No, nothing can bring back the hour of splendor in the grass, of glory in the mud ...
It's official, or as official as anything regarding one of Hollywood's most unpredictable couples can get: Roseanne and Tom Arnold are splitting up after four years of a tumultuous and immensely profitable marriage. Papers were filed yesterday in Los Angeles Superior Court.
"She has filed for divorce and what's going to happen next, I don't know," said Pat Kingsley, the Arnolds' publicist, from Los Angeles. "It may or not be the end of it." The end of what? "The end of them, as a couple."
The battle of the bulges might not be over yet.
This is not, however, a publicity stunt, Kingsley said. "She's serious about it. He is not living at home. It's a very volatile situation."
Although Roseanne Arnold cited "irreconcilable differences" in the divorce papers, later yesterday she claimed to have been a battered spouse.
"Throughout our marriage the respondent hit me, struck me, has thrown objects at me, pinched me and verbally abused me. He also has pushed me against walls, while he screams and shouts at me, drowning out any possible plea that I might take for him to stop," she said in an application for a restraining order, which was granted yesterday by Superior Court Judge Robert Schneider.
The star of ABC's "Roseanne," which was the fourth-highest-rated prime-time show on TV last week, and the star of CBS's "Tom," which came in 73rd, called it quits three days after a much-reported shouting match on the "Roseanne" set. Yesterday, she claimed her husband forced his way onto the set Friday and assaulted four people, despite her hiring four security guards to keep him away.
During the aftershocks, Mrs. Arnold, 41, fired Mr. Arnold, 35, from his job as executive producer of her show, and also fired their attractive young assistant Kim Silva, who joined the couple in a make-believe three-way marriage staged as some sort of prank late last year.
Sources said Silva was the subject of the violent argument that broke out Friday. "Entertainment Tonight" reported last night that a supermarket tabloid has already offered Silva $250,000 for her account of the fracas but that she is holding out for a better offer.
According to Hollywood trade papers, Roseanne has had the locks changed on the offices of the Arnolds' jointly owned Wapello County Productions in Studio City, and on their home in fashionable Brentwood, 90049, and posted security guards outside both locations. She also reportedly cut up her husband's credit cards as a brutal coup de grace.
Roseanne was out of town yesterday and will soon head for Europe with her children for an extended vacation planned months ago, Kingsley said.
Tom Arnold still has three episodes of "Tom" to tape for CBS and hadn't been planning to join Roseanne on the trip. According to one source, Tom didn't show up for the taping of his show yesterday because of a scheduled appointment with a hair transplant specialist. Life does go on even in the midst of tragedy.
As to what the financial ramifications of the breakup might be: "No one knows," said Kingsley, and no one wanted even to speculate. "Roseanne" is in its second year of syndicated reruns to local stations, where it is doing extremely well in the ratings. Syndication is where the producers of network hits make their really big money.
"The Cosby Show" brought in $500 million when it was sold into syndication in the '80s, but by the time "Roseanne" was sold, the boom market had slumped. Even so, a figure of $350 million would not be out of the question, and this would be in addition to money paid to the Arnolds as executive producers, plus Roseanne's salary of at least $250,000 per episode.
Next year the stations carrying "Roseanne" reruns will have to renegotiate their contracts, with prices likely to go up based on the big ratings the show has earned. How this gigantic pie will be divided remains a mystery. In court papers, Roseanne asks that she not be required to pay alimony.
It's bloody unlikely that he'll have to.
For the national audience, the messy breakup of the Arnolds' messy marriage appears to mark the end of an extremely messy era. The Arnolds became inescapable figures for such very public antics as mooning fans at a baseball game, having amorous tattoos imprinted on their posteriors and brandishing them at a moment's notice, and rollicking in mud for a notorious photo layout in Vanity Fair.
As fabled Tinseltown couples go, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers it wasn't. Nor even Richard Burton and Liz Taylor, or Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. It was something new in fun couples.
By their own admission, they fought constantly, once having an eight-hour argument over which of them was funnier. That should have been easy. Roseanne had a hugely successful stand-up career that was turned into the hit ABC sitcom; Tom was plucked from obscurity as a small-time comic in Minneapolis when Roseanne spotted him.
"I was a huge drug abuser," Tom said in a 1991 interview.
"He was the biggest junkie in the Midwest," Roseanne chimed in chipperly.
But Tom went through treatment programs and marked Dec. 10, 1989, as his "sobriety date," he said. They were married on Jan. 20, 1990. He converted to Judaism and had the Star of David tattooed on his chest, in addition to the image of his wife's face. Roseanne, for her part, insisted on changing her name to Arnold even though she had become a star as Roseanne Barr.
In Hollywood yesterday, people weren't exactly lowering flags to half-mast when they heard the news. The consensus seemed to be that the couple's boorish behavior had been a continuing source of mortification and that they might cause less trouble apart.
"They did one brilliant show and that's it and that's all they should do," one Hollywood veteran said. "People here were always disgusted and embarrassed by their shenanigans. The feeling was that if they want to be pigs, let them go be pigs on their own account."
It's a rough town.
Talk show producers who wanted to book Roseanne as a guest were often told they had to take Tom as well, and when ABC agreed to air Tom's flop series "The Jackie Thomas Show" last year, it was essentially out of fear that Roseanne might take her own series to another network, as she repeatedly threatened to do.
"It's a real break for network executives who fon't have to deal with him anymore," one young producer said of the separation. "He has officially become Sonny Bono."