Las Vegas is the marriage capital of the US, but that hasn’t stopped plenty of high-profile marriages that took place in Sin City over the years from ending in divorce…
As it’s relatively simple to get a marriage license in the state of Nevada, couples frequently flock to the night lights of Vegas to tie the knot. But, with so many couples choosing Vegas as the place to get married, that also means a lot of weddings that start out in Nevada do not stand the test of time.
History has also taught us that celebrities are just as likely (or even more likely!) to divorce as the rest of us. This means there have been plenty of famous Vegas weddings over the years which ended prematurely – with some barely lasting more than a few days! Given that finalizing a divorce can take up to 6 months, you wonder why they even went through the effort!
Here, we spill the beans on seven famous Vegas weddings that ended in divorce.
Spoiler: some were much less amicable than others!
7 Vegas Weddings That Didn’t Last the Course
- Elvis Presley and Priscilla Presley
‘The King’ himself married Priscilla Presley in 1967, at the Aladdin Hotel in Vegas. The ceremony itself was short and sweet, apparently lasting just eight minutes, and was witnessed by only a few guests.
The marriage soon soured, due in part to Elvis’ frequent trips away and rumored affairs. It went completely off the rails when it was reported that Priscilla had begun an affair with her Karate instructor, Mike Stone.
The pair separated in 1972 and their divorce was later finalized in 1973. On reflection, it seems a tad strange that various chapels around the city offer ‘Elvis weddings’ where an Elvis impersonator will preside over the ceremony. A bad omen, perhaps?
- Billy Bob Thornton and Angelina Jolie
Angelina Jolie’s most famous marriage was, of course, to Brad Pitt, with the couple being dubbed ‘Brangelina’. But this wasn’t a Vegas wedding. Jolie’s marriage to actor Billy Bob Thornton, on the other hand, certainly was.
After a rumored two-month courtship, where the couple displayed some interesting displays of love, such as wearing vials of each other’s blood around their necks, they got married in Vegas in 2000.
As we all know, it wasn’t too late. They separated in 2003, only a few months after announcing the adoption of a child from Cambodia. Jolie has since admitted that the divorce seemingly ‘happened overnight’.
- Bruce Willis and Demi Moore
Another famous Hollywood couple who only dated for a brief amount of time before deciding to get hitched was Bruce Willis and Demi Moore. Their Vegas wedding did last quite sometime before eventually coming to an end.
Willis and Moore met at the premiere for the film Stakeout 1987, then three months later married in front of a Vegas crowd. During the course of their marriage, the couple had three daughters but decided to call it quits on their time together in 2000.
Interestingly, or strangely depending on who you ask, they maintained a close friendship after the split, with Willis even attending Moore’s marriage to Ashton Kutcher.
- Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford
Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford drew plenty of the limelight during the early 90s as a bonified A-list couple. But, their Vegas wedding was much less glamorous than you might imagine.
Instead of the expected extravagant rings, the duo instead fashioned rings out of aluminum foil. On reflection, that was probably the first indication that the relationship wasn’t going to work out.
The marriage lasted four years, from 1991 to 1995. Crawford later stated that “It wasn’t the wedding I dreamed of. It was so last minute.” Probably an understatement.
- Nicolas Cage and Erika Koike
Larger-than-life actor Nicolas Cage has been married – wait for it – 5 times, with his previous two marriages both taking place in Vegas. While his current marriage to Riko Shibata is still going strong, his fourth marriage to Erika Koike was an unmitigated disaster.
Three words that never go together well: Vegas, drunk, and marriage. Those three combined with disastrous consequences when Cage tied the knot with Koike in 2019.
The marriage lasted just four days (yes, days) before it dawned on Cage that he had made a slight error of judgment. After initially applying for an annulment on the grounds that he didn’t know what he was doing and Koike had hidden a criminal record away from him, a divorce was eventually granted.
- Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith
Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith have been married on two separate occasions, with the first ceremony taking place in Vegas in 1976.
That first marriage only lasted six months before they decided to bring that chapter of their lives to a close, only to later reunite in 1989. Once again, the relationship wasn’t too long, coming to an end for the second time in 1996, but not before they gave birth to their daughter, Dakota Johnson – now a famous actress herself!
- Jason Alexander and Britney Spears *
While this Vegas marriage didn’t technically end in a divorce, it’s certainly worth a mention. Britney Spears had a shotgun Vegas wedding with childhood friend Jason Alexander in 2004 which lasted, drumroll please…55 hours!
Realizing that the decision to get married on a whim was probably not the most sensible one, it’s claimed that Spears’ mother forced her to file for the annulment.
The lasting legacy of the 55-hour marriage was an infamous wedding photo of Britney sporting a white baseball cap rather than a dress, sparking the media into a frenzy.
So, as you can see, plenty of celebrities have seen their dream Vegas wedding turn into a nightmare. That isn’t to say that all Vegas weddings are doomed to fail – plenty has been able to make their marriage work after tying the knot in Sin City. But, there are bound to be plenty more Vegas divorces in the future!