It was a staggering moment for many of his fans when Germany’s funniest entertainer, Thomas Gottschalk (his name means “God’s fool”), 68, announced in March his divorce from his wife, Thea, after 42 years of marriage.
The couple seemed to be living proof that century-old values of fidelity within a marriage bond could stand rock solid in the treacherous waters of show business, an example for many of his peers.
Yet, what seemed everlasting on the outside had finally given in on the inside, and “Tommy” had already provided for a successor to his ex-wife. A life of rock and pop, and he is a connoisseur, did not keep his love life from petering out. It made me wonder, on that particular day, what one could do to avoid that.
“Are you alright?” Mr. V. the Siemens technician asked me, while I was the security guard at the reception desk, after he ordered that I should call up Ulli, as the other house technicians were occupied. He didn’t say “how are you,” but played a fast ball like a soccer dribbler and passed it to me.
After a while I said, “I struggle along.” After Ulli and Mr. V. did their job, they chatted in the backroom of the gate. I thought the time was right to interrupt them. “A question to the experts. Why wasn’t there a sabotage alarm in the marriage of Thomas Gottschalk? If there had been a fault message, the marriage could have been rescued.”
“If the interest is no longer there”, Mr. V. replied, “the interest in each other, then probably they grew apart. Her living in Malibu, him in Germany.”
“It used to be called love, or fidelity,” I said. “Now it’s called interest.” Ulli giggled and kept his arms crossed. I had equalized, and the match was now tied 1-1.
“I’m married for the third time.” Mr. V. continued, “Two marriages are already behind me.”
“What a pity,” I said.
“The first one lasted five years,” he said mercilessly. “I confronted my ex-wife with the choice, either your mother or me. She wanted to stay in her mother’s house, lacking in independence, but she couldn’t cope with the baby, and I bore the consequences.”