Celebrity couple Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan Tatum announced their split after nine years together in an April 2 joint Twitter post, shocking fans and triggering a flurry of rumors surrounding their relationship.
The news was surprising, leaving people to wonder if love is truly dead and which couple will be next. In the post, the couple stated sharing their personal lives is not something they enjoy but acknowledged it is a consequence of their stardom.
“We’re living in an incredible moment in time, but it’s also a time where truth can easily get distorted into ‘alternative facts.’ So we want to share the truth so you know that if you didn’t read it here then it’s most certainly fiction,” the statement read. “There are no secrets nor salacious events at the root of our decision—just two best friends realizing it’s time to take some space and help each other live the most joyous, fulfilled lives as possible.”
Despite this, many still speculated on what caused the split, directly feeding into alternative facts the couple warned against. Yes, speculation can be expected with public figures. However, it’s important to remember that celebrities are people just like us who deserve privacy, especially in their personal relationships.
Some of the rumors included excessive drinking and extramarital flirting by Tatum, a break-up months before the announcement and alleged conflicts with work-life balance.
Tatum’s representative confirmed to E! April 5 that the rumors are false. Dewan Tatum also denied the rumors in an April 4 statement to Daily Mail.
“The media is fabricating stories and none of these accusations are remotely true. Channing and Jenna released an honest and loving statement, which is the only truth,” the representative said.
Apart from it being disrespectful for the public to speculate, it is also irresponsible for news publications and media outlets to repeat claims that can be defamatory and have no factual basis. In these tense political times, in which media is constantly being scrutinized for “fake news,” it’s crucial to avoid claims that cannot be confirmed, even with celebrity news.
Elle Magazine reported on the rumors in an April 4 article titled “Why Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan’s Marriage Failed, According to Every Reputable Tabloids’ Sources.” The article included information from unnamed sources in People, Us Weekly and TMZ, among others—sources that can hardly be called reputable.
A poll presented in the article asking whether tabloids should dig for reasons behind failed celebrity marriages showed 15 percent voted in favor of the statement, saying, “The people want to know, and these stars choose to make their marriages part of their brand.” Eighty-five percent voted “No,” saying “Celebrities are entitled to privacy too.”
Those who voted “Yes” are mistaken. Tatum and Dewan Tatum were celebrities who happened to be married; their marriage is not what made them famous.
A second poll in the article asked readers whether the article’s information made them feel sadder about the separation. One of the responses was, “No. I was already sad, but this gives me a bit of closure. I get why it ended now.”
Fans should not assume these rumors are true, especially when the couple has explicitly stated so. The couple also asked for privacy in their joint statement, so it’s important for everyone to have empathy before playing into gossip. Let’s not forget celebrities are human too and deserve privacy just as anyone else.