It was one of those zippy entertainment stories produced during the PR festivals that are scheduled before the release of major motion pictures.
In this case, journalists were covering a sci-fi flick called "Passengers."
As always, superstar Jennifer Lawrence -- who grew up in mainstream, middle-class America -- was candid to the point of near-embarrassment, producing the following fodder for Tinseltown discussion. This is from Vanity Fair:
“I had my first real sex scene a couple weeks ago, and it was really bizarre,” Lawrence admitted to fellow actresses Helen Mirren and Cate Blanchett during The Hollywood Reporter’s awards-season roundtable. “It was really weird.” ...
Lawrence said she couldn’t get past the fact that she had to film a love scene with a married man.
“It was going to be my first time kissing a married man, and guilt is the worst feeling in your stomach,” Lawrence explained. “And I knew it was my job, but I couldn’t tell my stomach that. ...”
The married co-star on the other end of the kiss was, of course, rising superstar Chris Pratt.
Other than the fact that Pratt is married -- half of the Hollywood power couple with actress Anna Faris -- it also helps to know that he is one of the most outspoken evangelical Christians in Hollywood (click here for more Vanity Fair coverage). Hold that thought.
That leads us to the current explosion in tabloid America, care of People magazine, of course:
Chris Pratt has stepped back into the public eye after he announced his separation from wife Anna Faris.
The Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 actor, 38, attended Sunday’s Teen Choice Awards at the Galen Center in Los Angeles, where he is both presenting an award alongside his Guardians costar Zoë Saldana and won the surfboard for choice action movie actor and choice si-fi movie actor.
Pratt wore a casual outfit of jeans and leather John Varvatos jacket and was noticeably not wearing his wedding ring when he accepted his award. The actor joked about the lies he had to tell when he first moved to Hollywood before giving thanks to his “Lord and savior Jesus Christ” for getting him where he is today.
So USA Today went with the same basic formula for this event. Yes, the man said what he said.
A few days ago, this guy has even dared to take his son to church, right out in public. People was all over it.
What is interesting to me is that the faith issue, as far as I can tell, has played little or no role in news coverage of the couple's break-up. Might faith have played a role in the struggles (as well as the usual Hollywood whispers about jealousy, competing careers, etc.)?
It is also interesting that the couple announced that they are separating, as opposed to announcing that they are immediately seeking a divorce. So far, they are being unusually careful in their public statements.
On the other side of the big pond, The Sun included the religion angle, right up top, in a very interesting and provocative way.
Chris Pratt, 38, and Anna Faris, 40, announced their separation on August 6, 2017 after being married for eight years.
Devout Christian Chris and Anna, who is not religious, have one child -- a son Jack, who's four.
Currently neither has offered an explanation as to why they're "legally separating", and have asked for privacy. Their joint statement on the split said they're both "disappointed" to be splitting, after trying "hard for a long time" to make their marriage work.
They wrote online: "Our son has two parents who love him very much and for his sake we want to keep this situation as private as possible moving forward.
"We still love each other and will always cherish our time together."
I realize that it's strange to recommend serious coverage of an issue looming over your basic set of Hollywood celebrity headlines.
However, it appears that (a) faith may have played some role in producing tensions in the marriage and, at the same time, (b) there is a chance faith could provide a motivation to invest some time -- in a separation -- and seek healing. Maybe? Can you imagine the professional pressures on these two people and on their, yes, family?
This would be an interesting story to pursue. Yes, Pratt might not be willing to discuss the details, with good cause. However, there are Christian ministries in Hollywood that might be willing to discuss the wider subject of faith, marriage and Hollywood work.
For starters, reporters might want to watch Pratt's Facebook page for updates to his original post, which said:
Anna and I are sad to announce we are legally separating. We tried hard for a long time, and we’re really disappointed. Our son has two parents who love him very much and for his sake we want to keep this situation as private as possible moving forward. We still have love for each other, will always cherish our time together and continue to have the deepest respect for one another.
A Christian website --TheResurgent.com -- published a reaction piece. This is long, but the details matter:
Some of the commenters on this Facebook post went down the “how can you be a Christian” road, and you can hear their tut-tuts in every keystroke. Then again, commenters on a celebrity social media post are -- let’s just say they’re a certain kind of people. ...
So this “Christian,” Chris Pratt, is legally separating from his wife. Celebrity or no, how should Christians react to a brother or sister in Christ separating from a spouse?
We know that divorce is something Christ “hated.” We know that many Christian denominations and traditions forbid divorce, or forbid those who are divorced or remarried from serving in leadership. But what about separation?
It’s actually the Christian thing to do.
Juli Slattery wrote in Christianity Today that in “a therapeutic separation, entered into with the help of wise counsel, the couple hopes for a restoration of the marriage rather than dissolution.” Focus on the Family cited Dr. Gary Chapman’s book Hope for the Separated. Though the ministry generally advises against separation, “sometimes it becomes essential as a step of survival and an act of love.” Dr. David B. Hawkins asked “can a separation be healthy for a struggling marriage?” in a Crosswalk.com blog post.
All of these ministries emphasize the fact that a separation -- even a legal one -- can be therapeutic if it’s focused on restoration.
So are we talking about a separation with an automatic divorce or not?
There's no way to know. My point is that it is hard to cover this story -- if editors believe this subject deserves careful coverage -- without taking the faith element seriously. At the very least, that would require mentioning it.