In Hollywood, where a relationship lasting five years is an impressive feat, celebrity break-ups are predictable. Needless to say, when Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher’s 8-year relationship ended in 2011, it wasn’t shocking news. However, it was intriguing that Ashton began a new relationship soon after with Mila Kunis, his co-star from That ’70s Show. Will Ashton’s new relationship with Mila last longer than the 8 years that Ashton spent with Demi? On one hand, the outcome may not be all that different; Demi and Mila are fairly similar. Both women are beautiful celebrities/actresses who are famous, wealthy, have the same hair color and, strangely, both have one hazel and one green eye (apparently Ashton has a thing for mix-and-match eyes). But on the other hand, Mila and Demi have some differences that may make the Ashton-Mila pairing more likely to lead to happily ever after, or at least to last longer than 8 years (it is Hollywood, after all).
The most obvious distinction between the two women is their age. The defining characteristic of the Demi-Ashton relationship was the fact that Demi was 15 years older than Ashton. Although men in their 20s may date older women, as men’s age increases, their desire for a younger partner does as well.1 As for Mila, she is six years younger than Ashton. This age differential may be more conducive to a long-term relationship. Studies show that, on average, men in their 50s desire women who are at least four years younger than them, which may help the relationship’s success.1
Mila’s attractiveness may also be advantageous for her relationship with Ashton. According to evolutionary theory, men prefer women who are young and attractive, as such qualities generally signifies reproductive quality.2 Mila was Esquire’s “Sexiest Woman Alive” in 2011, #3 on 2012 Maxim’s Hot 100 list, and has been on the cover of GQ, so clearly she is attractive. Although Demi is also attractive, Mila’s combination of both youth and beauty seem to make a valuable combination for a long-term relationship with Ashton.
How partners share power within the relationship also relates to a couple’s longevity. Demi and Ashton may have struggled to find a balance of power because during their relationship Demi had no notable movie or TV roles, whereas Ashton experienced an influx of celebrity power, starring in movies like What Happens in Vegas and The Guardian. Power differentials can be detrimental for relationships because they leave the less powerful partner feeling neglected.3 Consequently, at least one partner (if not both) may feel unsatisfied. Currently, Mila and Ashton are both enjoying successful careers—Mila is currently on the comedy Family Guy, while Ashton is on Two and a Half Men.
Ideally, partners share power equally, so at least when it comes to their work, Mila and Ashton’s similar career success should benefit their relationships. Mila and Ashton have also shared similar career paths. They both had their break out roles on That ’70s Show, and they starred in two films with strikingly similar plots: Friends with Benefits and No Strings Attached. Fortunately for them, similarity between spouses leads to more marital satisfaction.4 In contrast, Demi and Ashton were not at similar stages in their lives; prior to meeting Ashton she was already an established actress, while Ashton was working on gaining further recognition.
Mila has stated that Ashton was her first kiss; will he also be her last? Although only time will tell, they seem to be headed in the right direction. It’s clear that in an industry where there are endless opportunities to stray and countless physically attractive people, it’s essential for a relationship to have a strong foundation in order to last. Although Demi may not have had what it takes for everlasting love, Mila quite possibly does.
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1Kenrick, D. T., Keefe, R. C., Bryan, A., Barr, A., & Brown, S. (1995). Age preferences and mate choice among homosexuals and heterosexuals: A case for modular psychological mechanisms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69(6), 1166-1172. doi:10.1037/0022-35188.8.131.526
2Buss, D. M. & Schmitt, D. P. (1993). Sexual strategies theory: An evolutionary perspective on human mating. Psychological Review, 100(2), 204–232. doi: 10.1037/0033-295X.100.2.204
3Knudson‐Martin, C. (2013). Why power matters: Creating a foundation of mutual support in couple relationships. Family Process, 52(1), 5-18. doi:10.1111/famp.12011
4Gaunt, R. (2006). Couple similarity and marital satisfaction: Are similar spouses happier?. Journal of Personality, 74(5), 1401-1420. doi:10.1111/j.1467-6494.2006.00414.x
Lauren Acri is a student at Monmouth University and a Psychology major. She is currently a research assistant in the Gender Development Laboratory investigating the role gender plays in early childhood.
Dr. Gary Lewandowski – Science of Relationships articles | Website
Dr. Lewandowski’s research explores the self’s role in romantic relationships focusing on attraction, relationship initiation, love, infidelity, relationship maintenance, and break-up. Recognized as one of the Princeton Review’s Top 300 Professors, he has also authored dozens of publications for both academic and non-academic audiences.