To ring or not to ring - what are the rules for wearing your wedding band when your relationship's on the rocks?
If you’ve paid attention to the ebb and flow of celebrity marriages lately, you’ll have noticed a puzzling inconsistency.
The template was meant to run as follows: celebrity weds; celebrity declares everlasting love; celebrity steps out with spouse looking “loved up”; almost immediately afterwards, the marriage is said to be on the rocks; celebrity or spouse is spotted sans wedding ring; marriage ends. And the cycle begins again, sometimes many times over.
Except for Louise Redknapp. Louise has upset the natural order of things by keeping her wedding ring on while her marriage to former footballer Jamie is rumoured to be approaching its destination (divorce). Having checked the celebrity marriage rulebook, I can confirm she’s made a category one error here. Because when your relationship is going through tumultuous times you are not supposed to put a ring on it. Just ask Coleen Rooney, for she has consulted the rulebook and obligingly removed hers in a respectful nod to a) the tumultuous times her own marriage, to footballer Wayne, is going through, and b) the rules.
For additional evidence of these rules, we could extend our cultural references further back, and higher-brow. Witness Madonna (I said higher-brow, not high-brow) circa 2008. There she was, dutifully stepping out without her wedding ring, in tribute to the swirling rumours of a split from then-husband Guy Ritchie. In fairness, the end of this marriage was long overdue, having dragged on for more than seven years. (Seven celebrity years, remember, is equivalent to 40 human years.) To cut a short story shorter, the marriage ended in divorce.
Madonna may have flouted all rules of public decency, modesty and not upsetting the Catholic Church, but she showed herself to be a stickler for the rules of the ring.
That same year, Cheryl - who, following two failed marriages, has now abandoned all efforts to maintain a surname - stepped out without her wedding ring during the breakdown of her marriage to Ashley Cole. They divorced in 2010, after four years of marriage. Think that one was a flash in the pan? Then try this: her subsequent marriage to Frenchman Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini lasted all of 18 months. I hear what you’re saying: you’ve had a longer relationship with your toothbrush. It’s a valid point. But this is celeb land, don’t forget, and things move fast.
Men, by the way, are not exempt from the ring rules either. David Walliams exhibited a commendable understanding of them when he was pictured ring-free during a “trial separation” from his wife Lara Stone in 2015. The trial obviously went well because it was upscaled to a divorce the following year. Alright, alright, give them a break - they’d been married for five whole years.
So ignore the rules at our peril, Louise. We mortals rely on them as harbingers of where each celebrity union is headed. It’s hard enough already to keep up with such fast-moving marriages. Take pity and give us a clue - even if you’re not yet bored of the rings.