Here's something Love Island's Caroline Flack has no time for: the assumption that, as a newly single woman in her 30s, she must be absolutely desperate to lock down a partner. After splitting up with fiancé Andrew Brady earlier in July, she's been subject to a storm of media speculation, dodging incessant questions about why they broke up and who was at fault and how on earth is she going to cope all alone?! But in a recent interview with The Sun, she got straight to the point: Caroline Flack is single and not scared about it, and the assumption that she should be is misogynistic, archaic, and just so tired.
Here's a quick precis for those not quite caught up: Flack and former Apprentice star Brady announced their engagement in April, as Bustle reported, but Flack confirmed in July that the pair had split, writing on Twitter, "I'm sad to announce that Andrew and I have decided to part ways. Unfortunately it was not to be. I wish him all the best. At least there's a villa waiting for me. It's back to the ol' grafting."
Things got dissected almost immediately. The media weighed in with countless potential reasons for their split, and it seemed like everyone possessed an urgent comment about their age gap, or wondered how "poor Caroline" would cope alone. But you know who's very much not worried? Caroline Flack herself. "I don’t fear being single at all," Flack told The Sun's Fabulous magazine. And why the heck should she?
Flack got frank about the societal pressure imposed upon women, saying, "When I was younger I did [fear being single] because people tell you that you have to have done this and that by a certain time." She added, "But actually as you get older and experience life, you realise that it’s not about that. Love comes in all different shapes and forms — from friendship and sisters and mums — and as I’ve got older I’ve definitely learned that some of my happiest times have been when I’ve been on my own."
And Flack's got a message for the people still clinging desperately to archaic expectations for woman: "Stop with the pressure to do things by a certain time. There’s so much pressure to be at a certain level in your job and at a certain place in your life, but if everyone was doing things at the same time then life would be so boring." Very well said.
How does she cope, then, with the constant public onslaught of faux concern? "I just think: 'Why do you care? Why do you care where I am in my life?'" she told the paper. "So I just ignore it and live life day by day." An approach to celebrate, in my opinion. There are echoes of the way Flack is treated in the response to Cheryl's split with Liam Payne. Countless tweets asking "why can't Cheryl hold down a man?" started to appear after the split, though they were rightly shot down as "misogynistic" by her Girls Aloud bandmate Nicola Roberts.
In her interview, there's another frustrating societal myth that Flack wasted no time in puncturing: the belief that women are permitted to figure things out until the very last second of their twenties, but once they've hit 30, they're required to have their business resolutely together. "You don’t make all your mistakes in your 20s, you make plenty in your 30s as well," Flack said. "And I’ll probably make them in my 40s — I’ll probably make loads more mistakes! But I won’t beat myself up about it." Caroline! Thank you for your wisdom! That sounds like a pretty darn healthy attitude to have.
Her interview comes after Brady released a statement about the split on Twitter on Saturday July 28. "My relationship with Caroline will always remain special to me," he wrote, adding that they "mutually decided" to go their separate ways, and that it was "more about our personalities than our actions." Here's hoping the pair find happiness moving forward.