In defence of Katie Price

Emily Hill

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Thanks to an early morning incident involving a crashed car, a fire hydrant, and a wife wielding a golf club, Tiger Woods – the golfer so proficient on the course that his private life was deemed a complete snore fest – finds himself the latest star with a marriage under the microscope.

Now I’m a fan of celebrities hanging their somewhat soiled, silken g-strings on the line – Heather Mills McCartney is surely the most interesting thing Paul McCartney did since ‘Back in the USSR’ – but it reaches a point where even the most avid TMZ trawler thinks it’s time to turn off. Woods has never forced himself into the gossip columns, paraded his family about or professed undying love for his spouse across endless, gurning spreads in Hello!. Quite why the police have to get involved seems a mystery. He’s surely rich enough to pay for the fire hydrant. But the key point is: celebrity marital strife should be left to the professionals, who can handle it. Like Jordan.

Contrary to popular belief, Jordan, aka Katie Price, has handled her divorce with aplomb. There has been mercifully little angst and handwringing, aside from the obligatory hanky-blowing with Piers Morgan, at the loss of Peter Andre, failed pop star and former washboard stomach. Instead Price has picked herself up and got on with the day job – flogging her equestrian line, shooting her calendar in Ibiza, getting chased about by the paparazzi as she films her ITV2 reality series and claiming a bumper rate for her stint on ITV1’s I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!. She even replaced the defunct Andre with a younger model. In short, Jordan has taken it like a man.

In the Andre/Price divorce, gender roles have been reversed. Pete has gone down the traditional wronged wife route, crying in public, dangling the children about for the cameras and expressing his inner agony in song, while KP earns all the money and cops all the flak. Whining that his former wife ought to have returned from the jungle earlier because her children miss her (while simultaneously neglecting to point out that she was contractually obliged to be there and though she couldn’t come to them, perhaps he could have brought them to her) it is Pete who has won the PR victory. Most express the hope that Price will now go away. But although there is much talk of Price’s profile being destroyed by the divorce, there is no talk of the ‘Mysterious Girl’ singer having been made by the marriage. If she goes, she’ll be taking him with her.

Jordan’s popularity – or anti-popularity – is so staggering that the Guardian commissioned a full report on ‘Being Katie Price’ recently. However confused you are as to what to make of her, the piece rather snidely explains, ‘at least you’re not Price’. And yet evidence suggests that rather a lot of people would like to be Katie Price. Two million ITV1 viewers departed with her when she left the jungle. Viewers may have been phoning in to punish her, but even so they were tuning in for her. She has been phenomenally successful. She has, in her short career, sold over 2,820,479 books. Her fortune hovers around £30million. Her ambition knows no bounds. Last year she claimed she wanted to launch a Katie Price credit card and a Katie Price budget airline. The woman has ambition. She’s not just doing this for fame’s sake. She’s not just doing this for money. She quite clearly wants to take over the world.

And recent months have shot her into the stratosphere of the literati, where she has been busy getting up their nostrils… That increasingly demented man of letters, Martin Amis, has revealed that he is basing a character on her in his next worst-seller, State of England. In the same interview in which he blamed the women’s movement for his sister’s alcoholism and promiscuity (perhaps forgetting that their father was also a raving philanderer and alcoholic and it was somewhat following in the family pattern), he states: ‘Snobbery has to start somewhere and if you can’t be snobbish about Katie Price then it’s the end of the world.’ Fay Weldon gamely followed up with the view: ‘She drinks too much and sleeps with too many people and talks about it too much for common decency, but who of us is perfect?’

Not Fay or Mart for certain, who haven’t written anything really compelling in at least a decade. Meanwhile, Katie Price continues to pull off the art of getting her baps out for the lads very capably.

Emily Hill is a reporter on the Londoner’s Diary at the Evening Standard. Visit her personal website here.

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