Kristin Cavallari and Jay Cutler are going their separate ways — and it may be because their careers were too.
According to prominent NY divorce lawyer Dror Bikel, "career competition" may have played a part in the shock breakdown of the celeb fave couple.
"Celebrity career success competition creates marital stress," he said. "Jay was an American football hero – Chicago Bears quarterback, but now retired from the limelight. Kristin was less visible early on and solely marriage focused but is now a hot, high-trajectory brand."
"Sports and entertainment celebrity couples face a real challenge when their career success favors one or the other, or even more difficult when there is a shift as the former dominant brand is fading as the spouse's brand picks up speed," he added. "We see this frequently in Wall St. marriages too – a big stressor for the couple."
"For celebrities, this marital challenge — played out in the media — can be impossible."
Bikel, author of "The 1% Divorce – Clash of Titans", said the couple's young age going into marriage may have also played a role in its demise.
"There is a higher divorce rate for people who marry young," he said, pointing out that Jay was 29 and Kristin just 26 when they tied the knot in 2013.
"People get married before their personalities are fully formed. Our parents' generation was more old fashioned and stuck together."
"20-somethings look at it as a starter marriage, like a starter house. It sounds great to be married, their friends are doing it... They seem to break up soon after kids are born."
He added: "A lot of these marriages/divorces are very contentious, they fight like cats and dogs. For celebrities — people in the spotlight – all of these issues are intensified."
According to the divorce papers, obtained by TMZ, Kristin cites "inappropriate marital conduct" and "irreconcilable differences" as the reasons she wants out.
She is seeking primary physical custody of their three young children with visitation for Jay, while he wants joint custody.
According to Bikel, the couple must also be careful to protect their brand as they split, as an ugly divorce could be "cataclysmic" to its value.
"The value of a celebrity brand can easily be in the tens of millions of dollars with endorsements, product lines, reality TV – all of which apply for Kristin," he said. "Conversely, any actions that sully that brand can reduce its value by similarly stratospheric dollar amounts."
He pointed to the example of the now-former couple's recent social media posts, as they quarantined together in the Bahamas — which could have cost their brand dearly.
"Kristin and Jay's ill-considered Instagram postings of living large in the Bahamas while her 4 million followers face COVID health and employment risks reduced that value," he said. "And now a 'perfect couple' divorce? It is critical to put a parting-as-friends face on the split. The 'nothing but love and respect' announcement was absolutely the right tone."
Bikel claims that amicable splits, such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's, or even the Bezos's, are "a necessary financial move."