Aoife Finneran: Was age gap responsible for cougar courteney’s break-up?
IT could hardly be more ironic. This time last year, Friends star Courteney Cox burst back on to our TV screens with a vengeance, proving that there's life for sitcom actors after 45 in hit show Cougar Town.
The series featured a divorcee who dated younger men, which resulted in the term "cougar" entering into popular use.
It was a perfect role for the woman who appeared to enjoy an enduring relationship with a man seven years her junior.
Fast forward one year and it looks as if the raven-haired beauty is facing an uncomfortable case of life imitating art.
Okay, so the Courteney Cox-David Arquette split is nothing unusual. Hollywood makes and breaks couplings faster than most mere mortals can even manage to arrange a first date.
But considering the age gap between the pair, Cox isn't exactly the greatest advertisement for lovestruck cougars.
Rumour has it she "mothered" her husband, slipping into the senior role. Or maybe she's simply more of a Monica than we realised. Perhaps it's a natural progression for women who are older than their partners, but I can't think of anything less sexy or romantic.
It conjures up images of an errant husband being rapped on the knuckles for failing to do the laundry, or sent to his room for getting embarrassingly drunk in front of their friends.
Susan Sarandon might be able to shed a little light on the matter. After all, she enjoyed some strong cougar credentials thanks to her long-term relationship with Tim Robbins, a man 12 years her junior.
And if we're to believe all those whispers currently doing the rounds, there's trouble in the paradise marriage of 32-year-old Ashton Kutcher and his 47-year-old wife Demi Moore.
So what next for Courteney Cox? If she inherited any Monica genes from her Friends character, she can busy herself with an orgy of cleaning until the pain of the break-up subsides.
Alternatively, she can whip on the cougar mask and plunge back into a dating pool full of men half her age. To be honest, neither sounds enticing.
After all, there's a certain glamour attached to the cougar status, but reality shows it in a different light. We're not privy to the intimate details (despite Arquette's best efforts on the Howard Stern show) but this seven-year age gap might have caused significant problems.
It's a sad fact of life that ageing is considered a negative development for women, while men are said to blossom looks-wise as they get older.
In Courteney's case, there must have been nights when she felt like tackling that age-gap with some heavy duty face masks, anti-wrinkle creams and early nights, while her husband preferred some red eye-inducing socialising.
Her former Friends star Jennifer Aniston must know all about it. Let's not forget she dated John Mayer, a man nine years her junior. Surprise, surprise, the relationship didn't last because Jen wanted a cosy family while her man simply wanted to have fun.
This, ladies and gentlemen, is the real Cougar town. Frankly, it doesn't really sound like a great place to visit.
Cougarism didn't work for Madonna. It didn't work for Jen. And now it has failed spectacularly for Courteney. In a few short years, she'll be knocking on the door of 50.
Wouldn't it be nice to think that instead of avoiding snide jokes from a younger partner, she could instead celebrate in style with a man who is himself familiar with the prospect of ageing?