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Life after heartbreak: stars speak out on break-ups, divorce and the lessons they've learned from failed relationships

If there's a universal truth that binds us all, it's the pain caused by a break-up. 

First there's the realisation that something is wrong. Madonna admits thinking "This isn’t what I thought it was going to be" when the cracks started showing in her eight-year marriage to Guy Ritchie, while Brad Pitt says of Jennifer Aniston, "[I was] trying to pretend the marriage was something that it wasn't."

Then come the tears. Kate Moss says she suffered "years and years of crying" after she parted ways with long-time love Johnny Depp in 1998, while Kate Winslet recalls needing "a f***ing good cry" when her marriage to director Sam Mendes broke down in 2010. 

Next up is the anguish and bafflement. "Divorce is devastating," according to House of Cards star Robin Wright, who called it a day with Sean Penn in 2010 after 20 years together. Orlando Bloom says he felt "rudderless" when his relationship with Miranda Kerr went south last year.

Finally, there is acceptance. "Life changes," says Heidi Klum, of the demise of her and Seal's marriage, while Reese Witherspoon reflects that "I was ridiculously young. I learnt a lot, though" from her eight-year union with Ryan Phillippe. 

Come see what the stars have to say about break-ups, divorce and life after heartbreak in the gallery, above.

Photos: Rex Features and Getty Images

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