18, I have a boyfriend, we look cute together, we like that. Then I got my heart broken and I cared. Because people had no idea what was going on, but everywhere it was a million different things.”

Miley Cyrus Realizes She’s Strong Enough to be Alone

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Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for WCRF
Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for WCRF

In 2014, Miley Cyrus spoke to Elle magazine about her breakup with Liam Hemsworth. Miley and Liam got back together and are now married, but at one point, she was happy living her life without him:

“When I went through a really intense breakup — you know, I was engaged — and when I was with [Liam] or when I was on Disney, the thing that gave me the most anxiety was not knowing what to do with myself when Disney wasn’t there to carry me anymore or if I didn’t have him. And now I’m free of both of those things, and I’m fine. Like, I lay in bed at night by myself and I’m totally okay, and that’s so much stronger than the person three years ago, who would have thought they would have died if they didn’t have a boyfriend.”

Katy Perry Explains Two Paths: Nurture or Destruction

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Photo by Jackson Lee/GC Images
Photo by Jackson Lee/GC Images

Katy Perry had a short-lived, very intense marriage with Russel Brand. That marriage is now over and Katy is now happily engaged to Orlando Bloom. In 2014, just after Katy and Russel broke up, Katy told Marie Claire, “There were two weeks of my life after I found out the truth of my marriage where I was like, ‘OK. All right. I can’t feel this. This is too intense right now.’ I was, like, just eating Flamin’ Hot Cheetos and drinking, and that’s it.”

She continued, “There are two ways you can go: You can either nurture yourself or go destructive. I have gone down the destructive path before, and that didn’t work for me. You dig deep beyond those scars and find that soft tissue again, and you massage and nurture it and bring it to life, little by little, through serving yourself well. I did it through hikes and vitamins and therapy and prayer and good friends.”

Uma Thurman Admits It’s a Bitter Pill to Swallow

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Photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images
Photo by Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

In 2008, Uma Thurman told Redbook about how she got through her breakup with Ethan Hawke: “When I was first going through my separation, someone said to me, ‘It will take you half as long as you were in the relationship before you’ll feel better.’ And I wanted to knock them out cold across the table.”

And who wouldn’t? She continued, “Because, of course, I was in agony. And the last thing I wanted to think was that I was going to stay that way for a long time. But interestingly enough, it is over four years later — we were together eight years — and I finally feel like, cool. I feel better.”

Ariana Grande Leans On Her Fans For Support

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Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Billboard
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Billboard

In March 2019, Ariana Grande took to Instagram to express her gratitude to her fans for helping her get through her breakup with Pete Davidson, as well as the loss of her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller.

Arianna wrote, “a few months ago I told my team I wasn’t even in an okay enough place to tour or work at all and my friends, you guys and this music really saved my life and turned everything around. I’m still healing but I feel a lot lighter as of late and I think this is really going to be such a beautiful time. Thank god we are doing this. I can’t imagine what else I’d do and I want you to know how thankful I am.”

The Aftermath Was Hard For Amy Poehler

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Photo by Dan MacMedan/Getty Images
Photo by Dan MacMedan/Getty Images

For a while, it seemed like Amy Poehler and Will Arnett were a match made in comedy heaven. They worked on projects together, they had two children together, and then the got divorced.

In 2014, Amy told Yes Please, “Imagine spreading everything you care about on a blanket and then tossing the whole thing up in the air. The process of divorce is about loading that blanket, throwing it up, watching it all spin, and worrying what stuff will break when it lands.”

Taylor Swift Seeks Clarity Through Song Writing

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Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images
Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images

Taylor Swift knows a thing or two about breakups. She’s been through quite a few public breakups, and it seems like she’s learned her lesson about media pressure. She’s currently in a relationship with British Actor Joe Alwyn, but they stay far away from cameras and the paparazzi most of the time.

in 2012, Taylor told Vogue, “There’s just been this earth-shattering, not recent, but absolute crash-and-burn heartbreak, and that will turn out to be what the next album is about. The only way that I can feel better about myself — pull myself out of that awful pain of losing someone — is writing songs about it to get some sort of clarity.”

Reese Witherspoon Knows It’s Ok To Feel Emotional

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Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Hello Sunshine x Together Live Tour
Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Hello Sunshine x Together Live Tour

Reese Witherspoon met her ex-husband Ryan Philippe at her 21st birthday party. They got married in 1999 and had two children together. They announced their separation in 2006. Reese is now married to Jim Toth and they have one son together.

In 2009, Reese told Elle magazine, “[Divorce is] very humiliating and very isolating … But, by the way, if it’s not painful, maybe it wasn’t the right decision to marry to begin with. Those are the appropriate emotions.”

