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How to Deal with Cheaters (as Told by Celebrities)

Two of the most influential women of our time, Beyonce and Angelina Jolie, have been publicly outed for their relationship struggles. Both relationships were once the epitome of “relationship goals”, but throughout 2016 everyone has seen them falter. The world thinks it can comment on and therefore influence both Beyonce’s and Angelina’s decisions by plastering their faces on magazines and websites with words like “Scandal” and “Turmoil” fueling the fire. However, these two women held their heads high throughout it all. If you ever find yourself in a similar predicament,  think about how Angie and Bey handled it!

The Earth stops rotating when a Beyonce scandal breaks. News outlets everywhere reported on Solange Knowles and Jay-Z’s elevator altercation after the 2014 Met Gala. Intimate familial issues were broadcasted to millions of people, each one with their own interpretations and judgements.

Two years later, Beyonce released “Lemonade”, a visual album packed with metaphor after metaphor. Layers of theory on African-American women, their treatment and their relationships, are largely ignored by the media for the much more salacious story. Beyonce’s lyrics reveal that Jay-Z did cheat on her, and suddenly everything became clear. The video of the elevator resurfaced and made headlines over the next few weeks. Banners of pride waved across webpages because they exclusively knew it first.

Then came the judgements. Why would this strong, independent, brilliant woman stay with her no-good cheater of a husband? If Beyonce can get cheated on, where is the hope for the rest of us? The album even has an answer for that. Beyonce laments her love for her family, including her husband. She proves that pain will never last. Whether with someone or alone, “Lemonade” screams to women everywhere that happiness is achievable.

Beyonce took the broken pieces of her heart, put them back together with gold and shared its light with the entire world. She profited off of the hardest time in her life, not the tabloids. It’s important to maintain agency in your life. When everything goes wrong, force it to go right. Make a plan, make it yours and stick to it. The hardest part is working over that steep hill and checking to see if what’s on the other side feels right.

And if it doesn’t?  

The media distorted Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt’s relationship the second they confirmed it. Rumors that Brad must have cheated on his ex-wife is still the most popular theory. Whether or not he did cheat, people still chose sides and fought a battle that wasn’t theirs to fight. After what seemed like ages, these battles ceased fire because it seemed like something was working. Brad and Angelina were in love. Kids flew in from around the world and filled that relationship with life. Magazines bestowed honors upon them as if they were the King and Queen of Hollywood and we were their starry-eyed subjects.

We watched them grow together. And then we watched them separate. In 2001, Angelina became a United Nations Goodwill Ambassador. She is the first of her rank to be promoted to Special Envoy, which expands her philanthropic work to help refugees around the world. Brad made some pretty good movies. Their interests became incredibly different. While he filmed “The Big Short” about the 2008 housing crisis, Queen Elizabeth II named Jolie an honorary Dame.

Angelina filed for divorce in early 2016. When things feel out of reach, perhaps it’s time to stop stretching. It’s vital to know what’s important (for Angelina, her children, her philanthropy, her health) and decide if those needs are being met. For someone who makes others’ needs her first priority, this decision is solely hers. Jolie has never been the woman defined by her relationship and neither are you. Without him, there’s no longer a strain on time or heart. There’s freedom, maybe a bit of loneliness. Even if it feels like a smile will kill you, try it. Happiness has a habit of hanging around.

Relationship problems affect everyone, even our role models. However, they inspire women everywhere to strive, succeed and live independently—whether that’s in a relationship or not. Let their actions and positivity build you up during your relationship anguish. Be your own goals.

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Zoë is a sophomore at NYU, studying Journalism and Dramatic Literature. When she isn't reading, she's tweeting @zoe1ugh1. 
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