Hollywood actor isn't a fan of marriage, says it is 'unromantic' - what does the research say?

Posted August 29

Actor Hugh Grant apparently doesn't have a high opinion of monogamy, recently telling radio host Howard Stern he doesn't believe it's practical.

"If you ask me the question, 'Do I think human beings are meant to be in 40-year-long monogamous, faithful relationships' … no," Grant told Stern. "Whoever said they were? Only the Bible or something."

He continued, "No one's ever said that that's a good idea."

The exchange apparently left Stern pondering whether Grant's stance was odd, considering the actor is known for performing in romantic comedies. Grant added his belief that marriage is "unromantic."

"I don't think those two things are contradictory," Grant said. "I think there's something unromantic about marriage."

Watch his comments here.

The 55-year-old actor, who has fathered four children with two women and has never been married, cited some of the negative attributes he believes can come from matrimony, including ownership, possessive nature and jealousy.

Despite these claims, he told Stern he has seen his brother have an "annoyingly good marriage." Still, in a separate interview with CBS News' Tracy Smith, Grant made it known he's scared of "permanence" — and talked about his skepticism surrounding marriage.

"I have known a few good marriages, but very few, and others look to me like they're pretty miserable," Grant said. "I don't really think that's a recipe for happiness."

The actor argued marriage, in a sense, means "you're closing yourself off." While Grant sees negativity in matrimony, many studies have found there are some profound benefits associated with tying the knot.

Researchers found in 2012 that people who are married live longer than their peers who engage in cohabitation. Other studies have found married couples have lower levels of cancer, depression and stress.

Brigham Young University professor Rick Miller said last year marriage can lead to positive health and wellness, though he acknowledged the fear that sometimes comes along with the prospect of marriage.

"They are scared to death that they will be miserable for the rest of their life," Miller said, pointing to negative depictions of matrimony in society as the catalyst for these views. "There’s just not a good portrayal of marriage in our society."

A 2015 paper released by the National Bureau of Economic Research also found married people are happier and more satisfied than single people, particularly when faced with stressful periods in life, The New York Times reported.

"The biggest benefits come in high-stress environments, and people who are married can handle midlife stress better than those who aren’t because they have a shared load and shared friendship," economist John Helliwell of the Vancouver School of Economics told the outlet.

Data shows marriage is on the decline, with 50 percent of Americans 18 and older saying they are married. That's down from 57 percent in 2000 and 72 percent in 1960, according to Pew Research Center.

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