As a big fan of both stars and someone who tends to over-empathize, I find myself feeling terribly bummed out for Berry and Martinez upon hearing the news — particularly Berry, who I had sincerely hoped had finally found her lasting match in Martinez.
Because for a woman who is so sweet and humble and hardworking (as far as we know), she certainly hasn’t been lucky in love. Her divorce from Martinez will make her third failed marriage. The demise of her first two marriages — to David Justice in 1992 and to Eric Benét in 2001 — played out very badly and very publicly. Things also went south with her longtime boyfriend Gabriel Aubry, who took Berry to court to sue for sizable child support payments due to their shared custody of daughter Nahla.
So what is it about Berry that keeps her on the outskirts of happily ever after? After taking a closer look at her past relationships, including her marriage to Martinez, there are several plausible explanations.
1. The long-distance lifestyle
As one of the most successful women in Hollywood, Berry rarely stays in one spot long. With the exception of a few short stretches here and there, hardly a year has passed since 1989 without a big film or TV role for Berry — accordingly, she spends a lot of time on location. Although it would later come out that her marriage to baseball player David Justice was volatile, Justice blamed their long-distance relationship at the time of their split, saying, “It’s something that’s kind of been brewing for a while. Any marriage is tough, but we were pretty much bicoastal and we didn’t get to spend a lot of time together.” Aubry, who lived in New York while Berry lived in LA, also cited the pitfalls of being a bicoastal couple: “It’ more about presence. You have to be there… we travel all the time.”
2. Self-esteem issues
It’s hard to be completely happy with a partner if you aren’t first happy with yourself. As soon as you entertain the idea someone could possibly “rescue” you from your inner demons, those dark feelings rear their ugly little heads. This is something Berry has been open about. After her split from Justice, she said of the marriage, “That’s what the breakup of my marriage to [Justice] reduced me to. It took away my self-esteem. It beat me down to the lowest of lows.” And that’s the kind of emotional baggage that you can’t help but carry into later relationships.
3. A “broken picker”
Berry’s marriage to Justice was obviously unhealthy, ultimately ending with a restraining order against the athlete. Her next husband, Eric Benét, then cheated on Berry numerous times throughout their marriage, eventually landing in a sex addiction treatment program. Without any other relationship complications, it could be argued these men simply weren’t suitable partners. Berry seems to recognize her knack for picking troubled men, telling The New York Times in 2012, “My picker’s broken. God just wanted to mix up my life. Maybe he was thinking, ‘This girl can’t get everything! I’m going to give her a broken picker.”
4. Higher standards
Being the strong woman she is, Berry did the emotional work necessary to bring herself to a place of inner peace after her first two marriages left her psyche in a state of fragility. “I think I’m different. I’m finally different,” she said around the time she met Martinez. “I finally realize that real happiness starts with me, and I think I’ve spent a lot of years looking for it externally.” As all people do, Berry has grown with time and her standards have shifted. Perhaps now she has a lower tolerance for drama. Maybe she refuses to stay in a relationship where passion no longer lives.
5. Marital ambiguity
After everything she went through in her first two marriages, it’s understandable Berry didn’t come out on the other side unscathed — for many years, she couldn’t imagine a time when she would once again embrace the institution of marriage. In 2007, during her relationship with Aubry, she told People, “I will never, never get married again. Actually, it’s just that now I’ve come to a place where I think two people can share their lives without the ring, without the piece of paper.” It stands to reason that Berry’s faith in marriage was likely shaken by her years with Justice, and she never fully believed it could last again after that.
6. Hopeless romanticism
On the other hand, since Berry most definitely did get married again (to Martinez), it could suggest that she is the kind of woman to get swept up in the moment. And sometimes, when you’re carried away by the momentum of that initial “I’m in love!” phase, you tend to ignore that rational part of your brain trying to tell you to think things through pragmatically, too. After all, upon being called out for breaking her “never, never getting married again” stance, Berry told InStyle, “I’m a hopeless romantic, and I won’t stop till I get it right!”