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The world of weird and wacky divorces

Monday, October 27, 2014
When Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, left, and his actor wife Gwyneth Paltrow split earlier this year, she described it as “conscious uncoupling.”

At first I thought it was a prank, a hoax, a muddle of mischief dreamt up by an altered mind. But then I had a friend of a friend in England go the law library and check it from the actual transcript. When I gave it to Jay to read, she reported that she never got to the end because the first paragraphs had her clutching her pearls and grasping for her sanity. 

The case takes the prize for the best Weird But True reason for divorce petitions ever. A legal maco, who must have a very slow practice, had been emailing it to everyone on her contact list. 

Here is how it goes. The husband who had been serving in the Royal Air Force wanted to end his marriage because it had never been consummated, not because the wife was unwilling but because she suffered an unusual physical impediment. She was possessed of all the right external features but instead of a you-know-what, she had more of a cul de sac. 

The wife claimed full disclosure before they were wed but the husband said that even though the deed had been attempted before the wedding, he had put down the failure to the unfavourable circumstances of the attempts. (Judges have such merciful ways of stating facts.) 

Anyway, the husband’s petition was denied because the court ruled that surgery could correct the wife’s defect and a plastic alteration would work as well as the real thing for purposes of consummation. 

Nothing like divorce to bring out the real crazy. The case of the plastic organ was in 1959 but you think the world of divorce has become less wacko since? 

In the UK, a 41-year-old woman called Samantha Lamb gave a kidney to her husband Andy in 2009, only for the creepozoid to leave her shortly after. You guessed it: after the split, she demanded the kidney back. 

Talk about holding a grudge. A 99-year-old Italian man filed for divorce in 2011 after discovering letters which revealed his wife had an affair 60 years earlier. 

In the James Bond movie For Your Eyes Only, Roger Moore learns the location of an important rendezvous point after a parrot squawks, “ATAC to St Cyril’s.” 

Never keep any kind of talking bird around when having an affair. A woman in China took a pet parrot to her lawyers as evidence. After being away from home for a month, she returned to hear the bird repeating “divorce”,“Be patient”, and “I love you.” 

Divorces are messy, no matter how much the parties claim they are honouring and respecting each other, which is what all the celebrities like to say. But at least, we can try to keep the cray-cray away by calling hell what it is instead of a summery interlude. 

When Gwyneth Paltrow, named The Most Beautiful Woman in the World by People last year, recently split from husband Chris Martin after 11 years of marriage, she annoyed millions by calling the impending divorce a “conscious uncoupling.” Where’s the fun in that? Can’t she just tell us if the parrot talked too much? 

It will take a while to unpack Paltrow’s aspirational concept. 

Meanwhile, be thankful your problems do not include a cul de sac makeover.


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