Do you remember Cheryl’s 2006 wedding to footballer Ashley Cole?
Wrong question; how can you forget Cheryl’s 2006 wedding to footballer Ashley Cole?
Fan of celebrity gossip columns or not, you can’t have escaped the shiny suits and fairytale castles of a young, media-hungry couple intent on showing the world just how rich and beautiful they were.
Fast-forward eight years, and while the riches and beauty clearly remain, the needy, tawdry over-inflated show has, thankfully, all but vanished.
In its place, we have Cheryl quietly announcing last weekend that she’s just tied the knot to a demure, camera-avoiding Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini in a secret ceremony on a far-away beach with just a handful of witnesses.
Admittedly, this ‘quiet’ announcement did come via the channel of her more than 800,000-followered Instagram account. But this was about timing, not location. She announced it the weekend of the World Cup Final, when she knew – or at least hoped – anything un-football related would be shrugged aside.
Of course, not everyone is impressed. Despite the obvious arguments against it with a low-key wedding, the naysayers still slam the marriage as a publicity stunt. They also question the legitimacy of a love nourished for only three months.
But Cheryl needn’t listen to them, because hoisting her up over any obstacle is the fact that marriage number two is infinitely more successful than marriage number one.
“Second marriages are always better,” says therapist, relationship expert and author Marisa Peer (You Can Be Younger, £13.01, Amazon) simply.
“You know what you want, and you’ve learnt from the mistakes of the first time round. The first marriage, you might rush in, based on sexual chemistry, but this is not a good basis. It’s important, of course, but second marriages tend to go the distance because you realise you want to marry someone who’s your best friend too.”
This is not just Peer’s opinion either, it’s fact.
A report from The Marriage Foundation last year showed that almost half (45%) of all couples who marry for the first time in 2013 will divorce during their lifetime. But divorced couples marrying for the second time have only a 31% chance of heading down that route.
The reasons for this are the same reasons why a lot of things in life are better the second time round - you’re older, wiser, and have the all-encompassing benefit of experience.
“When it comes to marriage, age is everything. Couples who tie the knot later in life are much less likely to divorce over their lifetime than couples who marry at an earlier age,” said Harry Benson, communications director at The Marriage Foundation.
Okay, so Cheryl, aged just 32, is not that much ‘later’ in life, but it’s clearly late enough.
“The difference just in the style of weddings shows this,” Peer agrees. “No press. No magazines. She’s gone for a private ceremony, which means she is probably looking for different qualities in the marriage too.
“People on second marriages tend to look for more loyalty and friendship, not just being wildly crazy about each other.”
That said, the beam on Cheryl and her new husband’s faces suggests maybe they’ve found a mix of all three.
Good luck to them.