Yesterday, a story in the Daily Mail caught my eye. It was a photo spread showing actor Ashton Kutcher strolling hand-in-hand with girlfriend Mila Kunis through Rome. They were clearing enjoying spending some time together in this romantic city and both look very relaxed in front of the numerous cameras they clearly encountered on their walk. Mila was supposedly in town to shoot scenes for a forthcoming film called The Third Person, which will also star Liam Neeson.
So far so ordinary. There is nothing particularly special about two actors enjoying a romantic break. But Ashton, who stars in popular US sitcom Two And A Half Men, famously split from actress Demi Moore last year.
There are two kinds of relationship: those you walk away from those you walk away from without a backward glance, and those where you have to – or occasionally even want to – stay in touch to some degree. The former may suit those who have gone through a rancorous split but have no lasting ties, but I would say the latter is the more common situation, and not only because of children
Yes, of course, but no matter how bitterly a former couple may feel about each other, people with children have to work together to allow their offspring time with both parents, as is their right. If they can’t won’t do so, stubborn parents will soon find the courts intervening. But of course, the human heart is a complex organ and not everyone splits full of bile and bitterness towards their ex-partner. Regrets, mixed emotions and heartache are just as common.
It is one year since Demi and Ashton announced their split. In the same Mail article we see pictures of the three-times-married actress coming back from a visit to the gym. She looked according the paper, “happy and in good spirits”. The suggestion is, of course, that she, just like Ashton, is moving on with her life.
But this is where it gets interesting. As we recently saw, neither party has yet filed for divorce, despite rumours that the split was prompted by infidelity on Kutcher’s part. And now comes news that the pair have announced they will continue to work together on the charity they set up in 2009 to combat the sexual exploitation of children. Originally the DNA Foundation, it has now been renamed Thorn.
A statement jointly issued by the couple explained:
“For the past three years we have focused our work broadly on combating child sex trafficking. It has become crystal clear in our efforts that technology plays an increasingly large role in this crime and in the sexual exploitation of children overall. We believe that the technology-driven aspect of these crimes demands its own attention and investment.”
Certainly a worthy cause. Of course, we cannot know how much the enterprise will really remain a joint one behind the scenes, and there may be some subtle symbolism in the fact that the charity is no longer called the Demi and Ashton (DNA) Foundation! Or maybe they just thought ‘Thorn’ sounded better.
But I can’t help but wonder to what extent Thorn will become a regular reminder of their failed relationship. Will Thorn’s aims get lost in the heartache of the split?