Kelly Brook

I’ve wasted so much time with stupid men

The Irish Mail on Sunday - TV Week - - FRONT PAGE -

THE TV STAR ON HER DOOMED AF­FAIRS, DIS­AS­TROUS JOBS AND TWO MIS­CAR­RIAGES

T he last time I spoke to Kelly Brook was on the dance­floor after the cam­eras stopped rolling on Strictly. She was all se­quins and smiles and had just done an amaz­ing dance with Bren­dan Cole, but she whis­pered solemnly, ‘I may not be here next week.’ She didn’t mean she feared be­ing voted out, she was top of the leader board. She was danc­ing for her fa­ther Ken­neth, also a ball­room lover, but he was dy­ing of can­cer and no mat­ter how hard she danced to make him happy, to stop her­self from be­ing over­whelmed with grief, she knew he was com­ing to the end. That week, in Novem­ber 2007, he died. Kelly was in­con­solable. She started to write about him, his ill­ness, her fam­ily, and it formed the start of her mem­oir Close Up.

The book is an un­flinch­ing ac­count of a life that’s been played out largely in the me­dia, and the doomed ro­mances that have lit­tered it. Kelly first fell in love at the age of 18 with for­mer Bri­tish high diver turned Hol­ly­wood hard­man Ja­son Statham, but their re­la­tion­ship hit the rocks after seven years when she met Ti­tanic ac­tor Billy Zane in 2004. They be­came en­gaged, but he was liv­ing a cham­pagne life­style on lemon­ade money and she called it off after four years. She lost a baby at six months with for­mer Scot­tish rugby player Thom Evans in 2011, caus­ing that re­la­tion­ship to fall apart too, be­fore rekin­dling her ro­mance with wom­an­is­ing Eng­land rugby player Danny Cipri­ani, whom she’d pre­vi­ously dated for two years be­fore Evans. When she dis­cov­ered Cipri­ani was a se­rial cheater last year their split was both ex­plo­sive and fi­nal.

But on the plus side her cal­en­dars are best­sellers, as is her range of swimwear, and she’s been hap­pily en­gaged for the past six months to fit­ness ex­pert David McIn­tosh. She’s also about to star in new US TV com­edy One Big Happy. Ellen De­Generes is the ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer. What­ever’s been thrown at Kelly in the past – dis­as­trous jobs at The Big Break­fast and Bri­tain’s Got Tal­ent, dis­as­trous boyfriends – she’s al­ways had the abil­ity to turn it around and never come across as a vic­tim.

To­day when we meet she looks ra­di­ant in a flo­ral play­suit. She’s tan­gi­bly happy, open and funny, and I’m in­ter­ested in what prompted her to write the book. ‘Oh, I’ve wasted so much time with stupid boys and do­ing stupid things, there’s been so much writ­ten about me, I thought it’s about time I closed the door on all those chap­ters. I’ve been so de­fined by those re­la­tion­ships and things that have hap­pened, I wanted to put my point of view across. That way I can move on. I wanted peo­ple to un­der­stand what hap­pened, and I’m not a vic­tim. It’s just the na­ture of things. If you dance with the Devil you get burnt. But who wouldn’t want to dance with the Devil ev­ery now and then? What’s life if you don’t give it a go?’

She’d been ap­proached many times by var­i­ous pub­lish­ers. ‘But I’d al­ways wanted to be pri­vate, and then after the Danny Cipri­ani thing last year I thought I’m sick of pro­tect­ing peo­ple. He was sleep­ing with so many women be­hind my back and yet I was blamed for be­ing a bad in­flu­ence on him. He never stood up and said it was noth­ing to do with Kelly.’ She now sees what was ob­vi­ous from the start. Cipri­ani is a needy man. ‘He needs con­stant at­ten­tion from any woman at any time and if you’re not go­ing to give it to him there’s a whole line of women who are ready to. From the at­ten­tion of his own mother to his friend’s mother to glam­our mod­els. It’s end­less. I started to think all th­ese men are ab­so­lutely spine­less. I got wound up in the celebrity cul­ture – I was ei­ther as­so­ci­ated with them or the fail­ure at The Big Break­fast. Any­one or any­thing in this book is fair game.’

She’s scathing about Cipri­ani. She says he wasn’t funny or in­tel­li­gent and his only chat up line was: ‘You’re the one. I’ve never felt like this. I want to have your ba­bies.’ ‘Ex­cept two weeks later he’s say­ing it to the next one. When I found out he was with his friend’s mum that was it. I thought, “I can’t help you any more. I’m go­ing to Hol­ly­wood. See you later.”’

