The tabloids have been having a field day with the story of actress Alice Evans – wife of Hornblower’s Ioan Gruffudd – who has taken to social media with a howl of rage at the discovery that her husband, from whom she is splitting, has had a girlfriend “for three years”. And that’s not the whole story.
“So it turns out that my husband, after two years of telling me I’m a bad person and I’m not exciting and he no longer wants to have sex with me and he just wants to be on set abroad… has been in a relationship for three years behind all our backs.
“HE LEFT HIS WIFE AND CHILDREN. HE DIDN'T TELL US. HE TOLD HIS 8 YR OLD HE WASN'T COMING HOME.”
She is furious. And rightly so. But the raw emotion of her almost daily public outbursts has set the internet alight. On the one hand, there are those who feel her rage is justified. On the other, there’s a bunch of critics calling her a “bitter psycho” and suggesting, patronisingly, that she should take herself off to a “nice spa”’ to calm down.
In the past, these are battles that women have mostly fought behind closed doors. I think that’s part of the reason people seem to feel that Alice Evans is making a lot of unnecessary fuss, embarrassing herself and her husband – not to mention the unfortunate girlfriend – in the process. But heavens, isn’t there something rather splendid about her righteous anger? About her refusal to take this kind of s*** lying down?
It’s a tricky one. I don’t want to diminish the pain she’s clearly feeling. And while I applaud her honest response, I wonder if she should perhaps be channelling her anger in other ways. Those tweets are going to be around for a long, long time. There might come a moment, when the fury fades, that she regrets sharing all of this with the world.
But, on the other hand, it appears her husband has behaved pretty badly. And if he did what she says he did, and treated her as she alleges – “I tried to change,” she says in another post. “I begged to know what I’d done. I sat through awful lawyers Zooms that cost 3k for 2 hours and bawled while they told me it was my behaviour that had made him want to leave. Then we find out though INSTAGRAM that it’s an AFFAIR?” – why shouldn’t she call out his behaviour, and let people know not just what he’s done, but how she feels?
It’s a familiar story: a woman in midlife is cast aside for a younger, more acquiescent model, and is then expected to button her lip. Evans isn’t afraid to tell us how bad this has been for her: “I was once again crying, bawling on the bed, feeling I was worthless, that I was nothing, that he was definitely going to leave me soon because he could not stand any more.” It makes for uncomfortable reading. But that doesn’t mean she shouldn’t put it out there, in all its raw emotion.
What she might later regret, though, is changing her Twitter bio to “I do not sleep with married men. I do not wreck homes. I do not ruin little kids’ lives. I did used to smoke though”, and her Instagram to “Not a home-wrecker”. But she acknowledges that. And who am I to criticise her for it?
She is burning with the perceived injustice of her situation, the terrible way she feels she has been treated by a man she was with for two decades – and with whom she has two children – and the dishonest way he has behaved: “Men like Ioan can just glide away into a lovely new life, walk out on their families and responsibilities, while I am left to pick up the pieces and try to glue our family life back together again.”
Maybe what’s so shocking is how unusual it is to see anger expressed so honestly – and by a woman. When relationships end in these kind of circumstances, most long-term partners – usually wives – suffer in silence. Alice Evans, however, is not going quietly.
Seeing her pain is heartbreaking. I very much hope that one day, she’ll be happy again. But in the meantime, I acknowledge her strength, and the courage of her conviction. Women no longer have to put up and shut up. Alice Evans is proof of that.