1. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    A famous person having a "secret" marriage: plausable?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by agentkirb, Apr 22, 2012.

    One of the plot devices in a story I'm writing involves someone having a secret marriage (in the US) that no one ever finds out about by normal means. But on top of this, the person that is involved is someone famous. Like for example, say the mayor of a town for 20+ years has been married to someone but the arrangement was kept secret. Do you think this is plausible that someone famous could go 20 years without anyone ever finding out? I imagine if someone looked hard enough they could look up old marriage records, but those records might be hard to come by and the people looking might not know what they are looking for. I was thinking it might be impossible to keep this a secret because you would think that some random reporter at some point in time would do research on this famous person and stumble upon the fact that he's married and that would be the end of the secret.
     
  2. superpsycho
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    superpsycho Contributing Member

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    If the couple never tell any one, sure.
     
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  3. Trilby
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    Trilby Contributing Member Contributor

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    married - do they not live together?

    If they do live together it would be hard, if not impossible, to keep it a secret for any length of time.

    If they married and went their separate ways; because they had made a mistake - then they could possibly keep it a secret.
     
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  4. prettyprettyprettygood
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    prettyprettyprettygood Active Member

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    I don't think it's particularly implausible, unless the Mayor's relationships have been the subject of gossip there would be no call for a reporter would check up on the marriage records. My only doubt would be that would be that there may be thorough searches carried out when he became Mayor, if the marriage took place before that?

    Also, and I'm no expert on this having just googled it a minute ago, but if the Mayor knew at the time he wanted to keep the marriage secret they might have considered a confidential marriage in California- from what I can see a search might show up that someone is married, but only the people named on the certificate can obtain proof/a copy of the certificate. Or, they might have got married outside of the US; I believe (I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong!) there is no requirement to register a marriage abroad in your home country - I'm sure that was the case when I looked into Getting married abroad, anyway.
     
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  5. Nakhti
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    Nakhti Banned

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    Yeah, it could certainly work if they were married abroad. Would it also be more difficult to trace of it was in another state?
     
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  6. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    of course it's possible, depending on the circumstances you set up for it... they could have:

    married in mexico or canada, or abroad [next to impossible for anyone to discover, without knowing exactly where]

    not used their real/current names

    married privately, without obtaining a license [if they lived together as a married couple, for the legally-mandated period of time, it would be a legal 'common-law' marriage]

    they could have been legally married and gotten a divorce that was not legally recognized for one reason or another [obtained in another country; papers not filed correctly; etc.]

    could have been legally married in their own country, but the records had been destroyed in fire/flood/whatever

    ...it's your story, so you can make it believable in any way you want...
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    It has happened. Of course, it also helps that fame itself is fickle. Celebs drift in and out of the public eye, and a lot can remain hidden diuring periods of relative obscurity.

    On the other hand, most celebs, or those who orbit around them, live to be noticed. And that is not conducive to keeping secrets.
     
  8. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Yeah, they wouldn't live together so I guess that makes it easier. And it would have to be an actual legal marriage... the sort of thing I'm going for is almost like a defrauding the government type of thing where they get married for the legal benefits a person can get from being married to another person. The marriage could happen in another state definitely... I could write that in. Another country probably wouldn't be realistic if the point is to get married for legal reasons.
     
  9. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    if no one has a reason to start checking him up regarding that I can very well believe it could happen. I can imagine someone getting married in his/her youth and then separate without ever proceeding with an actual divorce. Especially if he/she never remarried, that, I guess would be plausible.
     
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  10. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    That's what I'm thinking. But I figure if you are in the political realm, some random reporter might check for records and find out somehow... I don't know how any of that works. But I could write the story so that the marriage happened in another state and they aren't living together and hasn't gotten remarried. Sounds like I should be fine.

    Thanks for the opinions everyone.
     
  11. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    "Common law marriage" does not exist in every state of the US. Many do not have any version of it at all. A woman/man can always file for child support payments, but unless they are legally registered as married at the local courthouse they will NOT be entitled to the legal benefits of a spouse.
     
  12. Rose Hunt
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    It is possible. Secrets are kept all the time in the family closet. Sometimes they come out when a person dies, sometimes they don't. I personally hate the fact that my mother in law swears up and down that my mom told her that a slew of family secrets were going with her to her grave. My mom is dead and still she says it to me, and it hurts. So a secret can be kept as long as the people keeping it keeps it.
     

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