Wednesday 7 December 2016

Caitlin McBride: When it comes to famous exes, silence really is golden

Published 29/06/2016 | 08:59

Rory McIlroy and Caroline in Abu Dhabi in 2014
Rory McIlroy and Caroline in Abu Dhabi in 2014
Vogue Williams and Brian McFadden at the VIP Style Awards 2014
Vogue Williams appeared on ITV's Loose Women
Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
Brian McFadden, Vogue Williams McFadden in 2013
Golfer Rory McIIroy and tennis player Caroline Wozniacki
Lisa Murphy and Michael Flatley
Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris on holidays. Picture: Instagram

There’s no such thing as a clean split these days.

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There was a time when mud-slinging between famous exes had two specific places: planted stories by your PR team in an attempt to control the narrative or my personal favourite, the tabloid tell all.

When you wanted to get back at an ex and stay in the limelight, there was one surefire way to make the biggest impact – a sit down interview with a glossy magazine or in more dire circumstances, the News of the World.

You would be holed up in a five star hotel, which they footed the bill for, photographed laying on a chaise lounge reminding the world you are "a survivor, dammit!" while getting more than a few digs in about the breakdown of your relationship/engagement/marriage.

Golfer Rory McIIroy and tennis player Caroline Wozniacki
Golfer Rory McIIroy and tennis player Caroline Wozniacki

Then, over time, everyone simply forgot about it.

These days, it’s more complicated. With the advent of social media, the mud is thicker and it’s slung a hell of a lot faster. This usually means the news cycle wraps quicker and your ill-fated romance is old news within a few days – unless, of course, you’re Caroline Wozniacki.

Two years after her split with Rory McIlroy, which admittedly sounds like it was pretty traumatic, she has commented on how “thankful” she was their relationship was over.

“Obviously it was hard at the time, but it was a great experience to go through and come out the other end of,” she told OK! Magazine.

I don’t know if I’d call an engagement ending a “great experience” for anyone involved, but both seem to be thriving since. He is engaged again to a PGA employee and she has reached new levels of celebrity and become an athlete turned ‘it’ girl to nab Anna Wintour’s attention - no easy feat.

Her latest comments are in stark contrast to her last public mention of him as just 10 months ago, she was saying that she was “ready for the media to move on”.

Brian McFadden, Vogue Williams McFadden in 2013
Brian McFadden, Vogue Williams McFadden in 2013

Now, presumably she was prompted by the reporter and isn’t going around Wimbledon screaming, “I swear I’m better for it!” to random journalists that pass, but it’s an odd time to bring it up.

She’s competing at one of the most prestigious tennis competitions in the world and yet, after begging to be left alone – she’s forgotten the phrase “no comment.”

And she’s not the only star guilty of bringing up their ex at an opportune time.

Vogue Williams, who was catapulted to fame after marrying McFadden (but has maintained her status by her own discernible talent), recently said she was going to stop talking publicly about her estranged husband as it “overshadowed” all of her hard work since their split in 2015.

“I work so hard every day and then it’s sort of overshadowed by a relationship that I’m not even in any more. It’s not fair on anyone,” she told Irish Tatler.

What did she do a week later? She told an enraptured crowd on ITV’s Loose Women that she and Brian McFadden "did hanky panky” on their first date.

Vogue Williams appeared on ITV's Loose Women
Vogue Williams appeared on ITV's Loose Women

“Me and Brian did hanky panky on the first night, and then we ended up getting married! It went well for a while. It just depends on the other person,” she said.

On a larger celebrity scale, we’ve all been treated to the latest chapter in Taylor Swift’s tour de boyfriends.

With pictures of her and Tom Hiddleson traversing Europe together; from her clad in wellington boots and a wax jacket in his native Sussex to romantic evenings in Rome, it seems it all got a bit much for poor Calvin Harris.

Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)
Taylor Swift and Calvin Harris (Photo by James Devaney/GC Images)

When asked by his Instagram followers about his ex’s new love, he said he was “free” then ranted that she “controlled the media” before soon deleting both comments.

When it comes to the appropriate decorum of a celebrity split, there’s only one person who I can think of who has maintained the most dignified of silences – Lisa Murphy.

It's been more than 10 years since her engagement to Michael Flatley ended and she has been inundated with lucrative offers to dish the dirt, but she’s never let a word slip, no matter how tempting the circumstances.

Not even after he said, "I loved Lisa, but I was never in love with her...marriage was just not on the cards.”

So here’s a sentence I never thought I’d say – let’s all take a page out of Lisa Murphy’s book.

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