Does she think there’s been a sim­i­lar­ity in the men she’s gone for? ‘Yes, they’ve all been on their a***s when I met them. They didn’t have a ca­reer or they were at the end of

‘They were all in debt or had no job. I tried to help them’

one ca­reer and try­ing to start some­thing else. I met them all at not a very good time for them and that’s my fault for be­ing nur­tur­ing, for be­ing like Mary Pop­pins. They were all ei­ther in debt, or had no job, or they

were fig­ur­ing out what to do. ‘Ja­son was at the end of his ca­reer as a diver when I met him. He wanted to be an ac­tor. Thom had just bro­ken his neck and was fin­ish­ing with rugby. Danny was just start­ing his rugby ca­reer. And Billy was at the end of his movie ca­reer. I tried to help them and give them en­cour­age­ment.’ She says she and Statham be­gan as equals when they met on a photo shoot at the end of his div­ing ca­reer in 1997, although he was 12 years older, and their ca­reers be­gan to take off at the same time. He went on to star in Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Bar­rels and Snatch. He and Kelly en­joyed Ritchie’s Hol­ly­wood, hang­ing out with Madonna and Vin­nie Jones. Statham went on to be one of Bri­tain’s high­est-earn­ing ex­ports, and is now dat­ing Bri­tish model and ac­tress Rosie Hunt­ing­ton-White­ley.

Kelly was with him for seven years, but when­ever she tried to talk to him about get­ting mar­ried or hav­ing a baby he didn’t want to com­mit. It’s not sur­pris­ing she got swept away by the ex­ces­sive Billy Zane when they met in 2004 on the set of a movie called Sur­vival Is­land. ‘Ja­son was my first love,’ she says with a hint of wist­ful­ness. Did she per­haps get in­volved with Zane to shake things up with Ja­son, but they got shaken up too much? ‘Yes, I guess so. Billy was never go­ing to be somebody I wanted to spend my life with [de­spite the fact they got en­gaged]. It was a fling. I knew the re­la­tion­ship with Billy would ei­ther make us or break us, and it broke us. Ja­son says even to this day, “It was my ego. I couldn’t get my head around it.” I know that for many years af­ter­wards he wasn’t happy. Nei­ther of us were. Part of us will al­ways love each other and there have been times... for in­stance, last year when the Danny thing was end­ing, Ja­son called out of the blue and said, “I still love you so much”, and I said “I still love you.” We’ll al­ways still love each other. Then I read the next day that he’d bro­ken up with Rosie so it was ob­vi­ous why he called. I don’t want to be a crutch for some­one and I thought it was a gen­uine phone call. Men are such pigs. He and Rosie got back to­gether and I haven’t heard from him since.’

Billy Zane sounds in­sane and com­pletely con­trol­ling. ‘He threw all my clothes away.’ At that time she was wear­ing the young Hol­ly­wood uni­form of jeans and a Juicy Cou­ture hoody. ‘He threw ev­ery­thing away. It was an in­ter­est­ing ex­er­cise. He wanted me ei­ther to look like a 60s Bond girl or a 50s housewife. That’s how he saw me. I felt I had to find out who I was and what my own style was any­way, but it was con­trol­ling. He pro­jected all his fan­tasies on to me. I never had a real life with him. I was al­ways in a fan­tasy fairy­tale.’

Her four years with Billy in­volved pri­vate jets or first-class flights to ex­clu­sive des­ti­na­tions, although he didn’t have a home at the time. ‘I was pay­ing for most of that. I’d done well for my­self but sud­denly I was liv­ing this life­style and think­ing I can’t keep up with this. I guess if you’ve been a Hol­ly­wood movie star for many years, it’s hard to live with me in Sy­den­ham [a London sur­burb]. That was part of the rea­son I didn’t marry him. As soon as the next muse came along he’d be off and I wasn’t pre­pared to share ev­ery­thing I’d worked for with some­one who didn’t de­serve it.’ It wasn’t all bad with Billy. It was ex­cit­ing and he was a won­der­ful lover. ‘You can’t find some­one with ev­ery­thing, can you? That’s why some guys cheat all the time. They don’t have sex­ual chem­istry with their wives so they look for it else­where. I don’t think Danny had the sex­ual chem­istry with

‘I’ve al­ways thought I’m more tal­ented than I am’

me that he had with all those women he was cheat­ing on me with. But he’s never go­ing to have with them what he had with me. He’s got that whole Madonna/whore com­plex.’

