Is It Chic to Be a Young Divorcée?

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When supermodel Emily Ratajkowski, 32, took to TikTok this month to stake the claim that divorce before 30 is “chic,” the moment went viral. Fresh off the news of Sophie Turner’s not-so-amicable split from Joe Jonas, Ratajkowski’s commentary felt very of-the-moment. But it also felt naughty. “Can she really say that?” we wondered.

And yet, hip divorces aren’t just for celebs. Indeed, divorce registries­ are trending. So are next-level divorce parties—for example, the recent one at an Adele concert in Las Vegas that landed major headlines when a 33-year-old woman held up a sign reading, “You got me through my divorce.” Adele’s reaction? She cried on-stage. (Reminder that the singer also got a divorce in her early 30s.) And these tears are primarily tears of joy; After all women are initiating a whopping 69 percent of divorces, according to The American Sociological Association.

This brings us back to Ratajkowski: “If being in your 20s is the trenches, there is nothing better than being in your 30s, still being hot, maybe having a little bit of your own money, figuring out what you want to do with your life…and having tried that married fantasy and realizing that it’s maybe not all it’s cracked up to be and then you’ve got your whole life still ahead of you,” she remarked on TikTok.

But is she right? Is divorce—in particular, young divorce—going through a re-brand?

Rebecca Cox, co-author of How to Be a Single Happy Parent, got married in her late 20s and was separated by 31. She says Ratajkowski’s take on divorce resonates, but needs clarification. “Divorcée is an undeniably chic title,” she admits, “but I don’t think anyone gets married with the explicit intention of getting divorced or walking out on a marriage for the purposes of being ‘chic.’”

Instead, any divorce-related chicness stems from the progression of reclaiming one’s self and ideals in the aftermath. In Cox’s case, it was only after she left her marriage and became a single parent that she found an authentic and happier version of herself. “There’s nothing chicer than a woman living her best life, which in my case, happens to include being a young divorcée,” she says.

In many ways, Ratajkowski’s argument speaks to a deeper relationship trend: While men are rarely stigmatized when it comes to flaunting their divorce(s), women are finally feeling more comfortable shouting the D word from the rooftops. “I am seeing plenty of women in their 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s and even 70s making the shift in their relationships, lives and perspective on divorce,” Laura Wasser, an attorney at Wasser, Cooperman and Mandles and the Chief of Divorce Evolution at, says. “If the situation isn’t working for them, they are moving on, courageously and with hope for a better next chapter.”

Wasser—who herself was married briefly at the age of 25, then separated two years later—touts the empowerment of women over the past decade in areas of financial intelligence and independence as a key reason for this change. “Getting educated about one’s financial situation whether engaged, married or completely partner-free is essential to approaching divorce with positivity as opposed to with shame or fear.” (FWIW, Wasser counts herself ‘lucky’ to have had her marital experience and says the entire relationship was “an important piece of my evolution as an adult human.”)

Kourtney Jason, a Brooklyn-based publicist who got married at 29 and divorced at 32, agrees that the financial element is a huge part of post-divorce confidence. “I’m in a better place than I’ve ever been and a huge part of that is having my own financial independence,” she says. “I started a new job toward the end of my marriage and that was what gave me the ability to leave. It’s also one of the perks of your 30s—aside from the other elements of better knowing yourself.”

Maybe that concept of self-knowledge is the most aspirational part of being a chic divorcée. Based on this, Kate Anthony, divorce coach and host of The Divorce Survival Guide podcast, ponders whether or not it’s trendier to just…skip the marriage part entirely, especially when we’re young.

“‘Chic’ is a terrible word to describe divorce,” she says. “Divorce is painful. It’s expensive. It’s agonizing. Leaving a relationship that makes you unhappy, that’s abusive or that isn’t working for you for whatever reason is absolutely the right thing to do. But calling it chic to get married and divorced before 30 isn’t right.”

On the flip side, she says that the bigger problem is that no one should be getting married so young. “Statistically, 60 percent of couples married between the ages of 20 and 25 will end up in divorce,” she says. “I want people to not get married. Be in these relationships. Learn about yourself. Leave the relationship that’s not working out for you. But how about we don’t get married so young and so quickly?”

Of course, matters of the heart are complex and there’s no crystal ball. If the “fairy tale” does ultimately lead to divorce, Anthony admits that a celebration is due, especially if you’re the one who initiated the split. “No one reaches the decision to divorce lightly or comes to it without years of agonizing and trying everything possible,” she says. “I think what Emily Ratajkowski is speaking to is that if we finally come to that realization and make that decision, it’s absolutely right to celebrate it.”

Cox agrees. “Being married isn’t chic, being divorced isn’t chic, but being brave enough to admit you’ve made a mistake, walk away and rebuild a happier life for yourself, especially at a young age? That is undeniably chic.”

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Rachel Bowie

Royal family expert, a cappella alum, mom

Rachel Bowie is Senior Director of Special Projects & Royals at PureWow, where she covers parenting, fashion, wellness and money in addition to overseeing initiatives within...
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