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Sophie Cachia, Abbie Chatfield and the request for privacy at the end of a public relationship.

Sophie Cachia is heartbroken. 

I know this because she told her 265,000 Instagram followers on Monday, in a post announcing her breakup with fiancée Maddie Garrick. Here is what she wrote, in full:

“It is with sadness and a great deal of pain that I have unfortunately made the decision to end my relationship. When I proposed, I did it with the guarantee of loyalty, trust, honestly and respect from my end.

"Despite the great deal of love I still hold, I have made this decision to lead by example for what I know I deserve in life for myself, and for my children – because we are all worthy.

"While I am hurting, life must go on. I still have to show up for work with my businesses and most importantly be a mum and role model to my two children.

"This is unfortunately a position I really didn’t want to be in. Therefore, I beg you, please let me be, to protect my children, my mental health and allow us all to heal and move forward. I will not be commenting any further."

Image: Instagram / @sophiecachia

But why not? Why won’t she be commenting any further? The people want details and I include myself in this group because who wouldn’t want to know those things. 

There is hunger for intel about exactly what happened and over what period of time and was anyone else involved and if so, who? We want to know who ended it and how. Are there photos? Text messages? Could we see screenshots of the texts? 

What do Sophie’s children think? Do they know the truth? What is the truth? How much of the wedding was already planned? What happens to the rings? Will Jaryd comment? Is it really final or is there a chance of reconciliation?

These are all fair questions based on what Sophie and Maddie have shared of their relationship so far – which is a lot. 

Sophie’s followers feel that they have invested time and emotional energy into following her love story with Maddie on social media where it has played out over the past year or so. It was hot and adorable and somehow relatable even if you weren’t a tall, athletic, photogenic lesbian. A girl can dream.

As one of Australia’s most high profile same-sex couples, Sophie and Maddie’s blended family – with Sophie’s ex husband Jaryd, their two children and Jaryd’s new partner – has populated many a feed with a delightful reboot of what a happy family can look like after a divorce.

We’ve watched them kissing, goofing around with their kids, looking smoking hot at events and being total dags in tracksuits at home with no makeup. 

We watched them doing TikTok dances and marketing their various businesses together and getting engaged and making tonnes of delightful content that was often thumb-stopping as you flicked through your feed. 

Sophie makes great, engaging content, she always has, ever since she started blogging as “The Young Mummy” in her early twenties. 

It wasn’t only on social media that Sophie shared her relationship with Maddie. 

She included the origin story of their relationship in her recent memoir and she was candid about the complexity of it when I interviewed her on No Filter a few months ago. 

Listen to Mia's interview with Sophie below. 

By Sophie’s own admission, it was very on-again, off-again for a long time while she untangled her heart from a previous relationship and was ready to be all in.

And now it’s all off and doesn’t Sophie owe us more than a few sentences in an Instagram Story? If she’s as authentic as she claims to be, why won’t she share what she’s going through now with the people who want to know? Don’t we deserve that?

No. No, we don’t. 

Sophie has already shared a lot about the breakup in her statement. More than she had to. More than we, her followers, deserve. Because we deserve nothing. 

In the immediate, distressing, bewildering, emotionally chaotic aftermath of a breakup, how high should the feelings of strangers be for Sophie – or anyone – do you think?

The thing about crises and trauma is that they happen in real time, just like social media. Which means our expectation for real time updates and details can quickly curdle into entitlement. And it often does.

Just ask Abbie Chatfield who experienced a similar insistence for emotional access from her fans and followers.

When she ended her relationship with her boyfriend, Konrad, she was criticised for not announcing it straight away and instead, waiting several weeks or possibly months, before confirming the rumours. 

She had to reassure her fans that she wasn’t being deliberately ‘deceitful’ and that there was a reason for the delay. 

“I feel like usually when people in the public eye break up, people will be like, ‘but you’ve made your brand your relationship’,” she said in an interview. “I intentionally didn’t do that. I just wanted to end it and just be able to be like, ‘yes, we’re broken up; it happened a few months ago’.

"I am a natural oversharer, so it comes naturally, but sometimes I do have negative repercussions where people expect me to tell them everything in my personal life, and they also expect that my life is entirely what they see online…

"I feel like articles will just keep being written, and people will keep DMing me and commenting on my s**t, and it’s really annoying and f**king weird, to be honest, because I don’t really owe any of you an explanation.”

The term parasocial relationship was made to describe the very specific kind of relationship we have with the people we follow on social media, particularly those who share behind-the-scenes details of their lives. I think of these people as Social-Famous.

This makes the relationship we have with them far more intimate and visceral than if they were simply Famous-Famous. 

If you walked down the street and saw Julia Roberts or Julia Gillard, you would not feel like you could have a conversation with them. 

You’d recognise them, sure, but there is a clear boundary between Us, the civilians and Them, the Famous-Famouses. 

We don’t know what their bathrooms look like or how they look when they wake up or what they take on holiday or how they feel about something that just happened in the news. 

When you see a Famous-Famous, you are extremely aware of their celebrity and as a result, you expect nothing of them. The boundaries are clear.

It can be confusing though, jarring, when you have an all-access pass into someone’s life – as it often feels like you do with the people you follow on social media – and they suddenly revoke it. Nobody wants to be on the other side of a closed door. 

But too bad. 

Because every woman – whatever kind of famous or not famous she is – has the right to close the door into any or every room in her life at any time, physically and symbolically.

She should always be in control of the access other people have into her life. A parasocial relationship is not a formal contract. It’s not even a mutual relationship. It’s a one-way street, and that’s the point of it. 


I don’t think it’s unreasonable for us to be curious about the lives of people we follow. 

That curiosity is something they monetise in this attention economy, and why shouldn’t they. It’s a mutual, consensual exchange of value. But in the same way that clicking a ‘follow’ button or watching a reel doesn’t lock me into any binding relationship with that person, nor does it grant me any kind of control over what they choose to share with me.

When someone says, “I want privacy, please give me some time and space to grapple with my situation and figure out how I feel before I decide what I’m comfortable sharing,” we need to listen to them. 

Voyeuristic curiosity aside (and we all have it), I believe it of little, even negative value to share raw, unprocessed trauma with people on mass via social media in real time.

It’s not good for the person going through it, the people around them or the people who are consuming this trauma as content.

Good news though: the thing you can be sure of with successful content creators and businesswomen like Sophie and Abbie is that they are outstanding and prolific communicators.

Expressing their feelings and talking about their experiences is what they do. The key is giving them space to do it on their terms, when and if they are ready. 

And if they’re not? Just keep scrolling. Or go watch The Real Housewives, where you’ll never die wondering how anyone feels about anything.

Listen to Mia's bonus subscriber episode of No Filter with Sophie Cachia here.

Feature Image: Instagram / @sophiecachia + @abbiechatfield

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