After her ex-boyfriend Seann Walsh was caught kissing his Strictly Come Dancing co-star Katya Jones, Rebecca Humphries released a statement saying: “I am no victim.”
There are few things more likely to make one feel humiliated than being cheated on. I should know; I’ve been there. Even though you understand, intellectually, that you’ve done nothing wrong or embarrassing, the knowledge that your partner or ex-partner has been unfaithful is liable to make you feel a fool for a while – especially if other people are gossiping about it.
Being cheated on is also likely to spark an unexpected thirst for vengeance. Not vengeance of the dramatic, horse’s-head-in-the-bed variety; more the petty, bitchy, angry kind. After my first boyfriend cheated on me, I spent months in the corner at parties, theatrically telling anyone who would listen what a dick he was. By the time I’d told the story of his infidelities and our subsequent breakup several times, I’d honed it into a gripping saga, one that made other women gasp and gape in sisterly outrage. He’d broken my heart, I remember thinking; getting a good party anecdote out of it was the very least I deserved.
Yet when I look back on that time in my life, I feel more than a little uncomfortable. My anger was justified, and at the time it felt necessary to heal. But in retrospect, I wish I’d been able to move away from that relationship with a little more dignity. I wish I’d recognised at the time that being cheated on isn’t embarrassing. Being the woman who drunkenly gripes about her ex for months on end, however, kind of is.
For that reason – and because I enjoy seeing any woman extricate herself from a bad relationship with her self-esteem intact – I found myself doing an internal air-punch while reading Rebecca Humphries’ statement on her split with Seann Walsh. Humphries, an actor, had been in a serious relationship with comedian Walsh for several years, and had been vocally supportive of his taking part in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing.
However, Walsh was recently photographed kissing his Strictly dancing partner Katya Jones, prompting acres of breathless tabloid news coverage. On 8 October, five days after the photos were taken, Humphries released a statement on Twitter in which she addressed her now-ex-boyfriend’s infidelity, saying it had “served to remind me that I am a strong, capable person who is now free; and no victim”.
Humphries’ statement is a masterclass in how to leave what sounds like an extremely toxic relationship with wit, empathy and poise. She doesn’t drag Walsh’s name through the mud, but neither does she pull any punches. The photos of Walsh and Jones kissing were actually taken on Humphries’ birthday, she said, and she was at home alone when Walsh texted to say they were going for “one innocent drink”.
“We spoke and I told him, not for the first time, that his actions over the past three weeks had led me to believe something inappropriate was going on,” said Humphries.
“He aggressively, and repeatedly, called me a psycho/nuts/mental. As he has done countless times throughout our relationship when I’ve questioned his inappropriate, hurtful behaviour.”
It’s worth noting here that the definition of gaslighting – a form of emotional abuse – involves questioning someone’s sanity when they express thoughts or feelings that are inconvenient to you, in a bid to make them question their own perceptions of reality.
Humphries went on to suggest that this was not the first time Walsh had been manipulative in their relationship, saying that he had exhibited controlling behaviour before.
“I have a voice and will use it by saying this to any woman out there who deep down feels worthless and trapped with a man they love,” she said.
“Believe in yourself and your instincts. It’s more than lying. It’s controlling. Tell some very close friends who, if they’re anything like my wonderful network, will swoop in and take care of the logistics and of you.”
Humphries expressed some sympathy for Walsh, saying she believed his behaviour came from “a place of vulnerability”. But that didn’t stop her signing off her statement with a killer line: “I’m not sorry I took the cat though.”
Exiting any relationship is difficult. Leaving a relationship when you’ve been cheated on is bruising. Ending a relationship when you’ve been cheated on amid nationwide gossip (and paparazzi photos, and Piers Morgan weighing in) must be even harder.
But Humphries has shown that it’s not only possible – it can be done with humour, dignity and grit. Cheers to that.
Images: Getty Images