this is "nightline." >> tonight, divorce party. >> happy divorce! >> this couple knows the secret of a healthy divorce. >> a lot of work. >> yeah. >> and humility and sacrifice. >> cheering on their newfound single status with a blowout for friends and family. could this be a new trend in our separation nation? plus, cover girl. celebrating michelle obama. bringing new designers to the white house. giving smaller names a big platform. >> i wouldn't be here talking with you had it not been for her. >> a look at her legacy of style and strength. kendra's kineness. what was kendra wilkinson doing at this california k-mart? the answer had some families
crying holiday tears of joy. >> merry christmas. >> first the "nightline 5." >> it's only lunch and my cold medicine's wearing off. >> yeah, that's only lasting a few hours. >> mucinex fights congestion for 12 hours. >> thank you very much she'll stick with the short-term stuff. >> 12 hours, i guess i won't be seeing you for a while. >> is that a bisque? >> i just lost my appetite. >> why take medicines that only last four hours when just one mucinex lasts 12 hours? start the relief, ditch the misery, let's end this. >> number one in just 60 seconds.
relationships they've held dear for years. one family is breaking with break-up tradition, turning the end of their marriage into celebration. here's abc's nick watt. >> reporter: divorce is so very often ugly. brangelina, no more. johnny depp versus amber heard, damage done. mccartney/mills, richard/sheen, bullock/james, ugly. there are nearly a million divorces in america every year. >> it was heartbreaking, it was really hard work, it was devastating. >> reporter: michelle and jeff from berkeley, california. they just got divorced. >> it's like having a death. you grieve. >> reporter: okay, but -- >> the first day of being divorced we had the party. >> reporter: the divorce party. yes, party. celebrating the end of their marriage. friends, family, bottles of booze, celebratory signs, "just divorced" on the car, champagne. >> happy divorce!
>> reporter: 24 years together, two kids, pop, gone. >> people that know them understand that this is something they would totally do. >> reporter: let's tee this up with louis ck wit and wisdom. >> divorce is always good news. i know that sounds weird. but it's true. because no good marriage has ever ended in divorce. >> reporter: spoken as a divo e divorcee. >> you're celebrating the death of something, the end of something. >> no, the beginning. >> we're not celebrating the fact that we're getting divorced, we're celebrating the way in which we did it. >> reporter: the way they did it. lessons, perhaps, for the rest of us? >> i think there's a lot of animosity when couples separate due to the finances. >> reporter: they war like the roses. >> i am the one who found this house, i bought everything in it! >> with my money! it's a lot easier to spend it than it is to make it, honey buns! >> i didn't feel that way. >> i never felt that way. >> yes, we're both much poorer than we used to be. but again, just things. >> any sticking points, maybe an
old crosby, stills and nash album? no? >> none. >> you know, we figured out that we didn't care about the stuff. >> just things. this girl and her sister, who's not here, are the most important things to us. >> reporter: kids are often collateral divorce damage. remember this canadian kid in the viral video telling us what kids of divorce really want? >> i want you, mom, my dad, everyone, to be friends. i want everyone to be smiling. not like being mad. >> did you enjoy the party? >> yeah, i thought it was really fun. >> bittersweet at all? >> no. >> your parents are getting divorced. >> i didn't feel sad daat all. i thought it was fun. >> it is healthier for the kids if the kids can feel they have two parents who are good people but for whatever reason just couldn't live together anymore. >> i love the idea of the party. i think it was a good way to show everyone that no matter what, even if they're divorced, we're still a family and nothing has really changed.
>> we have two beautiful, smart daughters, we have a good sense of humor. we're still a family, just a different type of family now. >> how do you make this work? >> a lot of work and humility and sacrifice and discussion and careful thought. >> and professional help. >> so -- congratulations? i suppose? >> that's the best thing to say, yes. >> yes. that's actually what everyone has told us. they walked up to us at the party, "congratulations?" in the form of a question. they didn't know what to say. >> reporter: brings us to what happens to mutual friends. >> you take sides. >> yeah, we hope our friends don't ever have to do that. >> they don't have to pick sides. you know, we're still going to be friends forever and we want to keep our friends forever. >> it's an admirable goal that this couple wanted to send a message to their friends. it's also a way for the couple not to lose anything more than they already have lost. they've lost a marriage. they don't want to lose half their friends due to loyalty
issues. >> you seem to still like each other. >> yeah, we're friends. we've been friends for -- >> half our life. >> reporter: why get divorced at all? >> it's been a multi-year process, put that it way. >> multi-year process, okay. >> we didn't take the decision lightly. >> we just did a lot of self-examination. and realized, we had fallen out of love. that just happens. it happens for a lot of reasons. >> yeah, the people who i would feel sorry for are the people who recognize that they're in that situation and they stick together for the wrong reasons and then they're unhappy for the rest of their lives. >> pole dancing, here we come. >> reporter: okay. here at "nightline" we have actually seen people celebrating singledom. alone. like vanessa, mother of four who divorced after 15 years of marriage. >> we're having a divorce party. >> swing your left leg around, pick up your feet -- >> it's funny how i could be so happy and excited for today, and
it brings tears to my eyes that i'm just so thankful to be where i'm at in my life. >> reporter: have you tried skydive therapy? >> oh my god, oh my god, oh my god. >> what do you say to your ex-wife? >> hey, i did it without you and i'm going to continue to do things without you. my wife leaving and moving into her own place was really a shock. i went through the depression phase, the heartache, the what-ifs. >> i think him having this party is really like helping him get out and just have fun and enjoy himself. >> reporter: but jeff and michelle celebrated together. >> i also have the idea that the party was a way to not feel sad. it was a way to avoid feeling sad. because how could you not feel sad? >> reporter: not long before gwyneth and chris consciously uncoupled, she told me this. >> it's not easy to be married for ten years. you know? >> i do. >> reporter: later, she hosted
an essay that read in part, our biology and psychology aren't set up to be with one person for four, five, six decades. >> who you are at 20 may not be who you are at 40 or 50. >> reporter: we grow apart. >> people are living longer. so they're asking themselves the question, can they be happy with their partner? >> any chance of reconciliation? >> no. he's super cute, but -- >> now available. >> i've certainly heard of divorce parties where one person is present, and it's almost a way to put their past behind them and celebrate a new chapter in their lives. so this is certainly something new. but i'm sure it won't be the last joint party that we see moving into the future. >> it might be offensive to some people that we're letting that go. and then on top of it, celebrating it. but that's not how we look at it. >> reporter: i'm nick watt for "nightline" in berkeley, california.
