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Madonna erred in eschewing a pre-nup 

Madonna and Guy Ritchie are getting divorced. Surprised? I don't know why. Ray Charles could have seen this coming.

Madonna is the queen of reinvention, so it's unrealistic to think that a woman who constantly reinvents her style, expression and interests would not have a need to do so in a marriage.

Yes, they took vows before God, but this is a woman that has moved from Catholicism to Kabbalah and was dirty dancing with a black Jesus in a music video in the 1980s. That's gangsta, by the way; I'm not judging her for that. I'm not even judging her for stepping out with A-Rod, who is fine, wealthy and world-renowned as a Himbo. I don't understand why folks want to go where everyone else has been, especially when they claim to be so different from others, but that's another article.

Madonna allegedly cheating on her husband is not surprising. Besides, who knows what the rules were for that relationship. I seem to recall Madonna tonguing down a pre-meltdown Britney Spears and pre-virtuous Christina Aguilera on the stage of the MTV Video Music Awards, with husband Guy Ritchie cheering her on from his seat. There are no rules when it comes to Madonna, and Ritchie, by the way, is pretty out there himself.

What is surprising is that there was no prenuptial agreement. Yes, the queen of reinvention who is worth a half-billion dollars had no prenuptial agreement. What? This from a woman who previously said that she was not cut out for marriage post-Sean Penn. Madonna -- businessperson extraordinaire -- did not protect herself or her assets when marrying for a second time. This is someone who has experienced divorce and watched her close friend Roseanne Barr hand over $50 million to Tom Arnold, the original K-Fed. The "Material Girl" did not make a keen business decision to protect herself or her assets? Perhaps she has forgotten that we are living in a material world.

Now, I'm not going to tear down Guy Ritchie because there is no need. Contrary to many posts, Ritchie is no slouch himself. He was a very famous film director in the United Kingdom and worth $35 million before he married Madonna, so money was not an issue for him. Clearly he didn't have nearly as much as she, but he wasn't a K-Fed by any stretch of the imagination. He is talented and frankly, quite successful in film until tying the knot with Madonna.

What is interesting is that a person with so much to lose like Madonna would skip over this important detail of marriage, particularly when she worked like a dog to accumulate that kind of wealth. I understand not wanting to taint the possibility of a lifelong union with measures perceived as unromantic and presumptuous, but when you have so much to lose in the case of a divorce, particularly if and when you are at fault, it makes sense to protect yourself.

Perhaps she was not thinking about what she might lose and was focusing on what they both were gaining. I'm not that much of a curmudgeon. I actually believe in love and marriage. In fact, I fall quite hard when I do fall in love with someone, sometimes to the point of sheer stupidity. However, if I were worth half a billion dollars, there ain't that much love in the world that would prevent me from requiring a prenuptial agreement. Guess what? I would expect the same of my partner, especially if he were worth half a billion dollars.

Some folks think I'm an evildoer for believing this. Some say that prenuptial agreements take the romance out of marriage. Unfortunately, the material world supersedes the romantic world. There is nothing romantic about seeking a divorce, dividing assets and trying to protect yourself from a distraught, distressed, dispirited or disappointed spouse. I have often heard it said that you never truly know the character of a person until you go through a divorce. Divorce changes people. Divorce destroys people, and it can turn the greatest friends into enemies.

With the alarming rate of divorce in this country and abroad, especially among high-profile celebrity couples, a prenuptial agreement should be required. It protects the couple, their children and society from having to endure public spectacles like that of Sir Paul McCartney and Heather Mills. I'm sorry for stating the obvious, but Madonna, the original maverick, was not bucking any norms by not protecting her assets, the future of her children or herself. Prenuptial agreements should be a standing business practice among the rich and famous and the not-so-rich and famous.

As the world watches this latest celebrity divorce unfold, I can't help but be glad that I'm not married and have nothing worth splitting, but if ever I do, there will be a prenuptial involved. After all, we are living in a material world.

Nsenga K. Burton, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of communications and media studies at Goucher College and editorial director for

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