The whispers of a split first began when Cheryl Fernandez-Versini appeared to have deleted all evidence of husband Jean-Bernard from her Instagram feed.
But this week, it’s looking like the rumour mill might be spinning truths for once. The tabloids are reporting that the couple, who married in a secret ceremony in Mustique in July 2014 after three months of dating, are preparing to divorce.
Cue the internet-wide chorus of ‘Told you so’ and ‘It was inevitable'.
Why? Because Cheryl ignored the usual protocol, shirking a customary few years of pre-engagement courtship before walking down the aisle.
But throwing caution to the wind and taking a chance shouldn’t be given such a bad rap.
I have this friend. She booked a last-minute £74 return ticket to Barcelona, packed her hand luggage and jumped on a plane to spend the weekend with a 24-year-old rollie-smoking, guitar-playing, curly haired Spanish guy.
She’d met him once, a month before, while on a girls’ weekend away in the city and they’d been WhatsApping ever since. He spoke limited English, her GCSE Spanish wasn’t as good as she thought. It didn’t matter – they just kind of clicked.
Mention of this second trip raised a few eyebrows among our friendship group – ‘What if he’s an absolute weirdo?’
‘Well, I’ll hop on a plane back to London and we’ll never speak of it again’ she said, after agreeing she’d text us as soon as she landed with updates on the hour to make sure she was safe.
What was there to lose? She thought the relationship probably wouldn’t go any further, and she’d at least come out of it with an interesting story to tell.
It turned out, they liked each other. A lot. And so, for the next six weeks, they alternated between the two countries, taking it in turns to visit the other (and spend the air fare).
Feelings were declared, chat about moving to the same city was spoken, friends were introduced. Then one day, nothing. No texts, no emails, no calls. Nothing. He ghosted her. And that was the end of that.
She was sad. Then she was angry. Then she found it slightly funny, but went back to being sad-angry. And then, a few months later, she put it down to ‘it is what it is’.
She realised that, despite the way it ended, she’d had a pretty good time. She even began to talk about it rather fondly, while flicking through Tinder.
All she’d really lost on this ‘whirlwind romance’ was about £300, most of which was spent on flights (somewhat less than the reported £8m Cheryl might lose in the divorce after saying no to a prenup, but obviously still quite a hefty chunk of a non-celebrity’s month’s wages).
What she gained was the feeling of spontaneity, some great holidays in Spain, a renewed excitement for whatever the next love story in her life might be and an anecdote about that crazy time she had before settling down with 2.4 kids and a mortgage.
When she’s 80 years old, the dulcet tones of 2015’s summer anthem – Mark Ronson ft Bruno Mars’ Uptown Funk – will spark something in her, reminding her of that short period she spent with the young, songwriting Spaniard.
I’m not equating Cheryl’s marriage with a quick fling in Barcelona, but I am comparing the sentiment of going all-in with someone after a short time and not knowing whether it’ll work out because, surprise surprise, none of us are fortune tellers.
So in light of people giving her grief for having married after just three months of dating, I say: chill out.
No one’s telling ‘JB’ that he got married too fast. Maybe they both got swept up in the moment. They obviously did, at one point, assume they were in it for the long haul, and what’s wrong with marrying someone you think you’ll be with forever, whether you’ve known them for two months or 20 years?
Isn’t that what people did in the 1940s did? And look at them now – they’re still together! With grandchildren! And great-grandchildren!
Maybe Cheryl and Jean-Bernard broke up amicably and have put the 18-month marriage into that file of Things That Didn’t Work Out But It’s Fine, Let’s Move On. Or maybe we’re just hypothesising about a situation we know nothing about – and this bit is important – because we don’t really know the couple.
Also, sidenote, Elizabeth Taylor married 7 times, two of which were to the same person, and she bossed life.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying dive in headfirst into the empty swimming pool of love at such speed that you hit the cold, hard concrete floor with a thud and a crack.
We should be smart, use our heart, head and gut instincts, and try to make good decisions, or at least do what we think is best at the time.
What I am saying is, it’s different strokes for different folks; some people know they’re meant to be together after a few months. Others take decades. Some meet several loves of their life. Lots decide that marriage is just a bit of paper and doesn’t prove how much you love each other.
Whether it works out or not is beside the point because ultimately, no one knows what’s going to happen or when, or how they’ll feel when it does.
One thing you can do in the short time we have on Earth, even if it’s only once, is to try and love with gusto and go slightly bonkers over someone because it’s a feeling that can’t be replicated. At least you know you’re living life and you’re feeling something.
Be savvy and love smart, but don’t be hardened.
Words: Emma King