Toronto Star

May 20, 1999

Jagger, Hall seek mutual satisfaction

Counsellors will try to rescue Rolling Stone's rocky marriage

By Greg Quill
Toronto Star Arts Writer

Mick and Jerry won't find a magic cure for their troubled relationship in marriage counselling sessions, say Hollywood therapists who deal with celebrities in emotional crisis.

But the decision they made a couple of days ago to come clean with each other in professional counselling sessions is a good sign that Rolling Stones singer Mick Jagger and his wife, supermodel Jerry Hall, have a chance to save their foundering marriage.


`More often than not, people come into therapy because they don't want to change, just to patch up the sinking ship. In that scenario, the ship won't float.'
- Suzanne Lopez
Psychotherapist


``All troubled marriages involve the same issues, whether the partners are rock stars, movie stars, truck drivers or clerks,'' said Los Angeles psychotherapist Suzanne Lopez of the Institute For Human Potential. ``The scrutiny and judgment that come with celebrity are additional distractions, but the fundamentals are the same.

``And the work in repairing any marriage is the same: To find ways for partners to develop character, to be ethical, honest, honourable and loving.''

The 55-year-old star has promised to be totally honest with Hall, 42, about his philandering past, if it helps keep their marriage alive, Britain's Daily Mail reports.

The last-minute reconciliation attempt follows months of bitter disputes over the terms of a divorce, for which Hall filed at Christmas following news that Brazilian model Luciana Morad was expecting Jagger's child.

Morad gave birth to a baby boy this week, but she has refused to confirm whether Jagger is the father.

The survival of the Jagger-Hall marriage depends on how clean he can come with his wife of eight years and the mother of three of his children, said Lopez, author of Get Smart With Your Heart: The Intelligent Woman's Guide to Love, Lust and Lasting Relationships, and therapist to several Hollywood stars and entertainment industry movers and shakers.

``Both partners must be equally committed to repair the relationship and must have the clear intention to take responsibility for their actions. More often than not, people come into therapy because they don't want to change, just to patch up the sinking ship,'' she warned.

``In that scenario, the ship won't float.''

Hall must work at understanding why she has been willing to put up with her husband's infidelity for so long, Lopez added.

``There are clearly self-esteem and self-awareness issues she must address.

``And if they were my clients, I'd also want (Jagger) to ask himself what part of him is so empty that he needs diversions to fill it, taking all the energy away from the marriage.''

Psychotherapist Stefanie Simon of the Wagner Program, a prestigious Los Angeles counselling centre, says marriages often fall apart because one partner changes and doesn't develop a new way of communicating with the other.

``Celebrity is often a factor in changing relationships, as are children,'' she explained. ``But I don't treat celebrities any differently to other people who have problems.

``In this case, I suspect the change is in her. She doesn't want this any more. And she'll have to get out of the marriage or reframe her acceptance of his behaviour.''

The problems that can ruin a marriage come down to basic issues of status and power, says Dr. Larry Nisan, executive director of Toronto's Psychotherapy Institute.

``It's the perception by one partner that the other has one up on him or her, or that he or she has one up on the other. That happens at all socioeconomic levels.

``Dealing with those perceptions involves clinical assessment, four or five sessions with a therapist and a proven willingness to do the homework.


`If the couple is willing to do the work that's required, that's a good sign. If they're only interested in assigning guilt or blame, best they should see a priest.'
- Dr. Larry Nisan
Toronto's Psychotherapy Institute


``If the couple is willing to do the work that's required, that's a good sign. If they're only interested in assigning guilt or blame, best they should see a priest.''

Fleeing problems for a time may be easier for celebrities ``because they have the resources to do as they choose,'' Nisan added.

``They generally don't have to worry about money, they can drive away, and they're not compelled to coexist with anyone to work out the details of settlements and all that other uncomfortable stuff.

``Otherwise, being a celebrity is no different from being a mailman or a store owner when it comes to treatment of a troubled marriage.''

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