One Way to End an Engagement? Uncommon Honesty and Matching Fonts.


When famous people split, fans aren’t always privy to the reason. Most are left to social media sleuthing and questionably sourced rumors to piece the story together. But sometimes, there are couples who choose to come clean.

Transparency may hold greater appeal for influencers, who, unlike certifiable A-listers, have an incentive to live as much of their lives on the feed as possible. But even by the oversharing standards of most content creators, admitting that you cheated is going above and beyond the call of duty.

Anjali Chakra and Sufi Malik, a popular influencer couple, have announced their breakup after more than five years of dating (and a few weeks before getting married) by having one of them admit in an Instagram post on Sunday that she was unfaithful.

In two separate statements that sent shock waves throughout their following, the pair said they were calling off their wedding and moving forward separately.

Ms. Chakra is an event planner and content creator. Her now-ex partner, Ms. Malik, is a content creator as well. They live in California and met online after following each other’s Tumblr profiles, the pair said in a 2019 “How We Met” YouTube video. They began dating in 2018 and announced their engagement online in 2022.

Their online celebrity was kicked off when images of the couple nuzzling adorably under a rain-spattered umbrella made the rounds on social media in 2019, with many rushing to proclaim them relationship goals. Another set of photos celebrated their first anniversary that same year.

Along with posting fashion, lifestyle and travel videos, the couple used their platform to raise awareness for people in marginalized and L.G.B.T.Q. communities.

On Sunday, the couple announced in synchronized black-and-white statements on Instagram that the wedding was off.

Ms. Chakra declined to be interviewed for this article, and Ms. Malik did not respond to requests for comment, but both women’s statements allude to Ms. Malik’s having cheated just weeks before they were set to be married. It’s unclear how Ms. Chakra became aware of the infidelity, but apparently it was enough to dissolve the entire relationship.

“I made an unrecognizable mistake of betrayal by cheating on her a few weeks before our wedding,” Ms. Malik wrote on Instagram, referring to Ms. Chakra. “I’ve hurt her tremendously, beyond my own understanding. I’m owning up to my mistake and will continue to do so.”

In her own Instagram statement, Ms. Chakra wrote that they had “decided to call off our wedding and end our relationship due to infidelity committed by Sufi.” She captioned the post with a brokenhearted emoji.

While Ms. Malik asked for forgiveness and privacy in her post, Ms. Chakra wished for “no negativity to be shown” toward her ex.

While the names of these two influencers might not ring a bell, in an industry in which representation of queer South Asian, Hindu and Muslim people can be slight at best, Ms. Chakra and Ms. Malik have been widely considered positive representations for those who haven’t always had role models they could directly relate to.

They created an online form through which their supporters could submit questions and request advice on topics including relationships, coming out to immigrant families and navigating queerness online.

On their TikTok, YouTube and Instagram profiles, they regularly post lifestyle content, including videos about Ms. Malik’s growing up Muslim and queer and planning their wedding. Their chemistry and romance seemed palpable through the screen.

So it’s no surprise that the news of the breakup was a real blow to fans who have grown attached to the pair and their relationship.

Some expressed their sadness over the news, begging the pair to try to reconcile and wishing them the best going forward. Others were shocked at the news of Ms. Malik’s infidelity. A few even took the opportunity to hit on Ms. Chakra.

“I hope you have support around you in this difficult time,” one user wrote in Ms. Chakra’s replies. “You’ve helped so many queer South Asians feel seen and at home through your journey. Wish you nothing but the best.”

Celebrities and other public figures are expected to be elusive when it comes to the private matters of their relationships and breakups. In this case, Ms. Malik and Ms. Chakra are actually giving us the why, which those following along at home typically don’t get in these situations.

Also, their separate but highly coordinated statements — down to the matching graphic design of the posts, the inverted text colors, the corresponding black and white heart emojis and the similarly corporate language — is a disconcertingly polished way to announce that you’ve been betrayed. Perhaps no matter how sad the news, the content still has to look good.

While being labeled #couplesgoals can be flattering, it’s not always easy to have your relationship — the good, the bad and the ugly — online for all to see. Their decision to reveal the reason behind the end of their engagement takes guts. But coming clean to get ahead of speculation and unconfirmed gossip isn’t a new strategy. (See: Try Guys, 2022.)

Fair question. In the case of Ms. Malik and Ms. Chakra, it’s unclear how they came to the decision to have Ms. Malik take such public accountability and admit exactly what she did. Maybe this is how Ms. Chakra gets her lick back: by eliminating her ex’s privacy? Or maybe they just felt, especially after sharing so much about their relationship online, that it was important to be honest with any of their followers who might have put their relationship on a pedestal.


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