How to play Celebrity Break-up: The dos and don'ts of dumping or being dumped if you're famous

Do not, under any circumstances, be pictured with the hot nanny

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Last week pop star Perrie Edwards showed us all how to tackle a break-up. It’s simple really. Just conquer America. The Little Mix member, who split with her fiancé, Zayn Malik, a few weeks ago, has been storming around LA with her bandmates, proving that girl power is still the best balm for a broken heart.

Meanwhile, her tattoo-covered ex‑lover – formerly of One Direction – has imploded. As Perrie struts her stuff with everyone’s bezzie, Taylor Swift, he’s dyed his hair the same colour as my grandma’s, engaged in a Twitter quarrel with Calvin Harris, and trash-tweeted his ex-fiancée’s new single  – fuelling speculation he’s heading for a breakdown after his break-up.

Of course, any break-up is very much an excuse to moan to your friends for a few weeks. And the rules – oh God, the rules. When can you start dating again? How many Instagram photos of you looking gorgeous in a bikini is too many Instagram photos of you looking gorgeous in a bikini?

But when your tears are splashed over the front pages as well as over your Sex and the City box set, these murky guidelines become even less clear. So I’ve compiled a dos and don’ts list for our celebrity dumpers and dumpees, which I hope will help.

The first one should be glaringly obvious by now. Do not, under any circumstances, be pictured with the hot nanny. I’m looking at you, Ben Affleck. You too, Jude Law. I should say – for the avoidance of doubt – that, unlike Law, Affleck has strenuously denied allegations of an affair with his children’s nanny since he split with Jennifer Garner, his wife of 10 years, in June. That hasn’t stopped the press speculating though.

Do announce your split six months later, once the dust has settled. Actress Megan Fox and her husband, Brian Austin Green, who publicised their separation last week, did just that. If you hold off, your wounds won’t be as fresh when the gossip columnists pour salt into them.

Don’t coin a break-up term that’s so ridiculous that it overshadows your life’s work. Sorry Chris and Gwyn, the expression “conscious uncoupling” is more memorable than any Coldplay song ever written.

Do wait a dignified length of time before copping off with a colleague or co-star. Ben Cohen, Brad Pitt, this one’s for you. Failure to abide by this tenet will guarantee you come off as the bad guy, even if the break-up was mutual. If you must shag a co-worker or mutual friend, it’s safer to wait.

Don’t engage in a war of words. This rule should be applied both to social media and real life. There’s nothing more unsightly than a red-carpet spat, and passive-aggressive tweeting is just childish. And finally, do as Perrie did and perform with Taylor Swift. She’s hot property at the moment.

Of course, the most important rule, which we should all abide by, is simply to be thoughtful, sensitive and kind – to yourself and your ex.