Monday 25 March 2019

Anatomy of a celebrity split: Una Healy and Ben Foden

Una Foden and Ben Foden attend the European Premiere of
Una Foden and Ben Foden attend the European Premiere of "Magic Mike XXL" at Vue West End on June 30, 2015 in London, England. (Photo by Tim P. Whitby/Getty Images)
SEPARATE WAYS: Singer Una Healy and international rugby player Ben Foden, seen here at the Ladies’ Day in Killarney, have ended their six-year marriage. Photo: Domnick Walsh
Una Healy, Ben Foden and their second child son Tadgh, who is now two, as Healy has told how she struggled with postnatal depression after giving birth to their son. Photo credit : Joe Giddens/PA Wire
Una Healy and Ben Foden have separated, her spokeswoman has said (Ian West/PA)
Una Healy and Ben Foden. Picture: Instagram
Ben Foden shared this picture of wife Una. Picture: Instagram
Una Healy and Ben Foden on their wedding day in 2012. Picture: Una Healy/Instagram
Una Healy on holidays with husband Ben Foden in Sardinia. Picture: Instagram
Caitlin McBride

Caitlin McBride

It’s easy to forget sometimes that celebrities are people too – sure, they’re a more privileged, wealthier, more beautiful bunch, but people nonetheless.

And people change: they evolve and their lives move beyond the pages of tabloid magazines and airbrushed photoshoots and with that blurred line of fantasy vs reality comes our fascination into what causes a break-up between two people you become emotionally attached to, despite them being perfect strangers.

With the announcement that Una Healy and husband of six years Ben Foden will be going their separate ways amid claims he was unfaithful, the headlines write themselves. In a society which thrives on the ascent and subsequent downfalls of others, particularly ones who have a seemingly picture perfect life; theirs was proof that no such thing exists.

While most celebrity splits can be tracked at least a number of months in advance, there are the solo red carpet appearances, the interviews filled with foreshadowing, the absence from social media - but Una and Ben avoided all the telltale signs that something was amiss.

SEPARATE WAYS: Singer Una Healy and international rugby player Ben Foden, seen here at the Ladies’ Day in Killarney, have ended their six-year marriage. Photo: Domnick Walsh
SEPARATE WAYS: Singer Una Healy and international rugby player Ben Foden, seen here at the Ladies’ Day in Killarney, have ended their six-year marriage. Photo: Domnick Walsh

There weren't the usual whispers among media types of reports that actually make it to the papers - in fact, they lived a quiet, seemingly normal life where they played with their children and were beautiful while doing so.

Over the course of the last few years, they weren't immune to rumours that they weren't rock-solid.

Sure, there were some signs - the fact that Una moved to Ireland for months on end to shoot The Voice of Ireland with their children Tadhg (three) and Aoife (five), but perhaps, most notably was when she changed her surname from Foden to her maiden name Healy in 2016.

"Foden suits Ben and rugby so well, and it's my real name and on my bank details and anything to do with the kids, but it doesn't suit Una Healy the singer. I just felt I needed my own identity and my own thing, but it was inevitable that the media were going to think the worst when I said I was going back to Healy," she explained.

"It's like a stage name and it has nothing to do with my marriage or my relationship with Ben. He is very supportive about it."

While appearing on The Saturdays's short-lived foray into reality television documenting their attempts to crack the US, Ben and Una seemed genuinely in love - new parents doting on their then infant daughter, agonising over spending time apart and being a genuinely happy couple in the throes of a new relationship.

Una Healy and Ben Foden. Picture: Instagram
Una Healy and Ben Foden. Picture: Instagram

As far back as 2013, viewers saw Una willing to give up her own career to focus on her husband's recovery (he had an ankle injury at the time) and as recently as last month, she was committed to doing the same in moving their young family to New York.

"I’m certainly thinking of moving to New York, so everything else might have to take a back seat for a while,” she said.

"As a family, we might relocate. I enjoy living abroad and exploring the world."

While her solo career hasn't exactly thrived, it's nothing to be sniffed at and it's significantly harder to replicate the success of a pop band without similar support. And she hasn't been resting on her laurels, she has been passionately pursuing music and songwriting interspersed with tv gigs and most recently, launched her debut shoe collection.

In April, Una was speaking excitedly about her excitement at the next chapter of her family life, although she was still unsure where it would take them - one of the less glamorous sides of marriage to a professional athlete is that contracts expire.

"We might have to move because Ben is coming to the end of his contract with the Northampton Saints and we’ll move probably to wherever he’s contracted next and we don’t know where that’s going to be," she told Independent.ie Style, in a rare interview after taking some time away from the spotlight.

Just last week, Ben was publicly gushing over his partner of 10 years, while also complimenting a brand for providing him with free styling for a red carpet event, saying: "I’m a lucky man to have this one by my side and supporting me. Obviously she stole the show with her performance and turning everyone’s head when she walked in to the room, I can’t say thank you enoug.

"I have to say a big thank you to @mreointhomas for styling me on the evening partnered with @chester_barrie as I've had a few hiccups with my dress sense over the years but they made sure I was looking my best on the night. #solid10"

Before that, he was sharing pictures of them at a friend's wedding and of her cleavage at a Hooter's restaurant in New York.

Last month, she was quick to praise her husband for being so "amazing" in helping her recovery from postnatal depression, which she experienced after the birth of her baby son Tadhg in 2015.

Unlike so many other carefully choreographed break-up announcements, this one was straight out of left-field, reported in The Sun with confirmation that Una had once again returned home to Tipperary to be with her young family and mother while her husband, presumably, is moving to New York as planned - this time, without them.

Online Editors

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