Anne Hathaway Checks Her Baggage At The Door

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Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images
Photo by Paul Bruinooge/Patrick McMullan via Getty Images

Anne Hathaway is now happily married to Adam Shulman. She gave birth to their son, Jonathan, in 2016. Even though she’s now in a good relationship, that doesn’t mean that she hasn’t experienced her fair share of bad ones.

In 2010 she told The Telegraph, “I think the thing that I have learn[ed] is that a bad love experience is no reason to fear a new love experience. But you have to be very honest at every single stage with the person about how you’ve been hurt, and hopefully they will be supportive about whatever it is that you have to go through … Everybody has bad relationships and, at the end of the day, they are just a great way to set yourself up for a good relationship.”

Gloria Steinem Lets Time Heal Everything

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Photo by Marla Aufmuth/WireImage
Photo by Marla Aufmuth/WireImage

In 2014, famous feminist Gloria Steinem told the New York Times, “Your old lovers get to be your really old lovers, and you can’t remember who broke up with who, or who got mad at who — just that the two of you remember things that no one else in the world does.”

Romantic partners come in and out of your life and each one of them teaches you something about yourself and your path in life. Gloria Steinem knows that you shouldn’t get too hung up on the ones that don’t work out.

Tavi Gevinson Used Fashion For A New Identity

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Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images
Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

In 2014, fashion blogger and actor Tavi Gevinson told New York magazine: “You can’t stay with your high-school sweetheart forever. People do, but you shouldn’t … I flew straight to New York for a wedding and then I visited Taylor Swift at her home in Rhode Island. I hate being heartbroken, but who better to discuss it with than Taylor Swift?”

She continued, “I had some time in Oak Park to reclaim everything that had happened in my life thus far as my own. And actually, coming out of the breakup has kind of reignited my love for fashion, because it’s a way of asserting a new identity and becoming a new person and giving yourself space.”

Elizabeth Gilbert Got Through the Highs and the Lows

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Photo by Marla Aufmuth/WireImage
Photo by Marla Aufmuth/WireImage

In January 2015, Eat, Pray, Love author Elizabeth Gilbert posted “A Letter to the Brokenhearted” on her Facebook page, which read: “If you are among the brokenhearted today, I am so sorry for what you are going through. I know what you are feeling. There’s a hole in the center of your chest that nobody can see, and it feels like your soul is leaking right through it.”

She offered, “You either cannot sleep at all, or you sleep all day. You either cannot eat at all, or you cannot stop eating. You are either dead numb, or you cannot stop sobbing. You are either incapable of working, or terrified that somebody will make you stop working and then you will have to focus on your terrible sorrow. … I guarantee you — we have all been there. Every single one of us. And if we could survive it, you can, too.”

Serena Williams Has Had Her Heart Broken Before

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Photo by Marla Aufmuth/WireImage
Photo by Marla Aufmuth/WireImage

Serena Williams is now happily married to Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian. In 2017, she gave birth to their daughter, Olympia. But things haven’t always been smooth sailing in her love life before Serena found her happily ever after.

Back in 2012, before Serena met Alexis, she told Piers Morgan, “I think everyone kind of goes through [heartbreak]. It definitely isn’t a good feeling. I think having surgery is definitely a lot easier — having a pulmonary embolism is definitely a lot easier than a heartbreak.”

Jennifer Lopez Tended To Her Kids’ Needs

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Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Jennifer Lopez has seen a few of her marriages and relationships end over the years. In 2014 she told Glamour magazine: “Back then the pain hurt so much, but I didn’t want what happened to finish me. I wanted it to help me grow for the better. I didn’t want to just survive it; I wanted to come out of it stronger than I was before. It took a lot of digging to do that.”

She continued, “Right now I’d say it was the hardest thing I’ve ever been through, because of the kids. When you’re this little scrappy girl and things happen, you just cry yourself to sleep. But when you’re responsible for two other human beings and their lives and emotional well being, that’s a biggie. You’re constantly wondering: ‘Am I doing the right thing here?’”

Erykah Badu Advises, “You gotta go all the way through it”

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Photo by Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images
Photo by Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Singer and songwriter Eykah Badu was involved in a relationship with André 3000. They had a son together but broke up in 1999. Their relationship inspired André to write “Ms. Jackson.” In 2015 she posted on Twitter, “My best advice for moving on from a relationship is you gotta go all the way through it. If you don’t want to let go yet, keep on calling and getting hung up on. Keep on following him around and getting embarrassed.”

She continued, “When you get tired enough, you will evolve, I promise. But you gotta go all the way through it. You know, you gotta get your weave snatched out a couple more times. You gotta keep moving. Go through it. You’ll evolve.”

