In case you’ve missed it, Chloe Madeley and James Haskell’s five year marriage has come to an explosive end, mired with controversy and coinciding with the airing of their ITV reality show Chloe Madeley: A Family Affair. The former rugby pro has been in the headlines non-stop since last month, when he was seen getting rather too close with a ‘mystery blonde’ at a London club in the early hours of the morning. After that, Chloe was seen without her wedding ring and the rest is history.
The couple, who have a 14-month-old daughter, Bodhi, released a hurried joint social media statement which read, ‘James and I mutually decided [to] separate at the end of September 2023. We had not planned on releasing a statement at this time - certainly not while the television show was airing - but constant speculation about our marriage has, unfortunately, forced our hand.’
Since then it has become clear that things had turned pretty toxic between the pair, with James acting in ways which I think would make any wife unhappy. During one episode of their show, Chloe sees live images of James partying in Ibiza with bikini clad women. ‘He’s on Instagram uploading videos and photos of all these girls and I was like, "I will kill you. I will fly to Ibiza and kill you",’ she said. ‘He posted videos of him with loads of girls in thongs ‘cos he thinks that it like makes him look cool on social media. I’m like "You’re a k*** and you make me look like a k***. Stop doing it".’
One of the most mindboggling incidents that played out between the couple on the show was, however, James’s brutish insistence that Chloe didn’t dress ‘sexily’ enough for him. Whilst getting ready for a date night, where they were due to play golf, Chloe muses: 'I know it's a date but also it's an active, competitive date so I'm not going to be dressing - like I ever do - like a girly girl.' James overhears and responds, ‘Why are you pretending that you ever get really dressed up? You're lying! You always sit on a date and go, “Does it upset you that I don't wear any makeup and never dress up?” It's more the fact you do something and you worry about it!'
Chloe continued: 'I feel bad because...' but James jumps in again to say: 'Not bad enough to ever change it though!' To which Chloe says: 'In my head we're leaving the house and I'm comfortable and I'm warm and that's all I care about. Then we get there and other girls, like Love Island-style girls, walk in and I'm like, “Oh s**t, poor James."'
James then said: 'You always dress slutty when I'm not there which is even worse.'
There are many reasons that this is so deeply offensive - not to mention misogynistic. The first is that no woman is responsible for dressing a certain way to please anyone else, ever. The second is that James felt comfortable saying all of this quite shocking stuff on camera, interrupting Chloe as she spoke quite innocently about getting ready for their date - a major red flag. The third, and this is the one which really gets me, is that, regardless of anything else, Chloe is the mother of a young child - getting them dressed and out of the house is struggle enough, let alone trussing yourself up in a cute miniskirt in the process.
I had rarely left the house without make up before I had a baby, now that’s the norm. Dressing up just isn’t a priority for me anymore; and when I criticise myself for not making more 'effort' I remind myself that I actually expend most of my effort and energy keeping our family afloat. And so I, for the most part, dress solely in leisure wear since having a baby - if my husband were to ever dare comment on that he would be calmly sent into orbit.
No one knows the true ins and outs of James and Chloe’s relationship but them, we’ve only had brief snapshots delivered. But those snapshots are telling, and troubling. James’s words and actions would hurt any woman, let’s face it, so I can't help but wonder if it's any surprise they split. Go forth, Chloe and be warm and comfortable. It’s all any of us truly want.