Getting used to getting separated: The Trudeaus’ split isn’t the outlier it once was

The divorce rate in the United States rose from below 10 of every 1000 new marriages in 1960 to roughly 15 in 2019, according to the The Institute for Family Studies. While the divorce rate in Canada actually shrank slightly over the last three decades, according to data from Statistics Canada, it remains a relatively new phenomenon: Ottawa only legalized the practice in 1968.

The Western world’s growing familiarity with divorce may explain why the type of “scandal” that sank Nelson Rockefeller’s 1964 presidential bid — marrying a divorcee — wouldn’t resonate as strongly with voters today as it did decades ago.

Second, Trudeau is the just the latest in a rapidly expanding line of elected officials who have run into marital trouble while in office.

Then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy divorced his wife, Cécilia, in 2007, while Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, an infamous philanderer, got his own divorce in 2009. President Vladimir Putin of Russia deserves a partial nod, too: He finalized his conjugal split in 2013. On the other hand, he’s not exactly an elected official, is he?

Here in the United States, then-Republican Rep. Madison Cawthorn and current Republican Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia have all gotten divorced in the last two years. On the Democratic side, Sen. John Hickenlooper of Colorado and former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo are also divorcees — something they “have not found to be an issue” politically, according to a 2013 Buzzfeed News article.

Of course, divorce played a big part in the olden days, too. But messy as some modern-day court battles can be, separation had a much darker meaning in the days of Herod the Great or Henry the VIII.

Fortunately for the Trudeaus, most people don’t look at divorces the way they once did.

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