Breaking up is never pleasant for anybody. Particularly if you have a following and therefore have thousands of people giving their input into your personal and private life. There is no escaping for many celebrities who have suffered a dumping in the spotlight, however when looking slightly deeper at the breakup, it is interesting to observe how it can help or hinder their career and reputation.
A theme that is seen frequently when breakups in the spotlight occur is the female receiving more negative backlash from the press and social media than the male in the relationship, especially when they are seen to be the first to ‘move on’. A current example of this is the criticism Miley Cyrus faces after her confirmed divorce with childhood sweetheart Liam Hemsworth after less than one year of marriage. Branded by trolls for being ‘disgusting’ with ‘no respect for herself’ Miley was forced to respond to these comments with a powerful twitter post, which included the line; ‘Men (especially successful ones) are RARLEY slut-shamed. They move on from one beautiful woman to the next MOST times without consequence. They are referred to as ‘legends’, ‘heart throbs’, where women are called sluts/whores! I am trying to just THRIVE/survive in a ‘mans’ world”.
This is still extremely relevant today in breakups in and out the spotlight, the misogynistic attitude is still evidently engraved into the mind of society, therefore we need more strong females like Miley speaking up about slut-shaming post breakup and how women are just as free as men to be as sexually liberated as men during their single life.
Another issue around breakups in the spotlight is how the couple handles the breakup, especially when one party is non-famous. Two prominent examples of this recently are both related under the notorious ‘strictly curse’- which is the notion of couples breaking up with partners to form relationships with their dance partner on the show.
Both Stacey Dooley and Seann Walsh participated in the 2018 series of Strictly Come Dancing, which resulted in both of them ending long term relationships due to the show. Comedian Seann Walsh was caught passionately kissing his dance partner Katya on his girlfriend’s birthday, who then shared an emotional and empowering post on twitter insisting she was not a ‘victim’. Both Seann and Katya (who was also married at the time) were very embarrassed but insisted the snog was a drunken mistake- however since this Katya’s marriage to Neil Jones has also ended. Winner of the series Stacey Dooley’s ex-boyfriend didn’t react as gracefully to learning about her new relationship with dance partner Kevin Clifton, labelling him a ‘proper rat’ and a ‘slippery snake’ when he sold his story to a tabloid newspaper.
A breakup between a celeb and non-celeb can be particularly messy as the offer of selling a story or ‘inside scoop’ to a gossip column or tabloid can be very tempting to someone with no PR experience, however this is an extremely toxic and dangerous platform for a breakup story to end up- the more exposure it gets means more people feel entitled to offer their, often negative opinion.
Finally, it is important to mention, celebrity or not, a breakup is a painful experience- and being in the spotlight seems to somehow make it acceptable to mocking through comments and memes on social media. The split of DJ Maya Jama and grime artist Stormzy has invited an abundance of sarcastic comments as a reply to Maya’s social media posts – for example, one of many replies reading ‘are you living your best life? Or trying to make my man [Stormzy] jealous?’ and ‘LOL she trying to trigger Stormzy hard with this’ in reply to an image of her and boxer Anthony Joshua at work.
After months of these comments Maya has responded to the breakup, saying ‘breaking up was brutal in the megawatt glare of the 24 /7 news cycle’…’everyone just sees it as entertainment’. These upsetting comments again suggest Maya, as the female, is receiving the brunt of the breakup.
It seems breaking up in the spotlight amplifies all the worst parts of the experience, and exposes it to a large audience. A definite downside of the fame lifestyle.