I went clubbing after my divorce at 26 – Sophie Turner is right to enjoy herself

Good for her.’

That was my first thought when pictures emerged of actress Sophie Turner partying in the same week her husband, Joe Jonas, officially filed for divorce. 

Not only because wanting to drink, dance and let off steam is a natural instinct after a life-changing event, especially at such a young age, but because Turner’s response echoes how I dealt with my own divorce at 26.

As people pick sides during the separation, I’ve been shocked at the treatment of Turner, 27, for enjoying herself, accompanied by a healthy dose of mum-shaming for daring to live her life while not in the immediate presence of her children.

Women going through divorce shouldn’t feel the need to shy away, stay home and cry. Sophie Turner is completely within her rights to go and paint the town red, if that’s what she wants to do.

I’m disgusted that stepping out in public and drinking with friends is enough to make people less sympathetic towards Turner, who began filming Game of Thrones at just 14, catapulting her to global fame.

Despite our very different circumstances, I see so many parallels with my own separation. I was married at 22 to a 29-year-old man (the same age difference as Turner and Jonas). Having left home at 17 in search of independence, I felt wise beyond my years. 

When I met my future husband, a kind, funny and charming guy, I clung to him.

We had a whirlwind romance, and I even relocated to a different city to live with him after two months. 

Marriage was discussed constantly, and we tied the knot within six months of first meeting. 

We seemed well matched – social anxiety meant I was happy to stay in with my husband, who didn’t drink much and preferred a box set to a night on the town.

Cracks began to form after two years when he brought up having kids. I was only 24 at the time and couldn’t imagine being ready for children for a decade, if at all, but he was desperate to start a family. 

Our issues were compounded by the fact I missed my friends and family and had grown resentful that he stayed in his hometown while my loved ones lived a couple of hours away.

Soon, petty arguments over domestic duties escalated into screaming matches.

I spoke to my parents about moving home; a humiliating conversation from the self-sufficient daughter who had stood up in front of everyone she loved and said, ‘Till death do us part.’ 

When I moved home, still only 26, my friends rallied around and immediately took me out on a night out. 

It was brilliant – luckily there were no paparazzi cameras there, but looking back on that night and many like it, I understand how Sophie Turner feels.

On that first evening out, the bouncer asked if we were on a hen night.

My friend Gemma laughed, ‘The opposite. She’s getting divorced and needs some shots and a dance.’ 

I had such a great night, feeling freedom after an unhappy marriage. I finally felt my age as I danced to Beyoncé with my friends.

As I settled in at home and got a new job, when people asked if I was in a relationship, they seemed surprised when I said I was separated from my husband. 

Some seemed shocked I wasn’t visibly upset.

Of course, I was devastated; the path I thought my life was taking had veered off course, but the marriage had broken down long before I moved home. I had already cried enough; it was time to move on with my life.

In the first year following my split, I spent countless nights dancing until my feet hurt.

After years of domesticity, I just wanted to be a ‘normal’ 20-something. One who enjoyed nights out and dated without the need to be tied down. 

And if Sophie Turner feels the same way – I understand. 

The actress revealed on The Graham Norton Show in 2019 that she felt she missed out by opting to join the HBO show and not having a proper British university experience. And she’s still only 27 – why shouldn’t she be out having fun with her friends?

Now 41, I look back on that time with great fondness. We all have our own way of processing a breakup, and no one should feel judged for their decisions. 

After our divorce, my ex remarried and had the family he desired. I vowed never to walk down the aisle again, prioritising my happiness over being bound to another person.

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I am happy to see Sophie Turner acting her age and having the time of her life. She shouldn’t be shrouded in shame over the end of her marriage or be forced to hide away. 

She doesn’t owe any of us tears or distress; she’s already lived enough of her life in public. 

Frankly, anyone tempted to judge her needs to get a grip and let her enjoy a few drinks with her mates.

Take it from me – it will help her.

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