How Vanessa Feltz became a cross-generational heartbreak icon
I changed the background on my phone yesterday to Vanessa Feltz, who became an immediate break-up icon after taking to Instagram to talk about her recent separation from long-term fiancé Ben Ofoedu. The Phats & Small singer, who at 50 is ten years Feltz’ junior, had allegedly spent a recent tour "cheating" on her and having found out, Feltz was incredibly sad, disappointed and shocked, she said. With her heart shattered into "a million pieces", trust was gone, and then so was he.
Her wobble-voiced vulnerability as she discussed heartbreak after the 16-year relationship ended will have won her as many fans as it will have lost him their friends, no doubt. Support is gathering fast with Holly Willoughby saying “we simply love you to bits” and Carol Vorderman adding that “[Ben]’s a….” Zoe Ball, Myleene Klass, Lauren Laverne, Lisa Snowden, Sara Cox, Ruth Langsford and Rochelle Humes were all too offering love. It was one big presenter pile-on of affection online.
She can’t be the only heartbroken person in the world, Feltz added, but I vote she should lead the army to the heartbreak hotel. She’s always been the queen of the come-back but I think this could change everything. She’ll be presenting Channel 4’s First Dates before no time, and good god it would be nice to have a change there.
Breakups are the worst. Especially when it’s not your choice, but how you handle them can make or break (up) the next stage of your life and with Feltz adding that she just felt "lucky to be alive” (her own mother having died when she was three years younger than the presenter is now) it’s just made everyone root for her harder.
Totally missing from her post were the f*** you break-up tactics I’ve leant on many a time myself: there was no attempt to pretend she felt nothing, no vicious, screaming, half-cut public posting ripping Ofoedu to shreds (a public one was missing, anyway, but I hope she made at least one call directly to him). On Instagram she was calm but upset, and while she was scared about the future, she said, she just knew it was over.
What’s stronger than that? Those that stay with long term cheats are only destined for consistent laps around the heartbreak track – or just the bitter, seething aftermath of infidelity, living the same life in the same house but without like, let alone love.
The fact Feltz is 60 will undoubtedly draw people’s attention but she already has two grown-up daughters in their 30s, which in some ways makes me think this break-up could be easier for her than it might have been if she was half that age. She’s already made it, and no decision about whether or not to have kids is still to be made. Yes, there’s old age to contemplate but it’s extremely unlikely Feltz won’t be snapped up, even just on the back of her infectious positivity after this recent gutting.
It’s too easy to become jaded after love gone wrong, but all I've learnt from my own break-ups is that you’re only wasting your own time when you don’t cut your losses and get out of there if it needs to end. Feltz' admission was a masterclass in that. We’re behind you, Vanessa.