If there is one rule of celebrity relationships, it’s this: don’t give an interview about your enduring love that works in spite of long distances/vast age gaps/not enjoying the same things — because the next interview you give may be the ‘it’s over’ one.
adly this has been the case for Vanessa Feltz, whose partner of 16 years turned out to be cheating on her, and who has now — in classic Feltz fashion — gone straight into I Will Survive mode, giving interviews about her heartbreak and publicly analysing how it’s come to this.
Of course, her story strikes a chord. Feltz has been dumped at precisely the time of life when you think you’re safely cruising into the home straight, so this has — as high-profile break-ups often do — made us think about dumping and the new rules.
In the same way that you can no longer get away with dating a 19-year-old when you are a 48-year-old A-list actor (these days we would say that looks like grooming), the rules have tightened up a bit over the years. In theory.
THE NEW DUMPING RULES
Expect to be dumped by a serial dumper
If you hitch your wagon to Leo DiCaprio or Pete Davidson — to name two legendary dumpers — do not be surprised if you get dumped a few months later.
We don’t have much sympathy for the women who find themselves involved with these two: both of them have “serial dater” tattooed on their foreheads and neither has ever had a relationship that lasted longer than a parking permit, so when the text comes in (it might well be a text, if it’s Davidson doing the dumping), it seems silly to be surprised.
Do it in person
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Way before social media was a thing, celebrities were dumping each other at arm’s length whenever possible (who can forget Daniel Day-Lewis dumping Isabelle Adjani by fax, or Matt Damon dumping Minnie Driver live on TV?), so not showing up to deliver the bad news is as old as break-ups. But it’s still considered to be unforgivable.
On no account, involve the children in any of it
Matt Hancock’s exit from his marriage was not dignified, but the part that made us all wince was discovering that he woke his children in the night to let them know Daddy was off and that Mummy would be wearing sunglasses for the foreseeable future.
Be seen to be thinking beyond your own immediate needs
This could be what’s best for the children. It could be the push to find a cure for malaria. When Melinda dumped Bill Gates, there was some bristling, but their commitment to working together never wavered, and on they go.
Don’t do the double dump
Don’t go back once and then do it again. It feels like Ben Affleck might be in this category and with more than one woman. Watch this space.
Have good things to say about each other, even in bad circumstances
Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee are back in the news, thanks to her new Netflix documentary, and although Pammy dumped Tommy twice, for very good reasons, she’s still very sweet about him because he’s the father of her sons. It’s pretty refreshing, like many things about Pammy.
Go for the clean dump
A recent example of a not-so-clean dump was Olivia Wilde’s exit from her relationship with the father of her children, Jason Sudeikis. What confirmed his suspicion that she was involved with Harry Styles was her sneaking out of the house with some of her signature salad dressing in a container. Too much, we say.
Dress hot and change your hair
Not sure whether it was Lily James or Michael Shuman who ended that relationship, but James is following the first post-dump rule and going the extra mile.
On the red carpet this week, she wore a dress that could barely contain her, shoes she could barely walk in and hair that made her look like Lily James’ dirty sister. Very much the intention, no doubt.
Avoid last-straw dumping
When you’ve put up with an awful lot and then you discover there is more, and that gives you no choice but to end it, you may feel a lot worse than you would have done had you jumped ship earlier. Thinking of Marina Wheeler with Boris Johnson, and Jerry Hall when she was with Mick Jagger.
Let everyone know you did the dumping
Harder to get this message across if you’re not a celebrity, but if you are, there are loads of ways, including turning up with a new plus-one immediately (see Olivia Wilde and Harry Styles), or being photographed shouting for joy outside your lawyer’s office, as Nicole Kidman did back when she divorced Tom Cruise.
Get your revenge
Obviously the best and healthiest way to get your revenge is to be happy and successful, meet someone else more attractive, and post a lot of pictures on Instagram.
The other way is to write or speak about your ex and call out their toxic behaviour, as Rebecca Humphries did with Seann Walsh (the other one who went on I’m a Celebrity… in order to be rehabilitated). We recommend the former.
If you have been dumped, get out there
The Princess of Wales’ inspired roller-skating date with an eligible chum of William’s — back when she was Waity Katie and they were on a break — was definitely what made him think again.
Most dumpees’ nights out will not end in a reconciliation and marriage to a future king, but they’re a lot better than sitting around listening to Eric Carmen.
(© Telegraph Media Group Ltd 2023)
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