A summer of celebrity divorces shouldn’t make this one any more shocking than the others, but it is. After seven years together and two children, Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner are getting divorced.
You may be wondering why we care. They’re both young, hot and famous – it was only textbook celebrity relationships that this was going to end, the cynical skeptic would say. But the reactions and speculation surrounding this particularly popular relationship have shed light on something deeper than just tabloids and online Stan theories.
Jonas began his decade-long career as a child star in the millennial, Disney-backed Jesus-loving band of three brothers called the Jonas Brothers. The brothers became the most popular boy band among suburban girls in the 2000s. They then went on to appear in their own television shows and films before leaving Disney and entering the mainstream.
Turner also survived similar child star heights relatively unscathed. The 27-year-old starred in one of HBO’s most popular TV shows, Game of Thrones, when she was 14. As one of the lead actresses, Sansa Stark essentially spent the next eight seasons growing up in front of the camera for global audiences. In 2016, when Game of Thrones was still airing, Jonas slipped into Turner’s Instagram DMs when she was 20 and he was 27, and a relationship was born. A year later, they got engaged and eloped in Las Vegas in 2019.
Since then, Turner has starred in Jonas Brothers’ “suction cup“Music video starring Priyanka Chopra Jonas and Danielle Jonas – spouses of Nick and Kevin Jonas – who call themselves the ‘J-Sisters’.
The celebrity couple have been conveying the image to their shared fanbase that they’re young, love to roast each other and, most importantly, are in love. So in love that Turner was spotted at a Jonas Brothers concert three weeks ago and even posted about it on Instagram. Therefore, nobody expected that Jonas would file for divorce from Turner on Tuesday after four years and two children together. It said in the court record that “the marriage between the parties has broken irretrievably.”
The pair posted a joint statement on Wednesday: “After four wonderful years of marriage, we have mutually decided to end our marriage amicably. There are many speculative narratives as to why, but it’s really a shared decision and we sincerely hope that everyone can respect our privacy wishes for us and our children.”
Whatever love fantasy we projected onto the young Hollywood couple seems to have shattered just as quickly and painfully as the end of their relationship. As painful as this time must be for the couple, rabid stans on the internet and in tabloids have fueled a specific narrative that the couple addressed in the statement. TMZ reports speculated that Jonas looked after their young children at all times, even while the Jonas Brothers were touring the country. Other whispers are said to have come from Jonas’ camp“She likes to party. He likes to stay at home. They have very different lifestyles.”
Putting aside all the thinly veiled misogynist speculation that Turner was an absentee mother who made parties, one can really conclude that all the speculation in the world could never really tell us what happened in the private failure of their relationship and marriage. This is at the heart of why we are always so confused when the couples we think are madly in love break up. It changes our reality and makes us ask: What is real about the picture they show us? Was it just an illusion?
Part of our parasocial relationships with celebrities arises because we long for their flawless images of wealth, perfection, endless opportunity, and success. They exist as symbols to which we can aspire. What we don’t realize, however, is the price paid for conveying such an image of perfection. They illustrate a magical, fictionalized unreal life. Through her Instagram photo dumps or quirky TikToks at home, we think we’re seeing an unfiltered reality of her lifestyle, but even curated authenticity is still curated to some extent.
In a culture so obsessed with performing, it’s no wonder Turner and Jonas’ relationship fell apart behind the scenes, while in front of the world and cameras they acted like they were still a solid entity. There are so many factors that could easily have caused the steady decline of their celebrity relationship, including the fact that they both spent much of their youth in the fame machine. Turner is seven years younger than Jonas and had two children before she turned 30. Her strict, demanding schedule as a sought-after musician and actress could have taken its toll as well. The circumstances are endless and we just don’t have an answer to them.
At the end of the day, none of us really know Turner or Jonas, even if we watched Sansa Stark transform into the indomitable Queen of the North or had a crush on Jonas in our teenage and adult years. The end of their relationship is a hard reality for people to digest. Even if you tweet “love is dead” – their relationship is still part of a fantasy that we as viewers must detach ourselves from as we continue to watch their lives unfold minute by minute on our screens.
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