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John Mulaney was once stand-up comedy’s token nice guy, loved almost universally. But a stint in rehab for drug abuse and a subsequent divorce from his wife of five years contributed to his dethroning.

Fans took this news, along with the revelation of a new relationship with Olivia Munn, poorly. Mulaney had been mentioning his wife and his adoration for her in shows for years. They felt invested in his marriage, until he left his spouse for another woman and his persona suddenly dissipated.

Making matters worse, from an optical standpoint, is the couple’s confirmation of rumors they are expecting a child. The timeline is unclear — there is speculation the two relationships overlapped.

The debacle has begun a heated debate among fans. Some longtime supporters felt betrayed and hurt, equating it to the feeling of parents getting a divorce. Others defended Mulaney and asserted those fans were overreacting.

There’s likely a bit of truth to any perspective on Mulaney’s personal life. But at the same time, average fans couldn’t possibly know the ins and outs of either of these public relationships, and they’re even further from knowing about his addiction and how that may have affected the situation.

It’s possible the marriage was on the ropes for a long time before anyone on the outside knew.

This is true of nearly any celebrity scandal. As in life, these issues are not black and white. Fans don’t know what truly happened, and likely never will. Relationship troubles, and divorces, don’t necessarily transcend celebrities — nearly everyone faces them at some point.

Most of the time, it’s impossible to know the first thing about the intricacies of anyone’s interpersonal relationships. For some reason, people are much better at understanding that when it comes to private citizens.

Given hostile public reaction and media coverage when a celebrity’s relationship goes south, the general consensus seems to be that they are not owed that same graciousness nor privacy. 

I’m not saying celebrities shouldn’t face scrutiny for their decisions, as they set examples for the whole of society. Of course, their words and actions matter. Sometimes it’s hard to find compassion for them when many times, they choose to lead their lives in the spotlight.

Still, their personal lives should be free of unnecessary speculation — the same respect we hope would be granted to us.

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