Are the Osbournes the latest to join the ranks of the silver splitters?

News Article

One of the longest celebrity marriages appears to be facing uncertain times, following media reports that rock musician, Ozzy Osbourne, and his wife, Sharon, have split.

The couple, who have been married for 34 years, appear to be facing marital difficulties, with various reports claiming 67-year-old Ozzy may have been unfaithful or relapsed into drug and alcohol abuse. The couple, who have three adult children, have faced well documented problems over the years, with 63-year-old Sharon having accused her husband of domestic violence and even attempted murder.

The news that the couple have separated, brings into question why, having survived such turbulent times in the past, the Osbournes’ marriage is now in serious jeopardy.

Surjit Verdi, a family law specialist with Palmers said: “This particular case may be an example of the ‘silver splitting’ phenomenon which has been gathering pace in recent years.” The number of people divorcing in later life has been increasing at a time when divorce rates overall have been falling.

Divorce among people aged 60 and over in England and Wales has risen since the 1990s, according to the Office of National Statistics – whilst among the rest of the population, it has fallen (with the exception of a slight rise seen in 2012).

In 2011, nearly 9,500 men in this age group divorced – an increase of almost three-quarters compared with 20 years earlier. The trend for women is similar.

Research suggests a big reason for the increase in “silver splitters” is increasing life expectancy.

Surjit continued: “For people approaching retirement age, this often leads to a re-evaluation of what is important to them and deciding what they want to do with the latter third of their lives. If a marriage is not strong and particularly if there have been problems in the past, it can lead to a watershed moment of feeling ‘there has to be more to life than this.’

“Another factor can be the fact that women are much more financially independent and are better able to take control of their lives than they were in the past, along with the fact that any children of the marriage may no longer be living with their parents.”

Surjit added: “Whether a marriage is facing trouble after three years or thirty-three, the pain of a separation or divorce is still keenly felt by both parties.

“Where a relationship has broken down, I would always encourage couples to attempt to resolve their differences amicably.”

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