When they first announced their shock split, many feared for the future friendship of Jamie and Louise Redknapp.
But with two beautiful boys to raise – and a bond forged in the white heat of the celebrity spotlight – they have proved the doubters wrong.
Their secret? Keeping the lines of communication open but, crucially, knowing when to give each other space.
‘It’s definitely not been a Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow situation,’ a close friend of the couple tells Woman. ‘You won’t hear any claptrap about “conscious uncoupling” – Lou and Jamie were absolutely devastated by the split. But they have worked incredibly hard to reboot their lives. The bottom line is that they both need breathing space so they can rebuild and look to the future. That’s why they spent Christmas separately, while making sure both of them were able to spend time with the boys on such a special day. It’s all about showing respect, and that’s something they work on constantly.’
For all the headlines speculating about their split, which came as a bolt from the blue in 2017, the Redknapps have never fallen out. Instead, they have taken the time, away from the public spotlight, to grieve for the end of what was once a golden marriage. And for Louise, after taking 15 years out from showbiz to raise her boys, the answer was to throw herself into her revived singing career.
‘I have kept my head down and taken every opportunity with work,’ she said recently. ‘I wouldn’t have made my album if I hadn’t been through that. Anyone who goes through divorce when they have a family knows it’s the saddest thing.
It’s not angry, it’s just very sad.’ Always thinking of their sons, Charley, 15, and Beau, 11, Jamie and Louise have set up separate households but still see each other regularly – including meeting up on their summer holidays.
Earlier this year, Louise even referred to Jamie as her ‘best friend’ during a radio interview.
‘It’s not easy to keep the peace in this situation but they have worked so hard to respect each other’s boundaries,’ adds the friend. ‘Bear in mind that these two people are seriously easy on the eye – they’re not short of romantic offers!
‘But both of them have been scrupulous about keeping that aspect of their lives under wraps. That also means giving each other space to have a private life, and that’s what they have done.’
That may be easier said than done over the next year, with Louise set to release her first album in 20 years. With plans to take her new music out on the road, she is sure to be in the headlines. Having admitted that much of her new material draws inspiration from her personal life, Louise doesn’t expect the speculation to die down any time soon.
‘It’s funny that the record is called Heavy Love,’ concludes the pal. ‘Because as far as Louise and Jamie’s ongoing friendship is concerned, it’s all about keeping things light.’