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When high-profile husbands cheat, their wives come under just as much scrutiny. As daily rumors of Ashton Kutcher's dallainces surfaced, Demi Moore's age came under the microscope. Can she "keep" him? Is she just too old for him?
On Thursday, in a few tactful sentences, she stopped the madness.
"As a woman, a mother and a wife there are certain values and vows that I hold sacred, and it is in this spirit that I have chosen to move forward with my life," said Moore in a statement to press Thursday.
In addition to making it clear that she was the one ending her "six-year marriage to Ashton", she also set the record straight: it's not that she's too old, it's that he's too young.
If her dignified statement didn't make that apparent enough, his follow-up (on Twitter no less) drove the point home: "Marriage is one of the most difficult things in the world." That's all you got, Ashton?
Read more on what destroyed Ashton and Demi's marriage here
Moore is a veteran of high-profile marriages and weathered her divorce from Bruce Willis, the father of her three daughters, better than any other in the business. They're friends, supporters, and have managed to put their family before their romantic drama. That is, until now.
Moore's brief statement on Ashton's cheating scandal proved she's still putting family before "keeping her man." And her address belongs in a hall of fame of strong women who've publicly handled their misbehaving husbands with aplomb.
After Arnold Schwarzenegger admitted to fathering a secret love-child with his family's housekeeper, wife Maria Shriver faced criticism of her own. Was she too permissive? How could she not know?
But she combatted her critics with actions and a swift statement. She left the couple's home, filed for divorce and said succinctly, "This is a painful and heartbreaking time. As a mother, my concern is for the children." The message: he did this not just to her but to her family.
In public cheating scandals, it's an import delineation to make, and one that rests in the hands of the scorned wife. This is more than a romantic misstep, it's an affront to the family.
While Shriver has avoided bashing her husband publicly (no matter how much he may deserve it) she did get a subtle jab in during Oprah's farewell episodes, praising the talk show host for always telling "the truth." She said it all without saying anything directly, and as a mother it spoke to her integrity.
Similarly, when John Edwards' long-term affair and secret love-child came to light, his late wife Elizabeth Edwards emerged from the murky waters of her husband's scandal with a graceful statement.
"Our family has been through a lot. Some caused by nature, some caused by human weakness, and some most recently caused by the desire for sensationalism and profit without any regard for the human consequences," she said. "John made a terrible mistake in 2006. The fact that it is a mistake that many others have made before him did not make it any easier for me to hear when he told me what he had done. But he did tell me. And we began a long and painful process in 2006, a process oddly made somewhat easier with my diagnosis in March of 2007."
Like Moore and Shriver, Edwards made it clear it was her husband's own weaknesses that drove him to let their family down. At the same time, she touched on how much more she was grappling with beyond his stupid mistakes.
Tiger Woods' ex-wife Elin Nordgren waited almost a year to craft her public statement to the press about her husband's countless infidelities. As rubber-neckers speculated what went wrong and misplaced the blame (Was she too pretty? Was she not giving him what he needed? Are all men just born cheaters?) Nordgren quietly waiting for the right moment to reveal her feelings about the father of her children. In an interview with People Magazine, she too invoked her family. "For the last three-and-a-half years, when all this was going on, I was home a lot more with pregnancies, then the children and my school," she said, adding, "I also feel stronger than I ever have. I have confidence in my beliefs, my decisions and myself."
It's a sentiment that's key to quieting the inevitable scrutiny wives face when husbands cheat. To paraphrase: she's better off without him. They all are.
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