Four years can be mistaken for a long marriage in Hollywood, but for Lisa Bonet and Jason Momoa, tying the knot served as the coda to their 16-year relationship.
In 2005, Jason Momoa’s teenage dream came true.
He finally came face to face with Lisa Bonet, his Cosby Show crush, at a jazz club in Hollywood, after which they bonded over grits and pints of Guinness at the 101 Coffee Shop. “And, you know, the rest is history,” Momoa told James Corden, regaling the Late Late Show audience with his “anything is f–king possible” love story several years ago.
Already the parents of two kids together, daughter Lola and son Nakoa-Wolf joining Zoë Kravitz—Bonet’s daughter with first husband Lenny Kravitz—in the family fold, the couple opted to marry in October 2017.
“I never thought I would but…I plan on being with her for the rest of my life,” Momoa told E! News that December at the Justice League premiere, Bonet by his side. “But it’s just that moment where,” he made a gesture indicating he was taking it up a notch, “let’s go to the next level. ‘I’ll be here your whole life.'”
Alas, now their relationship really is history (as is the 101 Coffee Shop, which closed after 20 years in 2021, another COVID-19 pandemic casualty).
Momoa and Bonet revealed in a Jan. 12 joint statement he posted on Instagram that they were “parting ways in marriage”—not due to any dearth of love, they assured, but because they were freeing each other “to be who we are learning to become…Our devotion unwavering to this sacred life & our Children.”
All told, they’d been a couple for 16 years, Bonet telling Porter in 2018 that, while they weren’t necessarily “full-on from the moment we saw each other,” they had been “together from the day that we met.”
Fans have since been wondering whether Bonet was foreshadowing the news when she sat down with her A Different World co-star Marisa Tomei for an Interview magazine chat that was published Dec. 21. Tomei asked what had been “calling” her lately.
“Definitely learning how to be authentically me,” Bonet replied, “learning to be new, and following this invitation from the universe to step into this river of uncertainty. We’ve eliminated all this extra noise, and now it’s time to grow our roots deeper into our own values.”
The “invitation from the universe” could also easily be the COVID-19 pandemic—and, frankly, almost everything she said came off as fairly profound—but she is embarking on a new chapter and theoretically navigating a river of uncertainty.
Four years has frequently played the part of forever in Hollywood, but Momoa and Bonet had chugged along for 12 beforehand. Changing times aside, it remains unclear what exactly prompted the couple to reconsider their future together, but they certainly aren’t alone when it comes to marriage serving as the beginning of the end, instead of endgame.
Here are eight other famous duos who certainly thought they knew what they were saying “I do” to when they tied the knot, but whose unions unraveled sooner rather than later:
Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth
The Last Song co-stars were together (and engaged) for almost four years before breaking up in 2013, their young love seemingly having run its course as their respective evolutions took them in separate directions.
However, after what they both would acknowledge was essential time apart, they reunited toward the end of 2015, at first off the radar in Liam’s native Australia, Miley part of the tight-knit, beach-loving Hemsworth family once again. The quickly reinstated their betrothal status, the “Wrecking Ball” singer emerging in early 2016 with a ring on her finger.
As one year went by, and then another, and Miley insisted she was in no rush to actually get married, they made it official on Dec. 23, 2018, losing their Malibu home in a fire beforehand having fueled their desire to finally say “I do.”
Miley said in the March 2019 issue of Vanity Fair that she felt “Zero percent different. I would say that losing the house changed us much more than getting married changed us. We’ve worn rings forever, and I definitely didn’t need it in any way. It actually is kind of out of character for me.”
Maybe too much so. Because barely eight months as husband and wife and after spending the better part of 10 years together, Miley and Liam separated. He filed for divorce that August and they finalized the terms in January 2020.
Ultimately, there was “too much conflict,” Miley said on The Howard Stern Show in December 2020. And to the Scandinavian show Skavlan, she reflected, “In a way, I didn’t spend too much time crying over it, and it wasn’t because I was cold or trying to avoid feeling something, but it was just because it wasn’t going to change it.”
Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt
Another couple of co-stars who fell in love, Brangelina got engaged in 2012 after being together for more than seven years, and four years after their youngest children, twins Knox and Vivienne, were born. Pitt of course presented his beloved with an architecturally impressive ring that he designed himself.
“The kids ask about marriage,” Pitt had told USA Weekend in 2011. “It’s meaning more and more to them. So it’s something we’ve got to look at.”
Jolie also told Nightline that year, “We’ve explained to them that our commitment, when we decided to start a family, was the greatest commitment you could possibly have. Once you have six children, you’re committed.” She added, “I asked them if it was just because they wanted to have a big cake.”
So the parents of six were in no hurry, their engagement perhaps giving all the kids something to look forward but otherwise doing nothing but changing their descriptors to fiancé/fiancée as they continued to traverse the world and trade off as ever-present parent while the other worked.
Then, on Aug. 23, 2014, they quietly went for it at their chateau in France, Jolie wearing a dress decorated with their kids’ drawings, and only a handful of people bearing witness.
“It does feel different,” Jolie acknowledged to Vanity Fair. “It’s nice being husband and wife.”
Two years later came the summer of their discontent, and it was over, Jolie filing for divorce on Sept. 19, 2016, and you would’ve thought in the rocky aftermath that these two, who first went public in 2005, barely knew each other at all.
Lauren Holly and Jim Carrey
“I was with Jim for years, and people didn’t realize—they all think it’s just the marriage that was short, but we were together for a long time,” Holly said on Canada’s George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight in 2013.
True, George’s last name does feel slightly longer than the Dumb and Dumber costars’ 10-month marriage. And on paper, you wouldn’t guess years: the movie came out in 1994, Carrey’s first marriage officially ended in 1995 and then he married Holly in 1996. Sounds pretty whirlwind.
But movies aren’t shot days before they come out and divorces can take awhile, at least two years in this case. (“I feel for Melissa, but they were completely apart when Jim and I met,” Holly told Rolling Stone in 1995. Carrey said of his ex, “She’s lucky to be out of my life. I’m in a different time zone at this point. I was headed there when we were together, so it’s OK. Everything is fine. This is the way it’s supposed to be.”)
“It was sort of when all the tabloids started happening,” Holly recalled the climate in which their relationship flamed and fizzled. “They start to find their voice, and those ‘insider’ shows, and they would go to my high school and everything. And at first it was kind of fun, and then our whole life became about ‘we have to keep them about,’ because they would do things like scale the fence at our house and live in our backyard and take pictures through our window.”
George asked if they ever threw weird stuff in the garbage for the reporters to find just to screw with them.
“Yeah, because I lived with Jim Carrey,” Holly said with a smile. “Rest assured that that happened and…yeah.”
But “when we got divorced, I had a really hard time,” she acknowledged, “because no one really had the story right or anything, and I always felt like everybody knew my personal business—and not to mention the fact that I was going through a heartbreak… So now, I see the shift, where people become famous by courting that attention, and that’s the only thing they’re famous for.”
The talented people she’s always admired, Holly added, “aren’t a part of that.”
And we know Carrey’s view of fame has only grown more complicated as the years have gone by.
Usher and Grace Miguel
They started dating in 2009, not long after Usher’s marriage to Tameka Foster, the mother of his two sons, ended. “Papers” was the first single off his album Raymond v. Raymond that fall.
Usher asked Miguel to marry him in 2015—and she did, months later.
Alas, after spending most of a decade together, they separated in March 2018 and Usher (who succeeded in getting a potentially relationship-altering lawsuit that had been filed against him dismissed in 2017) filed for divorce that December.
Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux
Another couple that you didn’t think would actually get married, because they seemed so perfectly fine with how their dynamic was treating them.
But three years after getting engaged, Jen and Justin did end up marrying each other at their L.A. home, in August 2015—and they separated at the end of 2017 after realizing they weren’t on the same page after all.
“Jennifer and Justin fell in love hard and fast and yet they were never really suited to one another,” a source told E! News when they announced their split. “He was a New York hipster that loved the alternative lifestyle and Jennifer was living a much more reclusive life when they first started to fall in love. The initial chemistry between them made it easy for them to ignore their differences and incompatibility.”