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Jessie J and Channing Tatum: why we need to stop feeling sorry for singer after her split

The couple announced their split only recently. But in a new Instagram post, the singer took the time to stress how much more there is to life than relationships, and it’s time we recognise that. 

For many, the news that Channing Tatum and Jessie J had split came as a shock.

The couple, who had been dating for a year, seemed a solid Hollywood partnership founded on a shared sense of humour and a curiosity about the world. And yet split they did, on 19 December just over a year after they first started dating, as PEOPLE reported.

Social media has been flooded with messages of pity for the singer since her break up was announced this week. “Poor Jessie J,” one tweet read. “The UK didn’t want her, the US didn’t want her, and now Channing Tatum doesn’t want her.” The tabloid media looked at her recent posts on Instagram, including a video of the singer preparing to take the stage at one of her recent concerts. “Jessie J insists she’s happy after Channing Tatum split” read one headline.

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That video in question is one of Jessie grinning as she shows off the costume for her last live performance of 2019. Sparkly party tights, a houndstooth bodysuit, a diaphanous, sheer white shirt and a pair of enormous pearl encrusted hoop earrings was the look the singer chose for her concert in Amsterdam this week. “HAPPY,” Jessie captioned the Instagram video. And she looks it, she really does.

In another post, shared from that Amsterdam concert on the day her split with Tatum was announced, Jessie reflected on another year of doing exactly what she loves and sharing her music with the world.

“Last show of the decade for me last night,” she wrote. “To say I’m grateful to still do what I love is an understatement. When I think about what I have been through, what I have achieved and how you have all rocked with me in the past 10 years. Woof. Tears.”

Yes, the singer is currently going through a break up – and a public one at that. But when we say that we feel sorry for her, or pity her, or brand her “Poor Jessie J”, or write headlines that suggest that she is putting on a charade of happiness to hide her inner despondency, what we are really doing is reinforcing the message that the only thing of value in the singer’s life is her relationship status.

You can forget about Jessie’s impressive career and the past decade spent making and performing music to millions of people all around the world. You can forget about turns on The Voice in the UK and Australia. You can forget about about the important work that Jessie does for charities like Children In Need and Comic Relief. All things that Jessie is proud of, all things that bring so much value and purpose to Jessie’s life.

LONDON, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 13: Jessie J performs on stage at The Royal Albert Hall on November 13, 2018 in London, England. (Photo by Gus Stewart/Redferns)
Jessie J knows that there's so much more to life than her relationship status.

But in the eyes of the tabloid media and certain corners of the internet, they don’t matter. They’re not important. These people must think that Jessie J can’t possibly be responding to her break up in any other way than to immediately retire to her bedroom and lie prostrate with grief like some kind of modern day Miss Havisham. Surely, they think, Jessie J must be absolutely riddled with despair, simply unable to get out of bed because she’s found herself a party of one instead of two.

These people are probably also the ones who are shocked at the pair’s sudden split. (What, did Jessie not give you a call to fill you in on all the minutiae of her relationship personally? Didn’t you get the memo from Tatum detailing the reasoning behind their break up?) The reality is that break ups happen to most, if not all of us, including celebrities, and they are never undertaken lightly. There’ll be a reason behind this split, one that neither Tatum not Jessie is required to share with us. They don’t owe us anything. It’s enough to know that Jessie is, as she wrote on Instagram, “happy”.

The decade is almost over; a page in the book of history is about to be turned. I wish that we weren’t still – still, on 21 December, 10 days before these past 10 years come to an end – shaming women for being single. Jessie might be ending the decade on her own, but don’t feel sorry for her. She’s just spent the last 10 years doing exactly what she loves, making ebullient, infectious music and bringing it to every corner of the globe. Her relationship status does not define her. Being single is not the beginning, middle or the end of her story. 

Here is a woman who, at the end of the decade, has a life full to the brim with passion and purpose and creativity. I feel sorry for anyone who can’t see the beauty or, indeed, the value in that

Images: Getty

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