JANET STREET-PORTER: It’s easy to sneer at Katie Price as a walking, talking Disaster Barbie but the real-life woman I know is better than that. And she deserves our mercy
Katie Price is lucky to be alive after writing off her car on a country lane during a night of drink and drugs. The former glamour model, reality star and mother-of-five has reached a new low in a life that’s lurched from one disaster to another in the past two years.
Her troubles are numerous. She appeared with noticeable facial bruising last August after the police were called to a house in Essex, and a man was subsequently arrested.
Her current house is about to be re-possessed in order to pay her debts.
She is currently without a partner, after a string of high profile marriages, blessings, divorces and affairs, all with younger men. She’s lost her driving licence and has a string of convictions for speeding.
Harvey is the love of Katie Price’s life. Diagnosed as autistic, he suffers from Prader-Willi syndrome which makes him eat compulsively. Pictured, together earlier this month
Her latest solicitor – in a masterly piece of understatement – said there was ‘quite a lot going on,’ describing the current topsy-turvy world of Katie P as ‘a really difficult period’.
But that doesn’t explain the crash. Why would a mother (high on cocaine) get behind the wheel of a car at 6am to see a friend? Katie could have caused death and destruction and left her kids – two of whom were at home – without a mum.
Katie must have felt desperately low. When the police arrived she confessed ‘I took drugs…I should not be driving’. Following a court appearance, she was driven straight to the Priory clinic in South London (for the second time in two years), to deal with her demons, as they say.
Her family have issued a statement asking for our understanding, claiming ‘to many she is fair game, but we hope she can find her path privately, moving forward during this very difficult period in her life…it takes great strength for one to acknowledge they need help, we hope the door is now open for Kate to learn to love herself’.
Janet Street-Porter: My husband found it very hard when his son started at school
The next time the public get to gawp at the Katie Price show it will be in court in December, when she could face a likely prison sentence for driving while disqualified and under the influence of drink and drugs.
How has the career of the most famous glamour model in the UK come to this? The gorgeous girl who once graced the cover of US Playboy, who traded her talent to become the most successful pinup of the decade between 2000 and 2009?
Katie is reputed to have earned (and spent) £45million – squandering the money on cosmetic procedures, bad investments and dodgy men. She’s co-written 11 novels and no less than SIX aubiographies and sold over a million books. She’s won Celebrity Big Brother, appeared in I’m a Celebrity twice, meeting a husband (Peter Andre) in the process.
As the years have rolled by, Katie Price has flogged every aspect of her world in TV series with names like My Crazy Life, finally being reduced to demeaning appearances in crappy nightclubs, heckled and jeered at, falling drunkenly out of pink cars.
In December 2019, after failing to pay off her creditors, she was declared bankrupt. Currently she’s worth less than £700,000.
In spite of everything, I can’t condemn this troubled woman, it’s too easy to sneer.
Katie Price deserves our love and our sympathy. God knows, when I first met her on the set of Loose Women, I couldn’t believe the entourage, the sycophants and the flotsam that surround her.
Why would a mother (high on cocaine) get behind the wheel of a car at 6am to see a friend? Katie could have caused death and destruction and left her kids – two of whom were at home – without a mum. Pictured, the crashed vehicle
She’s like a ring master in a circus: the Katie Price Show. But beneath the mouthiness, the ghastly fake hair and the ever-changing breasts, the huge improbably white teeth and the garish synthetic clothing, lurks an incredibly lovely, caring, sweet person.
Without makeup, Kate (as her family call her) is a beautiful woman.
The problem is, Katie Price gazes at herself in the mirror and sees a work in progress. She’s never happy with how she looks. Her body is just a means to an end, a way of making more money to get out of debt, keep the Katie Price circus on the road, pay for her son’s special needs and look after her other four kids.
It’s also been used to hold onto her pick-and-mix buffet of male companions – generally less talented than she is. Her teeth, her breasts, have all been tinkered with, corrected, implanted, made bigger and then smaller. Who are we to sit in judgement?
In real life, Katie Price is a complete contradiction. She speaks without filter, makes acutely embarrassing statements about her bodily functions. And yet, she adores her children.
Katie is a champion for all kids with special needs – fighting tirelessly for her son to get the right education – and, after Harvey was mercilessly trolled, she successfully launched an online petition
Her love for her disabled son Harvey shone through the documentary (Harvey and Me) she co-authored on BBC1 earlier this year, watched by over five million viewers. That’s some achievement. Very few hour-long films about an overweight blind teenager with severe learning disabilities and limited communication skills would connect with that many people.
Harvey is the love of Katie’s life. Diagnosed as autistic, he suffers from Prader-Willi syndrome which makes him eat compulsively. He can be violent and lash out when surprised and confused. In spite of all his challenging conditions, and being rejected by his father, the former footballer Dwight Yorke, Harvey is a remarkably sweet boy.
Katie is a champion for all kids with special needs – fighting tirelessly for her son to get the right education – and, after Harvey was mercilessly trolled, she successfully launched an online petition attracting hundreds of thousands of supporters to force the government to deal with online bullying.
Earlier this month, the BBC announced another film, What Harvey did Next, charting the teenager’s progress at residential school he attends near Cheltenham.
I also had a stepson with learning difficulties who was lucky enough to get a place at a special residential school miles from where we lived. So I have an inkling of why Katie could find herself at such a low ebb. Harvey was no longer at the centre of her life, and now he’s away at school, might she be lonely and craving his unconditional love?
My husband found it very hard when his son started at school. Even more so, when the boy was diagnosed with cancer aged 11, and died within a month. My husband suffered a breakdown.
The parents of children with special needs have such a close bond, something which Katie graphically demonstrated in her documentary. Harvey will still love her, but will be making new friends and learning how to cope on his own.
Now Katie must learn to live differently, and on her own. And to start liking herself a bit more. I wish her (and Harvey) the very best for the future.
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