Chelsea Handler opens up about ‘painful’ breakup from Jo Koy: ‘I have to choose myself’

Chelsea Handler has opened up about her “painful” breakup from Jo Koy and revealed she’s feeling “optimistic about the future” despite her current “emotional rollercoaster”.

Handler, 47, announced on Monday that she and Koy had decided to take a break from their relationship. In the wake of the breakup, she spoke about her grief and the ways she’s dealing with her emotions during an appearance on the We Can Do Hard Things with Glennon Doyle podcast on Wednesday.

“I’m okay. I feel, you know, optimistic about the future now. I’ve changed so much and my love was so big that it just blew me open,” Handler said. “And as painful as the ending of something like that is, I’m so well-versed in therapy and understanding that every door shutting is a new beginning and I do believe it.”

The comedian then reflected on the breakup and the importance of acknowledging when something isn’t working. She believes it allows space to find something that is “more suited to your needs”.

“I think that when you have the grounding and the courage to say that something isn’t working, you’re saying a lot more than that to the whole world,” Handler said. “You’re inviting in things that are going to be workable and more suited to your needs and what you’re available for.”

Handler continued on to say that while it’s “nice to bend for people,” she has learned that “you can’t change somebody intrinsically. Though, she told Doyle that she learned “how to demonstrate [her] love publicly” because she believed “Jo needed that”.

“I was so inspired by us, but Jo didn’t crack me open. My psychiatrist cracked me open, and then I was open, and then I was able to bend for somebody. But you can’t change somebody intrinsically,” she said.

Handler also noted that she is proud of the way she is dealing with the split, as she has allowed herself to deal with the pain “in real time” rather than “distracting” and “deflecting”. The comedian also said she is relying heavily on therapy, which she described as her “tool kit” and the “most invaluable thing [she’s] ever gotten”.

“In therapy, out of therapy, with my girlfriends, with all my support systems knowing that when you’re in pain, sit with it,” she said, adding that she is trying to face her emotions head-on instead of looking for ways to “numb” the pain.

However, there are days that she struggles more than others. The former late-night talk show host told Doyle: “One day you think you’re killing it and then next day you’re not killing it.”

Handler and Koy were together for nearly a year when Handler shared a video on Instagram this week along with the caption: “It is with a heavy heart to announce that we have decided together that it is best for us to take a break from our relationship right now.”

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In the emotional post, Handler then described the love shared by the couple, writing: “To be loved and adored by @jokoy has been one of the greatest gifts of my life,” and that, because of him, her “life experience has changed forever”.

Handler also noted that the split was “not an ending,” but rather “another beginning”.

“And it’s a comfort to know that I am still loved and love this man the way the sun loves the moon and the moon loves the sun,” she wrote. “So, please continue to root for both of us, because you never know what life will bring.”

Handler also told Doyle that, despite the breakup, she still believes that she will find the person she is meant to be with, and that it may end up being Koy.

“I still believe that my person is coming, whether that is Jo Koy at a certain time or if it’s not, I accept that. I love him and he’s in his own path,” she said.