A lot more information has come to light since the story first broke of Ashton cheating on Demi on their 6th year wedding anniversary.
Here a list of the more important details: Demi's plummeting weight, stories of Ashton cheating a month into their marriage, 3 somes and having an open marriage, and the fact that he reportedly didn't use condoms with the 22 year old Sara Leal.
I could write an entire blog post on each of the emerging details, but want to focus on only a few of them. There has been a lot of speculation that one of the ways Demi has tried to show Ashton that she is a "cool" wife is by engaging in 3 somes and having an open marriage. In case you have forgoten, Demi is 15 years older than Ashton and is largely known for starting the whole "cougar" movement. According to numerous reports, Demi has been struggling with the reality of becoming an older female actor in Hollywood and has spent a small fortune on various cosmetic and plastic surgeries. You don't have to be a brainiac to figure out that she currently looks very, very different from the time she first entered the Hollywood scene.
As a sexuality speaker, I give lots of presentations on body image and how our relationship with our body can impact our sexuality. I think it is fascinating that someone as attractive as Demi has allegedly such low personal self esteem that she willingly engages in behavior that ends up de-valuing who she is as a person. For instance, it seems that she came up with the open marriage clause in an attempt to show Ashton that she is cool and understanding of his sexual needs. In fact, one might argue that only someone who is incredibly comfortable with their sense of self and relationship would so openly agree to this type of arrangement. I, on the contrary, see it as a huge red flag that she is insecure almost to the point of it being delusional.
What do I mean by that?
Here is what I have gathered from the media. Demi has always been insecure in her looks and has undergone numerous cleanses, fasts, restrictive diets, leech treatments, and over $250k on plastic surgeries in order to keep her looking and feeling youthful. She has never been shy about showing off her body and doing nude scenes. She also famously posed for the cover of Vanity Fair when she was in her last trimester of one of her pregnancies wearing nothing but stiletto heels and diamonds. At the time I thought this was a beautiful and powerful image of female sexuality and empowerment. It was banned on many grocery shelves for being too sexual so Vanity Fair had to shrink-wrap that particular edition in a way that showed her famous face, but not her naked and pregnant body. I have to admit that I liked her a lot after that so-called racy photo shoot. For me it signifies a time in her life where she appeared to be most confident and comfortable in her body. However, that Vanity Fair photo shoot was about 20 years ago.
I'm no plastic surgeon but it appeared to me that up until that time of the photo shoot, Demi had only undergone cosmetic surgery for her teeth and breasts (and these things are not at all uncommon for actors working in Hollywood). I'm also no therapist but it seems like her irrational body image issues really raised their ugly head in the past 15 years.
The reason I bring all this up is that whatever marital arrangement she and Ashton had, it seems to me that they were motivated by fear, anxiety, and desperation. Quite simply, her attempt to look "cool" backfired.
As a sex educator and sex coach, I know that open marriages and engaging in 3 somes are not uncommon sexual behaviors. It is not always an easy path to negotiate so confidence in your primary relationship along with a lot of open and honest communication and mutually agreed upon ground rules are usually necessary for this type of relationship to be successful.
My issue is that it doesn't really feel like this situation came from two consenting and confident adults who came to this decision mutually and organically. It seems like it was an idea cooked up by Demi in an attempt to keep her man happy, and that her main rule was that he not "embarrass her". I feel sad that, for all her money and beauty, Demi's self esteem and self worth appear to be in the shitter. It also troubles me that, for whatever reason, Ashton didn't have the communication skill set to assure his wife of her beauty and his love for her. Not knowing Ashton or Demi, I can almost guarantee that using condoms and having safer sex was high on their list of ground rules for an open marriage. It's no secret that, at 48 years old, Demi has had a difficult time conceiving a child with Ashton. The fact that he had unprotected sex with someone else brings the potential of him fathering a child with someone who isn't Demi. It also exposes him and Demi to STI's. I think these two things definitely fall into the "embarassing" category.
In these type of situations it is often very easy to make one person the monster and the other the person who gets all the sympathy. It feels more to me like someone (Demi) brought up a concept that could potentially work--but for all the wrong reasons. It also seems that, for all of his gratuitous and public cooing of his wife, Ashton lacked the ability to properly communicate his feelings to her in private.
Let me be clear that I do not know any of them personally. However, it seems to me that, no matter how unfortunate and public their situation is, people can still learn from it.