Sophie Turner talks regrets over Joe Jonas divorce, mom guilt, Taylor Swift friendship, and more

Sophie Turner weathered a media firestorm after she and Jon Jonas announced their divorce, which she now remembers as "the worst few days of my life."
2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals
2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones - Arrivals / Lionel Hahn/GettyImages

Sophie Turner was cast in the role of Sansa Stark on Game of Thrones when she was just 13 years old. Now 28, she's been in the public eye for most of her life, and not always for her work. Not long before she was nominated for an Emmy award for her work on Thrones, she made headlines for getting married to singer Joe Jonas, whom she'd been dating for a few years. She was 23 and he was 29.

“It was really surreal, like a fever dream,” Turner told British Vogue of their whirlwind romance. “Because he was older than me, I just felt like I was really taken care of, to the point I came back home and didn’t know how to do anything for myself.”

Not long into the marriage, Turner became pregnant with her first child: Willa, who was born in 2020. Turner initially felt conflicted over becoming a mother at such a young age. “Maybe because I was so young, I sat on it for a week,” she remembered. “Thankfully there were therapists there to help me talk things through. I told my husband when I got back. I remember throwing the pregnancy test at him, saying ‘What do you think we should do? Do you think we should have it?’ When you’re in your early 20s, life is so frivolous. At that point, I really didn’t know if I wanted to be a mother, but something changed in me that day. I just knew I had to have her.”

Their next daughter, Delphine, was planned. “Because my ex and I travel so much, I wanted Willa to have a sibling," Turner said. "I wanted them to have each other. They’re so much fun, total girlie girls and absolute rays of sunshine in my life.”

Speaking of her "ex," married life had its challenges, particularly when you marry a member of the Jonas Brothers. “There was a lot of attention on the three brothers, and the wives. Well, we were always called the wives, and I hated that,” Turner remembered. “It was kind of this plus-one feeling. And that’s nothing to do with him – in no way did he make me feel that – it was just that the perception of us was as the groupies in the band.”

In addition, Turner found it hard to make friends living with her family in Los Angeles and then Miami, away from her support system in the UK. “I just felt like a little bird trapped in a gilded cage," she said of her stay in Miami. "It was amazing, yes, but I didn’t have any friends there.” All of this came to a head in September of 2023, when Turner and Jonas released joint statements on social media saying that they had “mutually decided to amicably end our marriage.”

Sophie Turner remembers 'the worst few days of my life'

Gossiping about celebrities is one of the world's favorite pastimes; the more salacious the gossip, the better. Turner already knew what this was like, having gotten dragged by people online for her appearance during her time on Game of Thrones. Although she has perspective on it now, the criticisms got to her at the time and exacerbated some problems with eating disorders she'd had. “Being a young girl, especially one growing up in the spotlight, you really judge yourself,” she said. “When you’re bulimic, your face tends to bloat. So when I finally did get better in my early 20s, my face went back to normal. Then, suddenly, all the comments were about whether I’d had buccal fat removal or not. So yeah, you can never win.”

And when the truth about a celebrity isn't salacious enough, sometimes folk just make up a more interesting narrative. That was what happened when Turner and Jonas got divorced, and a narrative about Turner liking to "party" while Jonas liked to "stay home" with the kids started gaining traction at places like TMZ.

At the time this narrative picked up traction, Turner was in the UK shooting Joan, a six-part ITV series about the life of British jewel thief Joan Hannington. “I mean, those were the worst few days of my life,” Turner said. “I remember I was on set, I was contracted to be on set for another two weeks, so I couldn’t leave. My kids were in the States and I couldn’t get to them because I had to finish Joan. And all these articles started coming out…It hurt because I really do completely torture myself over every move I make as a mother – mum guilt is so real! I just kept having to say to myself, ‘None of this is true. You are a good mum and you’ve never been a partier.’”

"I mean, it’s unfathomable the amount of people that will just make shit up and put it up based on a picture. A picture might tell a thousand words, but it’s not my story. It felt like I was watching a movie of my life that I hadn’t written, hadn’t produced, or starred in. It was shocking. I’m still in shock."

Joan executive producer Ruth Kenley-Letts backed Turner up: “I just couldn’t believe the lies that I read, that she was somehow out partying. And I knew they were lies, because I was with her. I’d been with her for five months straight.”

Things reached a boiling point when Turner sued Jonas for the return of their daughters, with her claiming that he was refusing to turn over their passports. That suit was eventually dropped and the two reached a co-parenting agreement, but you can imagine the fuel that would give to anyone wanting to spin a story one way or the other. “There were some days that I didn’t know if I was going to make it," Turner said. "I would call my lawyer saying, ‘I can’t do this. I just can’t.’ I was just never strong enough to stand up for myself. And then, finally, after two weeks of me being in a rut, she reminded me that it was my children I was fighting for. Once anyone says to me, ‘Do it for your kids,’ I’m doing it. I wouldn’t do it for myself, but I’ll find the strength for them.”

When Sophie Turner and her kids lived at Taylor Swift's house

There were bright spots in there. Although certain outlets were happy to run with the idea that Turner was an absentee mother, lots of people online pushed back against what they saw as a misogynist narrative. "If something like this had happened to me 10 years ago I don’t think I would have had the same support," Turner said. "I just feel very lucky to be alive in a time when people are open-minded. Thank fuck for Gen Z.”

It was also around this time that Turner was spotted in New York having dinner with Taylor Swift, who was then merely a mega-star and not the super-wattage one-woman empire she's been more recently. Turner reached out to Swift, whom she had met around a decade before, to see if she knew of any good places to rent in New York. Swift instead invited Turner and her daughters to stay at her place for free. “I’ve never been more grateful to anyone than I am for her because she took my children and me, and provided us with a home and a safe space,” Turner said. “She really has a heart of gold.”

These days, Turner is back living in the UK, co-parenting her kids with Jonas and looking forward to a brighter future. “I’m unhappy with the way everything played out, especially when it comes to my children. They’re the victims in all of this. But I think we’re doing the best we can,” she said. “I’m confident that we can figure it out. Joe is a great father to our children and that’s all that I can ask for."

"My dream is to have a huge Christmas where my daughters can have their dad there, Joe’s whole side of the family, their grandparents. I don’t care about the politics, I just want the girls to feel loved and have everyone show up for them."

She's also dating, in some ways for the first time. "It's very fun," Turner said. “I mean, it’s strange when you get married so young. It’s like you never really learn how to date. So it’s all very new to me.”

After a tumultuous period, it seems like things have settled down for Turner and her family. Her career is still going strong too; Joan is set to air later this year, and she's moving on to work on a thriller called Trust, about an actress who deals with a media frenzy after her private pictures leak online. In the end, it's her child who gives her the strength to move forward.

dark. Next. Finally, the first images of Liam Hemsworth as Geralt in The Witcher season 4!. Finally, the first images of Liam Hemsworth as Geralt in The Witcher season 4!

To stay up to date on everything fantasy, science fiction, and WiC, follow our all-encompassing Facebook page and Twitter account, sign up for our exclusive newsletter and check out our YouTube channel.