Rihanna Knows The Sun Will Rise Again

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Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty by Rihanna
Photo by Caroline McCredie/Getty Images for Fenty Beauty by Rihanna

Rihanna has been in a few public relationships, most famously with Drake. In 2010 she told Marie Claire: “I was very lost. I have to say I felt really confused. I hate talking about it but it was really crazy because I felt so out of touch with myself and when that happens it’s scary because nothing you say or do feels like it’s you. You just lose touch of everything that you love and everything that you would normally do; how you would dress or how you would say something.

She continued, “Once you’re back on your feet — if you ever make it back on your feet — that’s the ultimate achievement. I remember I was in New York at the Trump Hotel and I woke up and I just knew I was over it. It was a different day. I felt different. I didn’t feel lonely. I felt like I wanted to get up and be in the world. That was a great, great feeling.”

Ava Gardner Gives Herself Space

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Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Actress Ava Gardner was famously married to Frank Sinatra (among other men). In the book Ava: My Story, Ava Gardner wrote: “When you have to face up to the fact that marriage to the man you love is really over, that’s very tough, sheer agony. In that kind of harrowing situation, I always go away and cut myself off from the world.”

She continued, “Also, I sober up immediately when there is genuine bad news in my life; I never face it with alcohol in my brain. I just rented a house in Palm Springs and sat there and just suffered for a couple of weeks. I suffered there until I was strong enough to face it.”

Ellen DeGeneres Explains How Closure Can Be Challenging

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Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for TINEPARK
Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images for TINEPARK

Ellen DeGeneres is now happily married to Portia DeRossi, but in 2001 she told the Los Angeles Times: “What I don’t mind saying is, it was the first time I ever had my heart broken. I’d always been the one to leave relationships, and I had been in long-term relationships, and it was the one time I really believed this is forever.”

She continued, “I’m going to be with this person forever, and I felt safe and I felt we shared so much together, and it was the first time I’ve had my heart broken, and it was in a big way. Because there is no closure. I’ve had a girlfriend who was killed in a car accident. I know what it’s like to lose someone. and that’s a horrible feeling, [but] it’s almost worse to lose someone and know they’re still alive out there, and I don’t understand.”

Elizabeth Wurtzel Is OK With Being Sad

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Photo by Neville Elder/Corbis via Getty Images
Photo by Neville Elder/Corbis via Getty Images

In her famous book Prozac Nation, writer Elizabeth Wurtzel wrote, “I was, after the breakup, what you call a complete wreck. For the first time in my life, my pain had a focus. And I just couldn’t help myself. I didn’t care what anyone thought, I didn’t care that all the girls in school would say.”

She continued, “See, he finally got wise, I didn’t care how stupid I would look with teary mascara stains and purple eyeliner tracks down my cheeks, I didn’t care about anything except how this was the worst pain ever. I used to weep for never having anything worth losing, but now I was simply resplendent — puffy, red, hysterical — with a loss I could identify completely.”

Stevie Nicks Still Longs After Lost Love

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Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia
Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for iHeartMedia

In 2009, MTV reported on the tumultuous relationship between Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham. It was a relationship that was full of creativity, violence, and passion: “That electric crazy attraction between Lindsey Buckingham and Stevie Nicks never dies, never will die, never will go away. He’s married, he’s happy, he has three beautiful children that I love. You know, he’s found a good, happy, calm, safe place — but who Lindsey and I are to each other will never change.”

She continued, “It’s over. It doesn’t mean the great feeling isn’t there, it must mean that … you know, we’re Beauty and the Beast. It means that the love is always there but we’ll never be together, so that’s even more romantic.”

Jerry Hall Finds Forgiveness Is A Tough Place To Be

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Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic
Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

Model and actress Jerry Hall started dating Mick Jagger in 1977. They sort of got married in a ceremony that was like a marriage (but was later ruled not to be) and they have four children together. Jagger and Hall broke up in 1999, and Hall said that Jagger’s infidelity was the reason she broke up with him. But back in 1992, Hall was willing to forgive Jagger for stepping outside of their marriage to find physical intimacy.

In 1992, Jerry told McCall’s magazine, “There is nothing more humiliating than loving him so much that you forgive the infidelities.”

Alexa Chung Saw That Others Care, Even If He Doesn’t

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Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for NET-A-PORTER
Photo by David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for NET-A-PORTER

In 2013, Alexa Chung told It magazine, “I asked my mum instead [about heartbreak] and she told me: ‘Nobody goes through life without having their heart broken and one day you’ll wake up and it will be okay.'”

She continued, “There are upsides to despair. You can wear a blanket instead of a coat and your friends won’t judge you. You can smoke indoors because nobody will have the heart to tell an inconsolable girl that a smoking ban has been in place for eight years. And you find out that people are very nice and that they care about you even if the person you care about most doesn’t. When somebody makes you laugh when you’re sad, that’s the most enjoyable laugh you’ll ever experience.”