Joe Jonas, Sophie Turner split: Debunking the absent mother smear campaign

OPINION: Why are we demonising working mothers for having a life outside of their children?


The news of Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner's split has shocked fans worldwide, but the messaging about the breakup has caused mass speculation.

Sources have started spilling to the media breadcrumbs as to what could've gone down in the marriage, with the messaging seeming widely in favour of Joe. The former couple have now realised a joint statement about their marriage breakdown citing it was amicable, but the damage has already been done.

The subliminal messaging from Joe Jonas' camp and the demonisation of Sophie Turner

Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner
Joe Jonas has filed for divorce from Sophie Turner. Photo: Getty

When the news broke that Joe, 34, had filed for divorce from Sophie, 27, the rumour mill went into overdrive.

TMZ said the couple had been having problems for at least "six months" and that Joe had been caring for their two children "pretty much all of the time" while the Jonas Brothers were on tour.

The subliminal messaging was enough to cause speculation that Sophie had done something wrong: Joe was spotted without his wedding ring. Joe had filed. Joe was taking care of the kids. Now TMZ is reporting Joe "saw or heard something" on a Ring security camera.

Theories then began to surface that the two split because of "different" interests, painting Joe as someone who preferred to stay at home while Sophie liked to go out and party.

Headlines stated that Joe did everything he could to "salvage" his relationship with Sophie. "She likes to party; he likes to stay at home. They have very different lifestyles," a source told TMZ.

Debunking the Sophie Turner rumours

What many early reports didn't mention was that Sophie has most recently been in the UK shooting a TV series titled Joan which explains her absence from her children. It could be assumed it was easier for Joe to take the kids while he was touring with his whole family (and no doubt hired help) than it would be for Sophie to uproot the children and be minding them on back-to-back days of shooting in a different country.

As the smear campaign against Sophie Turner ramped up, fans have been quick to debunk other parts of the messaging being spread — the main one being that Sophie enjoys "partying".

Old interviews with the Game of Thrones actress have resurfaced, where she tells Conan O'Brien that she was "kind of loving" lockdown life in 2020. "I'm an introvert, I'm a homebody," she says. "If I could stay home all day, I would, so this is great for me."

Joe Jonas and a pregnant Sophie Turner
Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner share two young children. Photo:

She then reveals that she was enjoying the time with Joe during quarantine. "Joe's a real social butterfly so I struggle to lock him down and have him just spend time with me," she said. "It's like prison for him, but it's great for me!"

Sophie, who was also six months pregnant at the time of the interview, talked about how Joe was doing livestream DJ sets.

"I bring him alcohol," she said, before saying Joe would text her "what time is it?" with the expected response of "shot time!"

An old TikTok of the couple has also resurfaced where they both point to Sophie being the homebody in the relationship.

Why are we shaming young mothers in 2023?

The bigger issue perhaps within the favourable messaging for Joe Jonas during this split is that he should be praised for taking care of his own children while Sophie is away working.

The couple share two daughters, born in 2020 and 2022. Sophie, who is only 27, had a high-profile career as an actress before having the children and is now back at work. It's not known if this is her first extended break away from the kids since having them.

Reports have stated that she's been "downing" shots at the bar at the wrap party for Joan. Is it really that unheard of, or that awful, for a woman to celebrate another career milestone while knowing her kids are safe back home with their other primary caregiver?

Would it have been a leading headline if it was Joe downing shots on tour and Sophie was taking care of the kids at home? Not only is it wildly sexist, but the messaging shows that even in 2023 there's a long way to go when it comes to not demonising working mothers for having a life outside of their children, when we don't blink an eye when a man exhibits similar actions.

Needless to say, many US gossip sites have not once made reference to Joe's public drinking over the years. Again, there's no shaming the man for enjoying a drink if he wants to, but the focus on Sophie being "bad" for enjoying time off and Joe being "good" for taking care of his kids shows we still have a long way to go when it comes to how we view women and mothers.

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