Starting Over

Russell Brand, Katy Perry, and More Stars Who Broke Up at New Year’s (PHOTOS)

From Katy Perry and Russell Brand to Chaz Bono, see stars who fell prey to the end-of-year curse.

Katy Perry and Russell Brand’s sudden divorce filing capped off a string of end-of-year breakups that left stars all alone while the ball dropped. From Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey to Chaz Bono and Jennifer Elia, see stars who fell prey to the New Year’s curse.

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Russell Brand and Katy Perry

There’s no doubt the English comedian and the Christian girl turned pop goddess had one of the quirkiest marriages in pop culture, from their lavish Hindu wedding in India to their incessant Twitter banter. But 2011 must have taken its toll: Russell and Katy announced suddenly on Dec. 31 that they are getting a divorce after just 14 months of marriage. Rumors have it that Russell took official responsibility for the split—he filed the papers—so that Katy could avoid upsetting her evangelical parents.

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Sinead O’Connor and Barry Herridge

It wasn’t just one singer who called it quits just in time for 2012: on Christmas Eve, Irish singer Sinead O’Connor ended her 16-day marriage to drug counselor Barry Herridge. Herridge, who was O’Connor’s fourth husband, answered an online posting by O’Connor calling for potential suitors. In a long message posted on her website, O’Connor explained that a wild search for weed on the couple’s wedding night in Las Vegas, as well as negative reactions from Herridge’s family, led them to reconsider the match.

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Debra Messing and Daniel Zelman

Law & Order actress Debra Messing and Damages producer Daniel Zelman’s marriage didn’t last past New Year’s 2012, but that doesn’t mean they’re getting a divorce. The couple said they are “separating” after 11 years of marriage, but they will continue living together in New York to raise their 7-year-old son. “They have been a couple for 20 years, and the nature of their relationship simply changed over time,” their rep explained.

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Chaz Bono and Jennifer Elia

Talk about a bad end to a good year. Chaz Bono spent 2011 in the glow of a documentary about his long process of transitioning from female to male. He had a long run on Dancing With the Stars and proposed to his longtime girlfriend, Jennifer Elia, on the premiere episode of his Oprah Winfrey Network reality show, Being Chaz. But just before Christmas, the couple’s rep confirmed that they were no longer together. The breakup was something of a mystery after Jennifer stuck with Chaz through his transition and spoke candidly about their relationship in the documentary.

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Scarlett Johansson and Ryan Reynolds

December 2010 brought a fatal chill to the marriage of two of Hollywood’s sexiest stars two years after their small, outdoorsy wedding on an island near Vancouver. Sources said Scarlett had been unhappy with the time spent apart, required by their demanding schedules, and was looking for a way out. But the couple was just as tight-lipped about their breakup as they had been about their union, saying only that they ended their relationship in “love and kindness.”

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Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey

If you’re looking for the opposite of ScarJo and Ryan’s quiet divorce, you’ll find it just before New Year’s 2005, when Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey announced the end of their three-year marriage. The breakup was foreshadowed by Lachey’s behavior at a wild bachelor party and comments from Joe Simpson, Jessica’s father, that the couple fought a lot and at times wanted to leave each other. It might be just gossip, but the celebrity media was abuzz with rumors that Jessica still wasn’t over the split when Nick married TV personality Vanessa Minnillo in November 2010.

Frazer Harrison

Brody Jenner and Jayde Nicole

Breakup or fake-up? You can never be quite sure with The Hills, the MTV reality show that straddles the line between organic drama and scripted narrative. Hills stars Brody Jenner and Jayde Nicole broke up on the season finale, but fans believed it was just staged for the show. They seemed to be right up until just before New Year’s, when Jayde tweeted cryptically about their relationship and shortly afterward was seen celebrating the breakup with 12 girlfriends. Meanwhile, Brody tweeted excitedly that he was going to Australia “by myself” to start a new life.