It takes two: the effects of divorce on physical and mental health

LGFL Managing Director Rita Gupta explores how a recent celebrity example highlights the emotional, mental and physical effects divorce can have.

As his mother says on a current advertisement, "You're everywhere". Certainly, from "X Factor" contestant in 2012 to host of "Strictly: It Takes Two", Radio 2 presenter to TV host for Eurovision 2023, it's hard to miss Rylan Clark.

Setting aside his usual bubbly style, the TV presenter opened up last autumn about the effect of divorce on his mental health whilst on a hike for Comic Relief.In a previous statement, Rylan had explained how his admission of previous infidelity "years ago" to his then husband in May 2021 broke their marriage apart.

"I have made a number of mistakes which I deeply regret and have inevitably led to the breakdown of our marriage. I have taken time away from work as I am not in a good place at the moment and am seeking help. I am trying to take each day at a time and would like to thank everyone for their support."

The divorce aftermath almost broke him too, with the celebrity experiencing emotional turmoil and physical health issues including drinking, weight loss and two cardiac incidents

Rylan is now divorced from his husband of six years, former Big Brother contestant Dan Neal, and the presenter says he is now "so much stronger".

"I would like to think the breakdown of my marriage had made me the person I am now. I am really happy with the person I am now and I can sleep very well at night."


Post-breakup advice

When interviewed on the publication of his book last year, (3) Rylan's advice on reviewing his ten years in the spotlight and his relationship breakdown was surprisingly simple:

"Always trust your gut. Go for it and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. And always get a pre-nup."

In many ways, that is sound advice for anyone considering divorce, celebrity or otherwise. From our experience as family lawyers, divorce is nearly always an emotional rollercoaster. It will have a considerable impact on you, your family, and your finances. So, to take Rylan’s advice in turn:


“Always trust your gut”

The first step is to recognise there is an issue with your relationship. Until that happens, no action can be taken - but nothing can be resolved either. You might want to consider counselling or mediation at this point, to help you work through issues as a couple. (More on mediation below.)

If you are experiencing domestic violence, abuse or coercive control, please always "trust your gut". The time to act is NOW.

    • Call 999 and if possible, get yourself and your children to a place of safety.
    • Women: Call the National Domestic Violence Helpline 0808 200 0247 (24 hours)
    • Men: Call the Men's Advice Line on 0808 801 0327 (Mon-Fri 9am-5pm) or the Mankind National Helpline on 01823 334244.
    • Once you’re safe, contact us for professional legal advice on how to proceed.


“Go for it and don't let anyone tell you otherwise”

In terms of divorce, we'd always advise a measured and informed approach over an ill-considered spur of the moment decision. If you feel that separation and divorce is the right way forward for you and your family, it's important to take time to understand exactly what that will involve.

By all means talk to friends and family, but don’t open it up for Facebook debate or consult “lawyer Google”. Every divorce is different, and another person's experience isn't always relevant to yours. That’s why LGFL offer a reduced fee one-hour advice consultation to give you the opportunity to discuss you concerns and receive sound legal advice.


Always get a pre-nup

This comment by Rylan hints at difficulties he and his ex-husband may have had agreeing their financial settlement. A pre-nup is a way of ensuring that there is both a record and a recognition of what each person brought to the relationship in financial terms. It should also lay down what each party agrees to in terms of division of assets should they divorce in the future. For more details, see our article on pre-nups, or call to book an appointment.


Thank everyone for their (continuing) support

Support from family and friends is an essential part of life beyond divorce, a status that Rylan admitted he found lonely. As our article on post-divorce support discusses, after you separate, your social, family and even work landscapes will be quite different. Having a support network in place will help you deal with both emotional and logistical issues, and help you move forward with your life.


Mediation and divorce

If you decide to proceed with a divorce as a couple, mediation can help you sort out differences before you got to a solicitor or family lawyer. Mediation is not a legal requirement before separation or divorce, but as the Citizens Advice Bureau says:

"If you end up having to go to court to sort out your differences, you normally need to prove you’ve been to a mediation information and assessment meeting (MIAM). This is an introductory meeting to explain what mediation is and how it might help you ... You can’t force your ex-partner to go to mediation."


Considering getting divorced?

Talking to us first before applying online or similar can help put your situation into perspective. We offer a 1 hour reduced fee consultation to discuss your specific circumstances and concerns. We aim to give you tailored legal advice and information, so you can proceed in the best way for you, your children and your future.

- Call us

- Email us

- Book your consultation online