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Caroline Stanbury ended 2019 by closing a major chapter in her life: her relationship with husband Cem Habib. The Ladies of London alum announced in a post on Instagram on December 26 that her and Cem's marriage would be coming to an end.
"After 17 years, filled with joy, adventures, ups and downs, Cem and I came to the conclusion some time ago that we will continue our relationship not as husband and wife but as good friends and parents to our wonderful 3 children we love very much," Caroline shared in a post featuring a photo with her husband. "We wish each other all the happiness and look forward to maintaining our strong family unit."
During a phone interview with The Daily Dish earlier this week, Caroline said that she and Cem are trying to maintain the status quo as much as possible with their family as they go through the process of divorce.
"It’s been going really well. We’re good friends right now. He’s moving out in February, so we’re still living together at the moment, but we’re really maintaining everything. We tried to maintain our friendship, because I don’t believe in divorce. There is no such thing as divorce. Many people grow apart. We’ve been together 17, nearly 18 years. Why does it have to be such a negative? We’ve had a very successful marriage with three beautiful children, and it’s time to move on," Caroline shared. "I hope whoever he meets, I wish him all the luck. I hope she will become friendly with me, and I want to be Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, frankly."
With three children together (daughter Yasmine and sons Aaron and Zac), Caroline and Cem will always be in each other's lives, whether they are married or not. "Why can’t we be an amazing loving family?" she said. "It’s not over. I’m sure he’s gonna pop over on Sunday to sit with the kids and eat dinner, knowing him."
Caroline and Cem separated and shared the news of their split with their loved ones prior to that announcement on Instagram at the end of last year. "I wanted to settle into it myself, so did my husband," she said of why the couple waited to go public with the news. "But then it just became time to announce."
Caroline said that it felt like she and Cem had "moved in different directions." "I know it sounds cliché, but we just grew apart. We didn’t enjoy the same things. We weren’t holidaying together," Caroline explained. "I mean, I used to get it all the time from my Instagram [followers]: 'Where’s your husband, where’s your husband, where’s your husband?'"
Ultimately, she and Cem realized that they are "very different people." "He wants a quieter life, I’m more out there, he’s not gonna get onstage and do all that stuff that I do," she shared. "I get it. We’re just different people with different friends, with different interests, you know? And there comes a point where you’re like, OK, wouldn’t you like to have someone that shares all those things with you?"
Caroline said that this feels like the right decision for her and her family. "A lot of marriages are about the kids and bills and responsibilities. That’s not to say everyone should give up, but it’s not giving up; it’s just knowing when to stop," she said. "We can walk away from this with dignity and knowing that we did our best, and we hopefully end up happier and really good friends."
She has actually gotten a lot of support from her Ladies of London castmate and sister-in-law Sophie Stanbury, who went through a divorce from Caroline's brother Alex Stanbury in Season 3 of the show. "Her and Alex are in a great place. They’re the happiest divorced couple I’ve ever met. I’ll take a leaf out of their book," Caroline told The Daily Dish. "I think it takes the pressure off when you know you’re not married to each other anymore. You don’t expect as much from the other person anymore. You expect one person to be your best friend, your lover, your husband. It’s just a lot."
The end of her marriage and what comes next are just two of the topics Caroline plans to discuss during her upcoming According to Caroline Live tour at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City on April 7 and City Winery in Chicago on April 8. "Why are we told that our entire lives you have to date one man? It’s ridiculous," she said. "It’s an out-of-date road map. It doesn’t exist anymore. So, by the time you get divorced, or you don’t get married by the time you’re 30, you think you've failed. You’re like, 'Well, nobody loves me, my life’s over.' That’s bulls--t. Absolute bulls--t."
Though Caroline has gotten back into the dating game, you won't find her on any apps. "I think they’re total disasters for everybody. I mean, they’re awful. Awful. There’s no connection left," she said of dating apps before adding, "I meet people all the time. I don’t really want to put my face up there and what my hobbies are. No, if you want me, come find me."
Caroline said that she's not really actively looking for a partner right now, either. "I’m very content right now. I am dating, I’m happy, I’m good, I’m golden. That is not my immediate, like, 'What am I gonna do without a man?'" she said. "As far as I’m concerned, the man should be the cherry on the top, not the pie."
Still, Caroline has thought about the kind of guy she'd like to spend time with in the future. "I don’t care about money. I want fun. I need a laugh. Ambitious. I could never be with someone lazy. Oh my god. Lazy would drive me nuts," she said. "Someone who's non-judgmental. I don’t like to talk about people. Sit down and have a drink, loves drinks and movies and chilling out. And somebody who gets along with my kids."
Being single isn't something that scares Caroline, especially since she said she has never really not been in a relationship. "If I’m gonna be on my own, that’s OK, too. I made peace with that, because I’ve got three beautiful children, who will never leave me alone," she said. "People get so hung up about being alone. Let me tell you, alone is a luxury. I’m never gonna be alone. How the f--k am I gonna be alone? I’ve got three children, four members of staff that live with me. I have so many friends. So many friends. When am I gonna get the time to be alone? It sounds like a dream. I actually danced around my house when my kids went out. Woohoo, get naked!"
However, Caroline isn't ruling out the possibility of walking down the aisle again. "Why not? If you find the right person, I’d get married again, I guess. I don’t know," she said. "It might be a bit for babies and things like that, but you never know."
Though much of Caroline's future remains uncertain, she is looking forward to whatever life brings her way. "I feel so different for this next chapter in my life that I’m like, yeah, I’m ready," she said. "Bring it on."
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