A brief moment, please, (brief is certainly fitting) for the short-lived marriage of pug-nosed country crooner Kenny Chesney and scrunchy-faced movie star Renee Zellweger, a relationship that defied tabloid sensibility by taking celebrities from discordant sets of fame and creating a puzzling Venn diagram. The couple's wedding caught the usually omniscient checkout-line magazines off guard, requiring as it did a vigilance over Hollywood and Nashville; likewise, news of the split, a mere four months after the couple was married on a Caribbean beach, came as an aftershock. (She filed for annulment last month. He tells Country Weekly magazine that his life can now be "about the music again, not about the sideshow.")

All the Zellweger/Chesney split truly confirms is that, for celebrities, there is no right path to marital bliss: Extreme secrecy didn't pay off, and neither does the intense scrutiny that comes with a Bennifer-style engagement.

On a related subject, Diane Mezzanotte of Laurel e-mails in an excellent question, observing that news accounts of a breakup always go a little something like: "Ms. Glamour Girl and Mr. Movie Star are divorcing after more than three years of marriage."

"If someone you or I knows gets divorced after that short of a time, we'd say, 'They were married less than four years!' . . . Does Hollywood see marriage as such a difficult task that we are supposed to applaud anyone for being married for any amount of time, no matter how brief?"

Hollywood, through the prism of its publicists, is duty-bound to see everything the stars do as a positive occurrence. A divorce is an opportunity; it's the final scene of that particular movie, but, with careful editing and test-marketing to audiences, we have tweaked divorce just enough to make it seem like everyone's okay, and the characters are moving forward into their next story arc. Which would be fine if that sort of gloss contained itself to Los Angeles-area Zip codes, but listen closely to the news (weddings, employment, children's achievements) at your next family gathering: We're all spinning like fools.

E-mail: celebrity@washpost.com.