Money can always be a tricky topic to broach in a relationship – especially when one person has more than the other. Here, Emma Willis opens up about how she and her husband chose to deal with the issue when it cropped up during their marriage…
Emma Willis has been married to Busted’s Matt for almost a decade, now – but she’s always made a point of being honest about their relationship and the struggle that comes with maintaining it, especially in the public eye.
A few years ago, the Big Brother presenter opened up about how she helped Matt through his alcohol addiction – although she admitted that, at first, she dismissed his problems as being down to the fact he was “young” and had gone “off the rails” after Busted ended in 2005.
“Of course once you are further into a relationship you’re not going to jump ship when there are problems,” she said. “To me, we just had to find a way to sort it out. And he did.”
Emma added: “I never worry about him relapsing. He is as good as gold now.”
Now, in a wonderfully frank new interview, Emma has opened up about being the breadwinner in her household.
“Matt and I have always had phases where we support each other,” she says to Cosmopolitan.
“At the moment Busted are taking a break and he’s focusing on doing acting classes, so he’s not earning.
“We have savings and I’m working, so it works. I say, ‘Go to your acting class and get really f**king good, because one day I won’t have a job and you’re going to have to support me!’”
Emma goes on to explain that she considers this repayment for the time Matt supported her through a period of unemployment, saying: “In 2005, not long after I met Matt, MTV decided not to renew my contract.
“It meant that I didn’t have a job or any money. We lived together (in London) and he supported me because I had nothing. At one point I thought I was going to have to move home to Birmingham.”
She adds: “That’s marriage and a relationship. I want him to do what makes him happy, and if that means studying for a little while, then great.”
It’s a positive and inspiring approach to marital finances – especially as so many millennial women feel “ashamed” and “worried” about earning more than their partners.
In a survey of 130 female breadwinners, it was found that many felt “tired,” “exhausted,” and “resentful” at the prospect of always out-earning their men.
However, things do look set to change – and for the better, too. A recent study found that only 28% of the population thought marriages suffered if a woman was the breadwinner, compared with 40% in 1997. Their feelings were supported by a report by the American Sociological Review, which showed that, for the first time ever, couples are now less likely to divorce if the wife is better educated than her husband, or equally educated.
The author, Prof Christine Schwartz, noted “a shift from a breadwinner-homemaker model of marriage toward a more egalitarian model of marriage in which women’s status is less threatening to men’s gender identity.”
It’s about time, quite frankly.
Images: Rex Features