Hayley Williams is speaking out about her separation from husband Chad Gilbert for the first time since announcing the split in July 2017.
The lead singer of Paramore, 29, wrote an op-ed for Paper magazine, published on Wednesday, in which she looked back on the summer of 2015 as a time she described feeling like a “piano fell right on top of me.”
Amid her career and her relationships, Williams had just finished moving into a new place, was getting ready for her wedding to Gilbert and in early talks about becoming a mom and creating more music.
Though she thought “everything was finally going to be perfect and live happily ever after,” it all came crashing down (hence the piano metaphor) after former Paramore band member Jeremy Davis quit and she married New Found Glory guitarist Gilbert in February 2016 after nearly eight years together.
As she reflected on the timing of everything, Williams recalled, “I had a wedding ring on, despite breaking off the engagement only months before. A lot happened within a short time. But then I didn’t eat, I didn’t sleep, I didn’t laugh … for a long time.”
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That’s when songwriting became an outlet for Williams.
“I didn’t know the person behind those words. Probably because I never before allowed her to come out and say how she really felt. I never cared to get to know her,” she described of her true self.
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The honesty and raw emotions were all poured into Paramore’s latest single “Rose-Colored Boy” off the band’s fifth studio album, After Laughter.
Speaking about the social expectations of what it means to be happy, Williams candidly revealed, “ helped me understand that emotional wellness and physical health are actually related. It helped me realize that I shouldn’t have ever married my ex and that love is not something we can just extract from one other.”
She added, “Writing opened my heart to healing. I’m alive to both pain and joy now,” the star concluded. “I have my old laugh back, as my mom says. The one that takes over my body and sends me out of myself for a few seconds. And only a couple years ago, I had hoped I’d die.”
In a since-deleted split announcement posted on Instagram in July 2017, Williams and Gilbert said that “marriage is not for the faint of heart.”
“The two of us have been together for the better part of 10 years. We’ve grown up together and we’ve been beside each other through a lot of goodness and a lot of challenges,” they said. “There is a challenge to trying to understand your own heart in the context of a relationship… and there is goodness in considering another heart, even in spite of your own. Marriage is not for the faint of heart. Love is an absolute risk. And it’s up to each of us to stay hopeful even when the outcome isn’t what we’d originally hoped for.”
“Love is an absolute risk,” they continued. “We want to publicly state — plainly, and only this time — that we are splitting up. We also feel it’s important to state that we are going to be okay and in fact, we remain close friends who are good in each other’s eyes.”