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Hollywood Craze: Baby Before Marriage
May 15, 2006

By James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
contributor to

First comes love, then comes...

I know you're thinking "marriage." But when it comes to Hollywood, the next word in the old rhyme is quickly becoming B-A-B-Y.

One of the hottest Tinseltown trends these days involves reversing the longstanding tradition that marriage precedes the arrival of the stork.

Big-name celebrity couples who have decided to have children prior to wedlock were recently cited by relationship expert Dr. Ian Kerner in Star Magazine.

"Hollywood tends to buck convention," Kerner informs.

Kerner brings up financial hassles like pre-nups and custody battles to explain celebrities' unorthodox approaches and attendant difficulties. "Without the rings, they have to work that much harder to send that message of stability and love to their kids," Kerner explains.

Notable examples of celebrities who are sending our impressionable youth a revised message regarding bundle-of-joy timing are:

  • Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes

Tom flipped over Katie on Oprah's couch. About three months later Katie was with child. The two have since been blessed with a little girl, Suri, but have yet to set a wedding date.

Cruise does vow, though, that he "won't let this woman get away."

  • Madonna, Carlos Leon and Guy Ritchie

Mega pop star and children's book author Madonna never did marry personal trainer Leon, the father of her now 9-year-old daughter, Lourdes. She did, however, marry current husband Ritchie, but not until four months after Rocco, their son, was born.

In a nod to her priorities, Madonna explains, "The whole point of being in a relationship and having children is that you learn to love unconditionally."

  • Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams

Ledger allegedly fell for his co-star Williams during the filming of "Brokeback Mountain." The Cupid occurrence may or may not have been related to Heath's inability to "quit" Jake Gyllenhaal's on-screen alter ego.

Heath and Michelle are now mom and dad to 6-month-old Matilda.

The Oscar-nominated pair is engaged but haven't set a date yet. They plan on having more kids.

"I don't feel I need a piece of paper to validate the love I have for [Michelle]," says Heath.

If Matilda could speak, her sentiments might be a bit different.

Two Hollywood examples of putting baby's societal concerns first and making the appropriate adjustments are:

  • Ben Affleck and Jennifer Garner

After Affleck recovered from his overly publicized romance with Jennifer Lopez, the actor found himself involved with a new Jennifer, one who could apparently also serve as his bodyguard.

After dating "Alias" star Jennifer Garner for nearly a year, Affleck and Garner were married on a Caribbean beach. Garner was four months pregnant at the time.

They've since been graced with a little girl named Violet, who is now about 5 months old. If she could speak, she might say she's pleased about her legitimacy but would prefer her mom's last name.

  • Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso

"Bourne Supremacy" star Matt Damon got engaged to Luciana Barroso, his girlfriend of two years, in May 2005.

They reportedly rushed the wedding, opting for a ceremony at NYC's City Hall after finding out that Luciano was four months pregnant.

The couple's baby is due in June.

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James L. Hirsen, J.D., Ph.D.
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