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Can Family Therapists Rescue Celebrity Marriages?

Nothing Compares 2 U…at least not for 16 days. That seemed to be the case for Sinead O'Connor. The controversial singer called it quits with husband number four after just 16 days. However, it wasn't O'Connor's only short marriage -- husbands two and three each lasted less than a year. According to an entry posted to the singer's blog, the marriage was doomed by a combination of the groom's family and friends and a "wild ride" through Las Vegas after the nuptials, complete with drug use.

O'Connor can take heart in knowing she isn't the only celebrity to rush into a wedding and then rush right back out. Under the microscope of the paparazzi, it isn't surprisingly that even small cracks in a marriage can be magnified to the point of creating an irreparable rift. Of course, big Hollywood egos and demanding travel schedules can also make it difficult for celebrity marriages to stand the test of time.

Shortest celebrity marriages

While brief marriages tend to be part for the course for most celebrities a few stand out as being shockingly short. According to information from Time Magazine and the Los Angeles Times, here are some matches that weren't made in heaven.

  • Britney Spears and Jason Alexander: The pop princess's 2004 wedding to her childhood friend Jason Alexander was the start of a very public fall from grace. However, 55 hours after exchanging vows, the two realized the error of their ways. Their annulled wedding marks one of the shortest celebrity marriages in history
  • Dennis Rodman and Carmen Electra: As far as couples go, Rodman and Electra would appear to be a match made in heaven with both sporting big personalities and flamboyant style. But nine days after their 1997 wedding, the two called it quits
  • Mario Lopez and Ali Landry: Lopez, propelled to fame on the hit show Saved by the Bell, can lay claim to outlasting O'Connor's marriage by two days. His 18 day marriage to model Landry was cut short when she discovered his infidelity. Whoops!
  • Kim Kardashian and Kris Humphries: Compared to the previous couples, Kardashian and Humphries were married a lifetime. The reality television star and basketball player took 72 days in 2011 to discover the only thing they had in common was the letter 'k'
  • Elizabeth Taylor and Conrad Hilton Jr.: Short marriages aren't just a recent phenomenon. More than 60 years ago, in 1950, the late, great film actress Elizabeth Taylor married Hilton. The couple spent 205 days together -- half of that time on their honeymoon -- before deciding they should have said 'I don't'

Of course, not every celebrity marriage is doomed to failure. Consider Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman who will celebrate 30 years of marriage in 2012. Unfortunately, their union appears to be the exception rather than the rule.

Can these marriages be saved?

So does the spotlight of Hollywood spell trouble for lasting relationships? Obviously, hasty marriages influenced by drugs or alcohol may not be meant to be. However, for couples who are simply having trouble adjusting to married life, a marriage counselor may be able to help.

According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, marriage therapists are trained to address a wide range of issues from mental illness to substance abuse. The AAMFT says more than 75 percent of couples receiving marriage counseling report an improvement in their relationship. In addition, 98 percent of marriage and family therapist clients report the services they received as good or excellent.

Unlike other types of therapy that can be ongoing, marriage counseling generally wraps up in less than 12 sessions. During that time, a counselor works with the couple to define solutions and implement strategies that address their unique challenges.

Working as a marriage counselor

Marriage counselors are highly trained therapists who generally have either a master's degree or doctoral degree. While some schools may offer specific programs for marriage counseling, many counselors have a degree in a related field such as psychology, nursing, education or social work. After graduation, individuals must be licensed by their state before beginning practice. In 2010, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported the mean annual salary of marriage and family therapists nationwide was $47,530.

The need for marriage and family therapists is expected to grow 14 percent from 2008 to 2018, according to data from the BLS. The bureau also notes that the need for more therapists will be fueled in part by an acceptance that it is ok to ask for help. There is no telling whether this acceptance will extend to Tinseltown as well. If not, 16 day marriages might be here to stay.