next, a style salute to a fashionable first lady. how has she changed the lives of young immigrant designers forever? and later, reality star kendra wilkinson staying secret santa at a california kmart. nd. thinking about what to avoid, where to go... and how to deal with my uc. to me, that was normal. until i talked to my doctor. she told me that humira helps people like me get uc under control and keep it under control when certain medications haven't worked well enough. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections and cancers, including lymphoma, have happened; as have blood, liver, and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure. before treatment, get tested for tb. tell your doctor if you've been to areas where certain fungal infections are common, and if you've had tb,
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perhaps as significant as her gift of style, impacting lives and industries far beyond what you might expect. here's my "nightline" coanchor juju chang. >> reporter: from the moment she stepped out into that inaugural parade almost eight years ago, michelle obama sparked a fashion revolution. pairing her j. crew gloves with a one-of-a-kind handmade dress. that inauguration dress turned isabel toledo, a relatively unknown cuban-born designer into an overnight sensation. >> she was glowing from within. >> it was really the moment. it was magic. it was -- >> you're getting emotional. >> yes, because i get approached by people that experienced it and felt times had arrived that we were moving forward. that things are happening. >> what did that dress communicate? >> optimism. >> reporter: channelling tradition. when pomp and the circumstance required it. but also adding fun with her own
fashion flair. she broke all the first lady fashion rules. embracing bold prints and textures. even going sleeveless. >> oh my gosh! >> reporter: nita garcia of "marie clair" said it made people think about a friend rather than a first lady. >> showed her arms, wore strapless, showed off the shoulders. all of a sudden every woman, including myself, wanted very ripped arms like michelle obama. >> she launched many bicep girls. >> reporter: the first lady making fashion relatable to the masses, wearing ann taylor and j. crew, along with high-end designers from michael kors to ralph lauren. customers clamoring to buy her next look. >> she was a first lady that mixed high and low fashion. she was relatable. >> reporter: she secured her role as fashion's first lady by appearing on the cover of "vogue," now three times.
this month anna wintour writing, no other american in the public eye has done so much to raise awareness around the rest of the world of our country's designers and labels." >> so funny, because a lot of people who don't really care that much about fashion think, oh, fashion. kind of frivolous. but it's not. it can be very substantive. >> for michelle, she made sure that it mattered quite a bit. and if you think about it, it's really a dollar industry. she came just at the right moment where there was so much rising talent. >> reporter: toledo's design, like many of the first lady's choices, ending up in museums. toledo took me on a tour of her personal archive. designs that also hang in michelle's closet. in many ways, michelle obama became a fashion fairy godmother. >> jason woo in the inauguration dress. that white, beautiful,
one-shoulder, wide applique dress. that gown was for me she's such a fascinating woman to dress. >> reporter: garang, the 31-year-old designer from nepal, was born in singapore. michelle obama chose his smoky red sleeveless dress for the 2010 white house correspondents' dinner. >> how much pride do you get when you see it on tv, you see her walking around in it? >> i sat there, when i saw that, and i just thanked -- thanked i don't know who it was, god or whoever was responsible. >> michelle obama made very conscious style decisions in picking various designers. >> yes. >> but she also, it seems to me, purposefully chose emerging designers for whom she could play a pivotal role. >> she could have just chosen to wear the stylish designers. i wouldn't be here sitting, talking with you, had it not been for her and her gestures. and like me, there are a few -- so many other designers she's decided to wear.
it really changed our career. it really impacted no longer were we, oh, the new designers, we were the new designers the first lady of america is wearing. >> reporter: garung now dressing hollywood a-listers like jennifer lawrence and anne hathaway, to fashion royalty like dutch chet kate. >> the irony is these are new designers many of whom are immigrants. >> yes. >> truly american designers. >> absolutely. for me, born in singapore, the american dreams that you hear about, read about, talk about, you know -- i wanted to try it. and it is the only country honestly that comes true. >> it's the true american dream. >> it is. it is. that's what the first lady, michelle obama, did. she decided, knowingly or unknowingly, to highlight and focus on the young, emerging immigrant and american designers and the changed our lives completely. >> reporter: that realization of the american dream firmly stitched into the fabric of the first lady's fashion legacy.
