Celebrity interviews tend to be dull, predictable and highly choreographed affairs. The interviewee, who invariably has something to promote, is wary of sharing anything more revealing than her favourite shampoo. The interviewer, who is slowing losing the will to live, is acutely aware of the publicist breathing down her neck.
The strained dynamic leads to boring copy, but every so often we get a celebrity interview that breaks the mould, peels off the kid gloves and makes publicists everywhere hyperventilate.
Enter the gloriously unfiltered Louise Redknapp, who recently opened up about her 2017 divorce from footballer Jamie Redknapp in a blisteringly honest interview with You magazine.
“I should have paused and thought about other people and had just a bit more time to work out why I felt I couldn’t do it any more,” she told the interviewer. “I wish I’d tried. I want to say to anyone thinking of running: Just slow down. Don’t run.”
We’re used to hearing celebrities talk about their marriage breakdowns with carefully chosen, publicist-approved stock phrases: We remain partners in parenthood. We’re still best friends. It was amicable and respectful and not at all contentious...
We’re not used to hearing celebrities share the shoulda, woulda, coulda thoughts that they usually only reveal after a few glasses of wine with close friends.
Louise (46) gave a heartbreakingly honest interview which will no doubt speak to anyone contemplating a break-up, or dealing with a split that was far from decisive. Lots of people are thinking of splitting up under the pressure of the pandemic, and her advice to slow down and catch a breath is both sensible and timely.
But what about those who have already split up and who, like Louise, regret not working harder to try to save their marriage? Would they still be in their relationship if they took a different tack? Or do we all look back at past relationships with rose-tinted glasses?
In one sense, Louise has shared advice that we could all take on board. Good relationships require hard work and constant effort. Yes, I know, that’s the type of clichéd love advice you read on gilt-edged wedding paraphernalia, but it’s a cliché because it’s true.
The trouble, however, is that hard work and persistence aren’t compatible with the age of instant gratification. If an object breaks, you order a new one on Amazon. If a relationship flounders, you consider calling it quits and starting over.
Whether platonic or romantic, we could all do with a little bit more grit in our personal relationships. Yet at the same time, it’s important to know when something can’t be fixed, just as it’s important to remember that our memories can play tricks on us.
We like to think that relationship hindsight is 20/20. Months after splitting up, we think we can finally look at the relationship objectively and understand where it all went wrong. Yet no matter how much distance we get from the relationship, and no matter how much time we spend thinking about it afterwards, our memories are always going to be influenced by cognitive biases.
There’s the ‘peak-end rule’, which is our tendency to remember the peaks and end of an event more so than we do the mundane stuff in the middle. In relationship terms, that’s the honeymoon period, the starry-eyed highlights and the eventual break-up.
The soul-sapping, devastatingly humdrum moments in between are much easier to forget, which is perhaps why some people wonder if they were too quick to call it quits months, or even years, after ending a relationship.
There’s ‘rosy retrospection’, which is the tendency to remember past events as more positive than they actually were, or rather, the tendency to forget about the dishwasher arguments, the sulks and the snoring.
And then there’s ‘fading affect bias’, a pathological phenomenon whereby memories associated with negative emotions fade faster than memories associated with pleasant emotions. It’s a fantastic survival mechanism for dealing with pain and suffering, but not so much for looking back at past relationships.
Regret and indecision are par for the course when a relationship ends — and kudos to Louise Redknapp for opening up about it. But while it’s easy to dwell on the shoulda, woulda, couldas, it’s worth remembering that hindsight isn’t always accurate.
The ongoing Miss Ireland saga was once again the topic of discussion on yesterday’s Liveline.
Joe Duffy heard from Veronika Didusenko, the former Miss Ukraine who was forced to give up her crown when the competition organisers found out she had a five-year-old son, as well as Patrick McLoughney, who resigned as director of the Miss Limerick and Miss Clare legs of the Miss Ireland competition over the weekend.
The Irish leg of the contest has been embroiled in controversy ever since Miss Dublin finalist Blue Scannell was encouraged to withdraw from the competition after she questioned the discriminatory rules around motherhood.
The rules of eligibility for entry to Miss Ireland, and ergo Miss World, state that entrants have “never given birth to a child” and Blue, a student midwife, said she couldn’t partake in a contest that showed “a complete disregard for women”.
Blue was right to highlight the outdated rule but let’s not forget that we’re dealing with a fundamentally antiquated event that claims to be about more than beauty but which is, at its heart, a beauty contest.
During the 2019 Miss World finals in London, the contestants changed into skin-tight silver catsuits and danced around Peter Andre as he sang Mysterious Girl, for heaven’s sake.
No matter how much the Miss World competition tries to modernise itself, it is and always will be a superficial lovely girls competition. The outdated rules are the icing on the cake.
The pandemic is raging, the world is burning and the legal battle between Coleen Rooney (34) and Rebekah Vardy (39) is still ongoing.
In the latest plot twist, footballer Wayne Rooney’s wife Coleen, aka ‘Wagatha Christie’, has reportedly offered Jamie Vardy’s wife Rebekah a peace deal if she accepts that her Instagram account was the source of leaked stories to the press.
What happens next is anyone’s guess.