Sphere snares 'unflinching' debut on self-worth from Humphries

Sphere snares 'unflinching' debut on self-worth from Humphries

Actor and writer Rebecca Humphries has signed with Sphere for her debut, an "unflinching" look at self-worth written after her boyfriend Sean Walsh was caught kissing his "Strictly Come Dancing" partner.

Emily Barrett, publishing director at the Little, Brown imprint, acquired world rights from Cathryn Summerhayes at Curtis Brown. Why Did You Stay?: A Memoir about Self-Worth will be published in hardback, e-book and audio, accompanied by a major marketing and publicity campaign, in July 2022.  

The blurb reads: “Actor, writer and hopeless romantic Rebecca Humphries had often been called crazy by her boyfriend. But when paparazzi caught him kissing his 'Strictly Come Dancing' partner, she realised the only crazy thing was believing she didn’t deserve more. Forced into victimhood by the story, Rebecca chose to reclaim her power, posting her thoughts on social media, including advice for other women who might be experiencing what she realised she’d managed to escape: a toxic, oppressive relationship. A flood of support poured in, but among the well-wishes was a simple question with an infinitely complex answer: ‘If he was so bad, why did you stay?’" 

Sphere added: “Empowering, unflinching and full of humour, this book takes that question and owns it. Using her relationship history, coming of age stories and experiences since the scandal, Rebecca explores why good girls are drawn to darkness, whether pop culture glamourises toxicity, when a relationship ‘rough patch’ becomes the start of a destructive cycle, if women are conditioned for co-dependency, and – ultimately – how to reframe disaster into something magical.” 

Barrett said of acquiring Why Did You Stay?: “I first wanted to acquire this book because it felt so necessary for any woman who’s ever been in a toxic relationship or wants to know they can survive one — and there’s very little on the market that exists for the Millennial age bracket in quite so relatable a way. Add to that the fact Rebecca is a superb observational writer and can relay hard-hitting memories with such flair and humour, and I was completely sold. The majority of people who watch 'Strictly' (and many who don’t) will remember the moment Rebecca was forced into the spotlight for something quite different to her career as an actor and writer; that she could change the narrative from victim to victor then is in keeping with this book."

She added: "It’s fearlessly introspective, smart in its consideration of wider societal context and will leave anyone who’s known the pain of a poisonous relationship empowered and encouraged. I feel very proud and lucky to be publishing Rebecca and bringing her to the Sphere list.” 

Humphries commented: “I had an early and possibly quite detrimental exposure to romcoms when I watched 'Pretty Woman' aged eight. I’ve hoovered them up ever since, hoping one day I would experience my very own meet-cute. And I did. It happened in the rain – the instant my five-year relationship ended – and was with myself. Years later and I’m still seeing some of the coolest, cleverest women I know allowing their brilliance to be drained in the name of love.

"I wanted to use my story to consider why that might be, and to explore what love actually means — not the film. Most importantly, I wanted to share discoveries of rebuilding myself, because it’s been a joyous, powerful change. I feel like those are the kind of narratives women like me have been missing, and am chuffed to have the opportunity to write one. Also for those wondering — I still adore 'Strictly'."

Humphries has written for Vogue, Elle, the Guardian and the Telegraph on relationships, singledom and womanhood. In 2019, she spoke at the House of Commons on behalf of the organisers of the Women’s March London about gaslighting and the media. As an actress, she has most recently appeared as Carol Thatcher in “The Crown” (Netflix), “Friday Night Dinner” (Channel 4) and “Trigonometry” (BBC). In 2022 she will star in the UK adaptation of “Call My Agent” (Amazon).