Thursday, March 18, 2010
I'm a self-professed believer in fairy tales. And the image of Sandra Bullock's successful marriage and equally winning career was a shining testament, a glowing beacon to my romantic, yet feminist hope that a strong, beautiful, intelligent, hard-working and funny girl could, in fact, have it all.
On March 7th, she stood at the Oscars podium and thanked her mother for teaching her that "we are all deserving of love," which then in turn allowed her to wait until she was almost 41 to walk down the aisle and marry Jesse James, who looked on teary-eyed from the front row.
"To my husband: There's no surprise that my work got better when I met you," Bullock said at the Golden Globe Awards. "Because I never knew what it felt like for someone to have my back. So thank you."
After her Academy Award victory, James beamed with pride, gushing, "She's amazing. She takes my breath away. Sometimes I look at her and I do, I just lose my breath." He even said in 2006 that their relationship "makes me feel like I can do anything…It really does make me feel like I'm Superman. She pushes me to be a better person."
Oh, how I yearned to be so lucky and beautiful and successful, to have a fulfilling career and an amazing marriage. How envious I was.
Then, 10 days after Bullock's biggest career moment, where it seemed she was on top of the world with an Oscar in hand, my belief in happily ever after was shattered. News broke on March 17 that James, the man that made the perpetual Bachelorette, America's Sweetheart, the Queen of Romantic Comedies believe in love and marriage, had an affair with a tattooed temptress while Bullock worked on the film that would ironically earn her an Academy Award.
"Maybe we can't have it all," I Tweeted after hearing the affair allegations. "I feel duped for buying into the fantasy of Sandra Bullock's 'perfect' marriage."
While I'll always believe in love, there was something about this opposites-attract union that had me so invested. Seriously, why was I, and so many other women, invested in their fairy tale?
"I was never the kind of girl who said, 'One day, I am going to be a beautiful bride, and I am going to have a family,'" Bullock reflected on her opinions of matrimony. "I wanted to work and support myself and make my parents proud. All I did was work."
But, she confessed that James shifted her autonomous beliefs.
"I'd always had this feeling that if you got married it was like the end of who you were," Bullock told Barbara Walters of why she waited to walk down the aisle. "And I just never met anyone who was bigger than me."
Many people have grappled over exactly what did America's Sweetheart see in this tattooed, motorcycle-building thrill-seeker? And Bullock said it was one thing: "The thing that we want at the end of the day is the same: we want to come home."
I've come to realize that this is what I connected to in their union. They were home for one another. Their love and admiration and mutual support of one another was inspiring. It appeared as if they struck the perfect balance and accepted one another fully.
"Thankfully I married someone who loves me just the way I am – and all the nuttiness that goes into me," Bullock once said.
Now, despite having an Oscar and the biggest box office year of her life, Bullock doesn't have that home to go to--and it breaks my heart.
When asked what she wished for her life to be like 10 years from now, Bullock said, "I hope the same people that are in my house today will be there 10 years from now."
As sappy as it all may sound, my heart aches. I know I shouldn't be so invested, but I am. Their love story was a fairy tale that I wholeheartedly believed in—but, as this sad news exhibits, their relationship, the stuff behind closed doors that only the two people involved can understand, must've been a whole other story.
PHOTO CREDIT: Associated Press