The real reason Robin Thicke and Paula Patton divorced

Singer Robin Thicke and actress Paula Patton were once one of Hollywood's sweetest and most adored couples. Having met and dated as teenagers, the duo had what everyone thought was lasting love, but the marriage began to crumble befoe our eyes in 2014. In October of that year, after nine years of marriage, Patton filed for divorce, marking the end of a romance many had come to respect and the beginning of a dark, nasty split that shocked their fans. From allegations of child abuse and drug addiction, to tanking careers and embarrassing behavior, there are numerous reasons this power couple pulled the plug.

He embarrassed himself with Miley Cyrus

Thicke and Miley Cyrus delivered a raunchy performance at the 2013 MTV Video Music Awards. To this day, it's still labeled one of the dirtiest and talked about moments in award show history. We suspect the critically-panned exhibition served up plenty of embarrassment for Patton and helped drive a wedge through their marriage.

Let's review: Cyrus and Thicke teamed up to perform their respective hits "We Can't Stop" and "Blurred Lines," but the fun duet took on a fornicatory feel when Cyrus, in a nude-colored ensemble, began twerking against Thicke's crotch, performing questionable gestures with a foam finger, and licking his neck. Insiders told Us Weekly that Thicke was upset Cyrus "hijacked the performance," but Cyrus told The New York Times her partner was just trying to save face after the fact. "He acted like he didn't know that was going to happen. You were in rehearsals! You knew exactly what was going to happen," she said. "And he was actually the one that approved my outfit, so I thought that was very funny. He wanted me as naked as possible, because that's how his video was. It was very much a collaboration."

According to TMZ, that VMA performance pushed Patton over the edge. The site claimed the Deja Vu (2006) actress felt "utterly disrespected" by her husband's antics on stage.

He can't keep his mitts off other women

After that much maligned VMA performance with Cyrus, Thicke soon found himself embroiled in even more drama off the stage. This time, a photo of Thicke posing with a fan caused the uproar. As the story goes, a beautiful blonde by the name of Lana Scolaro snapped a picture with the crooner at an MTV after party. Little did she know there was a mirror behind them showing Thicke helping himself to a large helping of Scolaro's backside. "I knew his hand was on my butt, but didn't know that there was a mirror," she told E! News after the picture spread like wildfire across the internet. She also denied claims that she'd Photoshopped the image to make it appear more scandalous. "I didn't even know that was the reflection until I uploaded it, and someone commented on it," she said. "I was just like, 'Oh I'll Instagram this photo with Robin Thicke, like everybody else.'"

Fans immediately began tweeting Patton about the image. In response to the drama, an insider for the couple told E! News the racy snap was a "non-issue," which could have been code for a war brewing at home. Days after the snafu, what appeared to be damage-control photos of a happy looking family surfaced online.

Did she feel overshadowed?

While Thicke's career exploded with the white-hot hit "Blurred Lines," Patton's career cooled down, and that may have incited some jealousy between them. For years, she was the spouse whose star was on the rise, having starred in blockbusters such as Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (2011). It was her name that was given top billing when media mentioned the couple, but all that changed in 2013 when Thicke transformed from a mediocre R&B artist into a Grammy-nominated A-lister.

Although Patton has continued to work consistently, the quality of many of her projects has been lacking. Romantic comedy Just Wright (2010) was terribly wrong, earning only a 45 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. The 2012 thriller Disconnect did not connect with audiences, earning just $210,744 its opening weekend, according to IMDb. Baggage Claim (2013) and The Perfect Match (2016) were also forgettable. In fact, Patton hasn't appeared in a wildly successful film since her turn opposite Tom Cruise in his Mission Impossible franchise.

His costly legal drama

Although Thicke and Pharrell Williams achieved chart-topping success with "Blurred Lines," the family of Motown icon Marvin Gaye claimed the pop stars stole their hit song from Gaye's catalog. The family filed a multi-million dollar lawsuit claiming the duo ripped off Gaye's famous 1977 song "Got to Give It Up," reported Us Weekly. After a lengthy trial, during which Thicke confessed to being so drugged up he was unable to fully participate in the writing process, a jury ordered Thicke and Williams to pay a stunning $7.3 million.

Williams testified in court that their song was not an "infringement" but rather, shared a "feel" with Gaye's tune. "While we respect the judicial process, we were extremely disappointed in the ruling made today, which sets a horrible precedent for music and creativity going forward," the duo said in a joint statement (via Us Weekly). "'Blurred Lines' was created from the heart and minds of Pharrell, Robin and T.I. and not taken from anyone or anywhere else…"

During a deposition for the trial (via People), an attorney asked Thicke, "Do you consider yourself an honest person?" That loaded question received an incredibly blunt response. "No," Thicke said. "That's why I'm separated. I told my wife the truth. That's why she left me."

His apology album fell on deaf ears

When Thicke's marriage turned sour, he turned to music for healing. After all, many a timeless album has been forged by the fires of heartache. Thicke decided to make an entire album about getting his wife back. As romantic as that sounds, Paula was a complete dud. According to Billboard, it was one of the biggest flops of 2014, selling only 25,000 copies its first week. Beyond the numbers, the content was terrible—14 tracks with shameless titles such as "You're My Fantasy," "Get Her Back" and "Love Can Grow Back." A review in the Atlantic described the project as follows: "It's messy, it's generally grammatically incoherent, it's humiliating for everyone involved."

