‘Oscar curse’ strikes its latest victim

Matt Busekroos

Curses are thought to only exist in fiction, but perhaps there is an evil dose of practical magic in real life for winners of the Academy Award for Best Actress.

Media reports have run rampant about a supposed curse after Sandra Bullock reportedly moved out of the home she shared with husband Jesse James following allegations that he cheated on her with tattoo-laden Michelle “Bombshell” McGee.  These accusations came just two weeks after Bullock claimed Hollywood’s highest acting honor.

In the last 10 years, six of the past 10 winners saw their relationships deteriorate just months (and days for Bullock) after their wins.

Bullock’s heartbreak follows the announcement that last year’s winner Kate Winslet split from film director husband Sam Mendes. While the status of Bullock and James’ relationship remains unclear at this point, two high profile relationships featuring two of Hollywood’s most beloved actresses have publicly gone sour in a single week.

In addition to Bullock and Winslet, Reese Witherspoon, Hilary Swank, Halle Berry and Julia Roberts all saw their relationships crumble shortly after their Oscar victories.

Witherspoon and her actor husband Ryan Phillippe called it quits seven months after she snagged awards for her performance as June Carter in “Walk the Line.” Prior to Witherspoon’s Oscar win, the two had been public about seeing a marriage counselor.

Less than a year after winning her second Oscar for “Million Dollar Baby,” Swank and her actor husband Chad Lowe announced their separation. Swank infamously forgot to thank Lowe in her acceptance speech in 2000 when she won her first Oscar for “Boys Don’t Cry.” Swank remembered her husband in her second speech in 2005, but the relationship dissolved soon after.

Berry has the honor of becoming the first African-American actress to win an Oscar in a leading role, but had the dishonor of splitting from husband, R&B singer Eric Benét, a year and a half after her win. The couple split shortly after Benét checked into a 35-day sex-addict rehab program.

Three months after winning for “Erin Brockovich,” Julia Roberts and actor Benjamin Bratt ended their four year relationship.

While these relationships fizzled, future nominees and winners should not worry. 2007 winner Helen Mirren is a current example of one actress who continues to make her marriage work (to director Taylor Hackford).