by Kellie Whitehead
You watch the trashy soap opera unfold. The drama! We love it, we live for it, we binge watch, we discuss, we share, or it might remain our ‘dirty’ little secret.
We judge, we laugh, we cry then we switch off. Safe in the knowledge that it’s not real, they are acting (yes, even in so called reality TV) and we forget about it until the next episode.
Then one day, your own life, or someone else close to you, turns into the IRL version. Then, you’ll find you are one of two people. Things are said, messages, posts, passive-aggressive memes, and a glut of ‘inbox me hun’ or even the dreaded silence. And you’ll love it, or hate it. Jerry Springer is great on the telly, but your dirty laundry in public? Heck no.
Until it gets too much. You are having a moment, there’s a trigger and you can’t help it, even if it’s followed by a dirty delete, it’s not really. There will be screenshots, there will be shares.
And this is just regular joes, imagine being a global celebrity with millions of followers, a famous husband, and a public breakup. Add into this mainstream media who will photograph you buying a coffee let alone anything else. The wolfpack is hungry.
Poor Alice Evans, the actress whose estranged husband, fellow star Ioan Gruffudd went ‘Insta official’ this week with his new squeeze. The couple had been together for 20 years and have two children together. The split, for Alice, at least, was clearly sudden, and there is a lot of understandable hurt and anger there. It’s a big deal.
And a big enough deal to take Alice to twitter in the latest celebrity meltdown we seem to love to see.
“So it turns out that my husband, after two years of telling me I’m a bad person and I’m not exciting and he no longer wants to have sex with me and he just wants to be on set abroad. . . has been in a relationship for THREE YEARS behind all our backs,” Alice wrote on Twitter.
I read behind my hands, no Alice, no, I think. And then I think why not? I’m conflicted and Alice continues.
“We were together for 20 years. We spoke every day, at least three or four times. He was my best friend, my twin soul. I don’t know how to move on. I will, but at the moment I have no idea,”
A 48-year-old man, with children in the mix and a long-term partner he has just left – why would you post an image so soon with your new lady expressing your newfound happiness, and of course, the killer line - “Thank you for making me smile again” It’s easy to feel a sisterhood sympathy for Alice.
But are there really ever any benefits for airing our linen so publicly? Because of course it gets worse. Mutual friends start commenting, fellow celebs. It turns out said mutual friends knew all along – news to Alice mind.
Honestly, our heart goes out to you and why wouldn’t it. You are clearly grieving, you have obviously been wronged, even just in the way your husband has publicly expressed his new love.
But is there EVER a time when expressing your pain so publicly is the right thing to do?
Cathartic maybe, I get it, for a couple of hours at least. Then you calm down, or sober up. Then it’s probably best to talk to friends, rather than talking to Twitter.
We live in a self-help culture where everyone is encouraged to share, but when kids are involved it’s always best to keep it schtum. The thing is, our stories are no longer just ours to share. They are also our families, and they have a right to privacy, now and forever, and those social media slanging matches are never going anywhere. Drama is entertainment, in real life and on a screen and when the participants are real people, we say, put down the phone.