Why are celebrity breakups so interesting?

The latest gossip about stars like Channing Tatum and Jessie J is thriving. But why are we so invested in their private relationships? (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images)

Celebrities line magazine shelves and tabloid stands around the world. From print publications to the social media stratosphere, celebrity gossip is thriving, but why is everyone so interested in their private relationships?

Isis Lucchesi, a fourth-year St. Thomas University communications student, said she’s followed the Kardashians since she was 11. She said she respects how T.V. celebrities give full access to their lives and feels a sense of loyalty to them.

“I started following celebrities at a pretty young age because I was not very happy about my life and seeing this perfect little world of celebrities made me feel fulfilled,” said Lucchesi.

Stuart Fischer, a media psychology professor at the University of California, said in a 2015 Medical Daily article that following celebrities can be beneficial to people’s psychology. Those who lack social skills can use celebrity gossip and fandom to bond with others, Fischer said.

But when it comes to celebrity breakups, Lucchesi said she’ll choose sides in certain situations, such as the breakup between Justin Hartley and Chrishell Stause from Selling Sunset. Hartley ended his marriage through texts. Lucchesi said she was “100 per cent” on Stause’s side.

The Medical Daily article also included a study of 17 students who had their brains scanned when told negative celebrity gossip. The study found the region of the brain associated with pleasure and reward showed “moderately strong” activity when they heard the negative gossip. The study showed that the participants enjoyed negative scandals more than positive celebrity gossip.

Alexander McCarthy, a fourth-year STU philosophy student, said he’s interested in reality stars, influencers and musicians because he grew up with them.

“Even if I don’t follow the particular celebrity’s life, it may interest me,” he said. 

While he follows accounts on Twitter and YouTube that talk about “celebrity drama” such as Angelika Oles, Spill Sesh and Smokey Glow, McCarthy said he verifies what he hears from YouTube tea pages or through Snapchat and Twitter.

“Most recently [I’ve been following] the Kardashians and musicians like Dua Lipa and Melanie Martinez,” he said.

Lucchesi said she fact-checks the gossip she hears through E! News and the source always has the correct information.

Still, she’s attracted to the gossip.

“Social media has that effect on people, you see something and you think that’s the reality,” she said.

That’s what gravitates me towards celebrity breakups, is thinking I know them, how could they break up? It’s personal to me.”