Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Augustana Observer

Brangelina's Divorce – Why Does it Matter?

With Angelina Jolie filing for divorce from her husband Brad Pitt within the past two weeks, there has been an uproar within the Brangelina fanbase and a vast amount of media attention.
Augustana first-year British Rhone was caught off guard when she first heard about the divorce.
“I was like ‘okay this is a joke’…but then somebody else said that [it was true] and I was like ‘That’s real? Oh my god!’”, said Rhone.
Rhone explains that while she had not really been keeping tabs on Brangelina, since she was a fan of Angelina herself she often would hear a lot about the couple and their family.
“They’re just out there in the open,” Rhone states.
Even though she was aware of the divorce, Rhone expresses that she was not sure of who filed it or why it was filed in the first place.  However, she explains that the news of the divorce in general is still surreal.
“It’s crazy…they have been together forever and they are getting a divorce!” she says.
Those not very involved in the life of one of Hollywood’s most prominent couples might be wondering why fans are having such a strong reaction in the first place.  The relationship isn’t their own, so why the big fuss?
Augustana Communications Professor Sharon Varallo explains that what Brangelina has with its fans is called a parasocial relationship – a relationship that someone may have with characters or the people who play roles in television and movies.
“If I’m watching a television show,” says Varallo, “and somebody is going through something I’ve gone through then it can resonate”.
Professor Varallo states that this ability to “resonate” creates a connection between the viewer and those they are viewing.  She emphasizes that this feeling tends to be stronger today since there is such a large focus on the media and therefore more opportunities for a parasocial relationship to occur.
“It might be that they actually care or they actually feel like they have a connection…and it might just be for a voyeuristic sort of thing,” Varallo says.
Varallo explains that since there is a range of how the public relates to those they see in the media that there might be a variety of reasons as to why a fan connects to a certain people or characters.
Brangelina’s divorce might not seem like news to all, but to their fans there is a bond being severed.
“People have been watching [Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie] for a long time and they might feel connected to the stories told about them” says Varallo.
Unfortunately for the Brangelina fan base, it seems as though these stories they have been keeping track of may have come to their turning point.

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Brangelina's Divorce – Why Does it Matter?