WPIX Anchor Tamsen Fadal on Surviving Celebrity Divorce and Loving (Herself) Again

The roster of media mavens, moguls and boldface names spotted today at Michael's.

lunch at michaelsAs if we needed the recent bumper crop of celebrity divorce announcements to remind us, getting married is (relatively) easy, staying married is another thing entirely—and the aftermath of an unsuccessful union can be downright disastrous. I had no idea when I made a date for lunch at Michael’s this week with WPIX evening news anchor Tamsen Fadal how timely our talk would be.

Diane Clehane and Tamsen Fadal
Diane Clehane and Tamsen Fadal
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It’s hard to picture the devastation Tamsen felt when the painful details of her divorce from her husband and then-business partner Matt Titus were splashed cross Page Six in May 2012. In her new book, The New Single: Finding, Fixing and Falling Back in Love with Yourself After a Break-up or Divorce (St. Martin’s Press), she recalls a particularly painful night spent standing in a corner “bawling my eyes out” during breaks while acting as a master of ceremonies at a star-studded event in the city, when more lurid details of the couple’s breakup were about to be made public. She told me only a few of her closest friends knew what she was going through, while others only knew something was wrong because she was rapidly losing weight from the stress. “My colleagues [in the newsroom] thought I was upset because we were trying to have a baby. Boy, were they wrong.” Between bites of her mushroom pizza, she told me that after the split, “There were many nights when I went home, ordered a pizza, curled up on the couch with my dog and cried.”

Besides having to put on a happy face on camera while her divorce played out in the tabloids, Tamsen also had to endure the collective schadenfreude in the press, who took shots at the irony of it all. The Emmy-winning anchor and her husband, who were married for four years, had branded themselves as relationship experts and made a business off selling the promise of wedded bliss with their own matchmaking service. They also appeared on television as ‘The Love Consultants’ on Lifetime’s reality show Matched in Manhattan and even co-authored two books on relationships. The irony is not lost on Tamsen. “I get it,” she told me. “I understand why they did it, but it was embarassing. I was afraid of failure on all different levels. My marriage had failed—I was really lost for a while.”

Fast forward three years and the lovely, down to earth anchor has once again found her footing (“There was a time when I really wasn’t sure who I was”) and has become an articulate, passionate advocate for women (especially those over 40) who are reinventing themselves and their lives post-divorce. Since the book’s publication in June, Tamsen has gone on a multi-city book tour, penned several pieces on reinvention after divorce for The Huffington Post and spoken on numerous panels tackling the subject. “I’ve also gotten so many heartfelt letters from women who have gone through it. Whether someone has had to deal with infidelity, financial infidelity or just being in a marriage that doesn’t work anymore, everyone has a similar story.”

She told me she pulled herself together by devising her own “90 Day Plan,” which involved literally decluttering her life in all areas and ditching unpleasant reminders of her marriage—from exchanging the dark, heavy furniture she’d bought with her husband with “light, white pieces” that made the apartment they once shared her own, to “whittling down” her circle of ‘couples’ friends’ and once again taking full control of her finances after finding herself $100,000 debt after the divorce.  She also found peace and order in making lists upon lists of everything from what she’d eat, when she’d exercise, to what she needed to accomplish at the office. “It’s funny but they really do make me feel better. I write lists for everything!”