Playing for Keeps

04/11/2002 at 11:00 AM EDT

That's a sentiment Rimes likely understands. Family friends say that the constancy of marriage is just what the singer craved most, given her early rise to stardom (she was 14 when she scored her first hit, Blue), her parents' divorce in 1997 and her very public estrangement from her father, Wilbur, which only seemed to thaw at her February wedding. "LeAnn is the perfect example of someone who wasn't prepared for fame," says a longtime friend ."She is a very needy person with parents who weren't prepared for the effects of fame either." After meeting Sheremet at the 2001 Academy of Country Music Awards, Rimes seemed to take on a new confidence. "They're just a darling couple -- very unassuming, very gracious, very sweet," says L.A. jeweler Neil Lane, who crafted the pair's wedding bands. "They seemed like two people in love."

If Rimes had a difficult time enduring the stresses of early fame, actress Liv Tyler, 24, had to cope with even more emotional confusion. Her mother, former model Bebe Buell, didn't tell Liv that her father was Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler until she was 10. The pair had never married, and Buell, wanting her daughter to lead a simpler life, named a different boyfriend as her dad. By contrast, Tyler's engagement last year to Spacehog lead singer Royston Langdon, 28, might have made Emily Post proud. Langdon "is such a gentleman he even called Liv's father and asked for her hand in marriage," says Buell. "When you find someone lovely, you can't take that for granted. Good matches don't grow on trees."

But for stars, money does. Flush with the kind of cash that most ordinary folks wouldn't earn in a lifetime, most celebs find the price of a wedding -- and the prospect of supporting a family -- no impediment. "Being financially stable at a young age definitely gave me more confidence to get into marriage," says former teen star Kirk Cameron, 31, who married his Growing Pains costar Chelsea Noble, 37, 10 years ago. They are now the parents of five. "I knew I could support my wife and kids," he says.

Alas, wealth -- and good intentions -- do not always a good marriage make. Macaulay Culkin discovered that the hard way when his two-year union with actress Rachel Miner dissolved in 2000. Both 17 when they wed, Culkin concluded they "needed to take a step back." Why the rush in the first place? "He was getting married to do the right thing, unlike his father," observes his mother, Patricia Brentrup, who split acrimoniously from Culkin's dad, Kit, whom she had never wed, in 1995.

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