>> this is globalization in one dress. >> france, india, made in new york. >> i don't mean to be overly political, and yet we are at a time where there's a new president who is anti-globalization in a way. >> i made a conscious decision to make majority of my clothes in new york. 90% to 80% of the collection is made in new york. >> reporter: like first ladies before her, michelle obama exits the white house stage leaving behind a fashion high watermark. nancy reagan's high-end glamor and of course jackie kennedy who became a fashion icon. >> are you ready? >> of course. >> reporter: whose life and style nightly portman channel in the new movie "jackie." the fashion world is watching as designers remain divided on who may or may not dress the next first lady. >> diane von furstenberg and calvin klein all say yes. mark jacobs, derek lamb, tom ford say no. tom ford explaining his decision on "the view." >> she's not necessarily my
image, and you know also, the first lady, other than the fact that i am a democrat and voted for hillary and am very sad and disappointed that she's not in office -- >> reporter: but what about isabel toledo, whose dress ushered in that historic moment eight years ago? >> if melania trump asks you to design a dress? >> absolutely. i would design a dress for melania. i'm not a politician, i'm a dressmaker. that's my call, that's my job. i can appreciate when i can create a moment that communicates to everybody. >> reporter: he's a bit more nuanced. >> as a brand we believe in equality, as a brand we believe in diversity. knowing that the future first lady, melania trump, would like to be dressed, i'd like to believe that she sigh lently yet surely she's showing solidarity with all of our beliefs. if that's the case, i would love to dress her. >> reporter: melania trump will certainly have big, fabulous shoes to fill. >> the first lady michelle
obama, she's unapologetic about being a woman, embracing fellei femininit femininity. she loves fashion but it doesn't dictate her. >> reporter: for "nightline" i'm juju chang in new york. running into kendra wilkinson at a department store is exciting enough. what came next for these lucky shoppers? it left some of them in tears. it's your last chance to save during the final days of the ford year end event. hurry in for the best deals of the season on ford, america's most awarded brand. with the most 5-star ratings... and the highest owner loyalty... giving drivers what matters most. that's how you become america's best-selling brand. just announced, get $1500 total cash on select models, on top of the best offers of the season. hurry, the final days of the ford year end event end january third.
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finally tonight, santa claus is getting some surprise help from a reality star. >> thank you so much. >> how are you? >> merry christmas. >> thank you very much. >> reporter: 'tis the season. >> we're here to pay your layaway. >> reporter: for giving back. reality star kendra wilkinson giving out hugs and gifts at this california kmart. teaming up with pay away the layaway to help 18 families this holiday season. >> some of them came up with tears, some of them came up with big smiles. it was so powerful, beyond words. the national nonprofit organization focuses on kids' gifts and needs and is funded by
donations from layaway angels lichen dra. >> being able to give, that feeling just sticks with you for a very long time. >> reporter: from baltimore -- >> this is just such a blessing. >> reporter: to norfolk. >> payawaythelayaway.org is paying every single person's layaway. >> reporter: this organization and its volunteers helping spread holiday cheer across the country. as for kendra, no gift is too small. >> everybody thinks that they have to donate a big lump sum of money to bring people happiness. that's not even about that. people have donated $5, $10, $20. that goes such a long way. >> you know, this is what happiness is. >> it was b.c. forbes, the founder of "forbes" magazine, who said, christmas is a tonic for our soul, it moves us to think of others rather than ourselves."
thank you for watching abc news. we're online at abcnews.com and our "nightline" facebook page. thanks for the company, america. good night. >> hey, everybody, i'm so glad you've joined us, because it's victory for veterans week, where we're giving back to the veterans who have sacrificed for our country by giving them a chance to win $1 million and i would be thrilled to see one of them do just that. so let's play "who wants to be a millionaire." [dramatic music] ♪ welcome to "millionaire." it's victory for veterans week. we're celebrating the men and
women who have bravely served our country, with the help of the non-profit charity dav, disabled american veterans. dav provides a lifetime of support for veterans of all generations and their families, and i'm very happy to have a few dav members in our audience today. good to have everybody here. [cheers and applause] as a u.s. marine corps veteran, today's contestant served as a staff sergeant and platoon commander. from phoenix, arizona, please welcome mr. stephen carter. [cheers and applause] stephen, how are you, sir? >> good, sir, thank you. >> good to have you. [cheers and applause] stephen, welcome to "millionaire." >> thank you, sir. >> thank you for being here. thank you for your service. very much appreciated. >> thank you, thank you. [applause] >> what made you want to join the military? >> if i'm being honest with you, chris, i always knew that i wanted to serve. when i was in high school, that's when 9/11 happened,