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Does the Cox/Arquette Split “Scream” Publicity Stunt?

Hollywood couple David Arquette and Courteney Cox announced last week they are splitting after 11 years of marriage. The couple coincidentally announced their split before the premiere of their upcoming movie, “Scream 4,” and Cox’s season premiere of “Cougar Town.”

According to ET, Arquette and Cox’s relationship kicked off on the set of “Scream” in 1996. During the filming of “Scream 2,” the couple dealt with an on-again, off-again relationship. By the release of “Scream 3,” the couple seemed confused between being engaged and being married. Now, with “Scream 4” set to release April 15, 2011, the couple is separated.

Could this be one of Hollywood’s typical break-up publicity stunts?

We have all witnessed the various rumors and stunts many actors and actresses release to the public— just what they think will “up” their careers. Think Angelina Jolie, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston, for example. This tri-fecta received more publicity and attention than any other relationships in Hollywood. Celebrities remain in the spotlight whether they are dating new people, breaking up with co-stars, adopting more children or facing a new cheating scandal.

People Magazine announced Cox and Arquette have “agreed to a trial separation that dates back for some time.” So, why did they just go public about their break up?

It has been a decade since “Scream 3” was released, and fans need a reason to go see another Scream movie; this kind of drama might just be what attracts an audience, right?

With incidents such as these, PR professionals must deal with celebrities’ personal lives; sometimes, people’s perception of our job can be altered as a result. PR professionals know we must uphold the “best practices” motto when dealing with publicity dilemmas. People assume we know the situation and coordinate with a celebrity the ideal time to announce a personal issue.

PR professionals, however, are taught that when news is made public, we should approach the situation and immediately clarify the issue before the public or media assumes the worst. If PR professionals don’t immediately approach the public, these tactics sometimes backfire and affect the perception of the public relations industry.

Do you think this is a publicity stunt to hype “Scream 4?”

By Paige Niewerth

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