The "Oscar curse," real or Hollywood invention?

Thu Mar 18, 2010 8:07pm EDT
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By Jill Serjeant

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - They turn heads on the red carpet, are besieged by the world's top designers, give tearful acceptance speeches, and go home with a little gold man called Oscar.

But shortly after many actresses win the movie industry's highest honor, their most important relationships fall apart in what has become known in Hollywood as the "Oscar curse."

Sandra Bullock and Kate Winslet, the 2010 and 2009 best actress Oscar winners, this week joined Halle Berry (2002), Julia Roberts (2001), Reese Witherspoon (2006) and Hilary Swank (2005) on that list.

Bullock's husband of five years, motorcycle enthusiast Jesse James, responded to allegations of cheating on Bullock with an apology on Thursday for the grief he had caused. The reasons behind the separation of Winslet from her film director husband Sam Mendes have so far remained private.

Tom O'Neil of the awards website, pondered the link between such breakups and Oscar glory.

"Is it because victory goes to their heads and these women become impossible divas?," O'Neil wrote in a blog. "Or is it because their men are overly macho types who can't tolerate being upstaged?"

In Bullock's case, In Touch Weekly magazine this week quoted a model in California as saying she slept with James while his wife was in Atlanta last year filming what would be her Oscar-winning role in dramatic movie "The Blind Side."

New York divorce lawyer Paul Talbert dismissed the notion of an Oscar curse, saying such breakups were more likely a result of long absences by one partner in a marriage.   Continued...

<p>Actress Sandra Bullock smiles with her best actress Oscar after winning for her role in "The Blind Side" backstage at the 82nd Academy Awards in Hollywood March 7, 2010. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson</p>