But the embarrassment didn't end there. Over the course of the album's promotion, Thicke proceeded to break down crying during various performances. During the 2014 BET Awards, he opened his performance of "Forever Love" by groveling (via Us Weekly), "I'd like to dedicate this song to my wife, and say, 'I miss you, and I'm sorry.'" His performance was emotionally moving…for him, at least. Thicke even paused a few times to wipe away his sniffles. Meanwhile, Patton's public silence during his apology tour was deafening.

He admitted to drug and alcohol problems

Thicke has been open about his battles with drug and alcohol abuse. In an April 2014 deposition for his "Blurred Lines" lawsuit, he confessed to substance abuse. In the court documents (via People), Thick says he "didn't do a sober interview" while promoting the song. "Everyday I woke up, I would take a Vicodin to start the day and then I would fill up a water bottle with vodka and drink it before and during my interviews."

In the deposition, Thicke also said he had nothing to do with the creation of his smash song. "I was high on Vicodin and alcohol when I showed up at the studio," he said (via The Hollywood Reporter). "…nine months later, it became a huge hit and I wanted credit. So I started kind of convincing myself that I was a little more part of it than I was…But the reality is, is that Pharrell had the beat and he wrote almost every single part of the song." At the end of the deposition, Thicke claimed to have given up Vicodin, but not booze.

Does 'Blurred Lines' condone rape?

As "Blurred Lines" began to burn up the airwaves, critics took a closer look at the lyrics, and many argued that the catchy track promotes rape. Thicke tried to clear up the controversy, telling BBC Radio 1 (via The Hollywood Reporter), "I can't even dignify that with a response; that's ridiculous." He said the lyrics were about "blurring the lines between men and women and how much we're the same" and "blurred lines between a good girl and a bad girl." He noted, "Even very good girls have a little bad side. You just have to know how to pull it out of them."

As for the accompanying video and its nude women? Thicke shifted blame to Director Diane Martel, claiming it was all her idea. He said he didn't want the video to be "sleazy" and wanted to film only the clothed version of the video. "I've always been a gentleman. I've been with the same woman since I was a teenager. So I don't want to do anything that's inappropriate." Thicke added that his wife and her friends reportedly encouraged him to release the naked version.

She accused him of child abuse

In January 2017, a custody battle between Thicke and Patton erupted over allegations that the singer may be abusive toward their 6-year-old son, Julian. According to TMZ, Julian told school officials his father spanks and punches him, which prompted the school to file a complaint with the Los Angeles County Department of Children and Family Services. In legal documents, Patton said Julian also told her that Thicke spanked him "really hard," reported TMZ.

Thicke defended his parenting in legal documents: "On a very rare occasion and only as a last resort, I will use light spanking, but it is consistent with the law—open hand on the butt," he said (via Us Weekly). "This is the type of discipline to which Paula and I agreed during our marriage."

Patton reportedly tried to restrict Thicke's visitation with their child. According to Us Weekly, she filed an emergency order requesting a drug test and only monitored visits with Thicke, but a source said the "judge denied everything in [Patton's] complaint" and that "Child Protective Services didn't see any evidence of wrongdoing."

However, on Jan. 26, 2017, a judge issued a domestic violence restraining order forbidding the singer from coming in contact with Paula and Julian, reported TMZ. Sources told the tab the court's decision was prompted by Thicke "banging on" Patton's door when he went to her house for a scheduled visit with their son and she refused to answer. Thicke reportedly denied that version of events.

He accused her of emotional abuse

Patton isn't the only one lobbing abuse allegations. Thicke's lawyer alleges Patton is being investigated by the L.A. County Dept. of Children and Family Services for emotional abuse, reported TMZ in January 2017, claiming she has intentionally tried to alienate Julian from his dad.

This batch of mud was slung just a week after feel-good stories surfaced about the family pursuing counseling. A source told People that "both parties are working with a therapist who is advising on Julian's best interest…Ms. Patton will continue to do what is right for her son." A second source added, "Robin wants to keep Julian's best interests at heart." That sounds lovely, but we suspect progress will grind to a halt if these parents continue to spar in court.

In-law drama

Did some of this marital stress stem from tensions between Patton and her father-in-law, Growing Pains star Alan Thicke? Robin claims there was little love between his father and his ex-wife. When Alan unexpectedly died of a heart attack, at age 69, Robin reportedly banned Patton from attending the services. In court documents pertaining to the aforementioned custody battle, Robin alleged (via TMZ), "Paula did not have a positive relationship with my father and often made negative comments to me about my father. As such, she was not welcome at his funeral."

Robin and Patton began dating as teenagers, so just how long had that bad blood been brewing? It's unclear, considering Patton has shown no signs of ill will toward her former father-in-law. In the wake of his passing, she posted a loving tribute on Instagram: "I knew Alan since I was 15 years old and he had a tremendous effect on my life. I loved and respected him so much! So many great memories and laughs together. We will miss him so much! His grandson is quite sure he is still here with us in spirit."

Will they reconcile?

While this puppy-love pair has a long history together, it seems unlikely they'll rekindle the romance. At best, perhaps they can figure out a way to amicably co-parent their son and keep their personal lives out of the headlines.

Patton seems to have moved on, posting inspirational messages to her Instagram, including this pic of her "boxing out the pain and love…breathing in hope & love." She told Entertainment Tonight in March 2016, "It didn't work out. It was a good time…Yes, I was very in love…I am hoping to feel that way soon." The 40-year-old added, "I love to love and I believe in love so much…you got to get back up and give it a go again."

Robin has clearly given it a go, with a much younger lady. Model April Love Geary, who celebrated her 22nd birthday in December 2016, is not shy about plastering her Instagram with bikini-clad, PDA-packed photos with her beau, who turns 40 in 2017.