Kelly had wanted to start a fam­ily since she first got broody with Ja­son. When she fi­nally be­came preg­nant it was with Thom Evans four years ago. Was it at the wrong time or was he the wrong per­son? ‘Oh def­i­nitely the wrong per­son. Thom needed a ca­reer, not a girl­friend. He’s a self­ish man. He’s an ath­lete and a lot of ath­letes are self­ish.’ Ath­letes are part of Kelly’s pat­tern. Why does she go for them if they’re self­ish? ‘ Be­cause they’re dis­ci­plined. My life is chaotic so it’s nice to have rou­tine. Thom was sup­posed to be a bit of fun but I got preg­nant quickly, ab­so­lutely from nowhere as we’d been care­ful. When I had the mis­car­riage I was dis­traught but I wasn’t go­ing to spend the rest of my life with Thom. As soon as he started mod­el­ling he wanted a whole other world.’

Does she think about how her life would be if she’d had that lit­tle girl? ‘Yes, of course. Some of my friends’ chil­dren are the same age as my daugh­ter would have been. There are times when I re­ally wish I’d had that child, that it doesn’t mat­ter whether you’re to­gether be­cause you’ve got a child. Hope­fully I’ll have a baby soon.’

She al­ways refers to the loss of the baby when she was six months preg­nant as a mis­car­riage, when tech­ni­cally it was a still­birth. Is that be­cause it’s the only way she can look at it? ‘Yes, it was a still­birth, but in my mind it was a mis­car­riage, that’s how I can deal with it. The hos­pi­tal were in­sist­ing oth­er­wise and wanted to record a name, but I didn’t give them one be­cause I hadn’t thought of one yet and I’ve never re­gret­ted that. I wanted to move on from that whole ex­pe­ri­ence.’

She be­came preg­nant again very quickly, but lost that child after a few weeks. ‘It hap­pens to many, many women and you just have to think when the time is right it will hap­pen. Un­til then you have to be grate­ful for what you have, not what you don’t have, although I don’t want to get to the point where I don’t have a choice any more.’

She ded­i­cates the book to her boobs. ‘They’ve been the most con­sis­tently talked about things, de­spite all the head­lines about my re­la­tion­ships and the ma­jor sack­ings from TV shows. I’ve pretty much built an em­pire on them. I was go­ing to call the book The Booby Di­aries be­cause I’m grate­ful for all the op­por­tu­ni­ties that have come my way be­cause of them. But I wanted to cover se­ri­ous top­ics too.’ The be­gin­ning of her book is all about her dad, how much she loved him, and how she was in de­nial that he was dy­ing. It paints her par­ents – Ken­neth was a scaf­folder, her mother San­dra was a cook – as a pas­sion­ate cou­ple. ‘They used to fight like cat and dog and punch each other out the whole time.’

Kelly also has a ten­dency to punch peo­ple. One of the fun­ni­est bits in the book is when she punches Ja­son for flirt­ing with Gwyneth Pal­trow at Madonna’s wed­ding to Guy Ritchie in 2000. ‘I think if you come from a back­ground where you’re dis­re­spected that’s how you re­tal­i­ate, it’s nat­u­ral. It’s ob­vi­ously some­thing I need to work on be­cause I don’t want to go around punch­ing peo­ple.’

Kelly had a schol­ar­ship to Italia Conti stage school and could have stayed on for A-lev­els, but left when she was 16 as her par­ents couldn’t af­ford the fares from Kent to London. That was her first heart­break and it formed her. She de­cided to use glam­our mod­el­ling as a cir­cuitous route into act­ing: she had con­trol of her own im­age and made money from it. She says peo­ple were a lot kinder there than in the TV world where she was ‘eaten for break­fast’. The Big Break­fast was a ca­reer low. In 1999 she re­placed Denise Van Outen, who’d had a very suc­cess­ful part­ner­ship with Johnny Vaughan, but failed to recre­ate their chem­istry.

At the time Si­mon Cow­ell in­vited her to be a judge on Bri­tain’s Got Tal­ent in 2009 she was quite happy act­ing and mod­el­ling. And when he said he could change peo­ple’s per­cep­tions of her she was be­mused. ‘He wanted to make me the new Ch­eryl Cole.’ She points out in her book that Cole needed to be rein­vented after she’d been found guilty of as­sault on a toi­let at­ten­dant, and Cow­ell did it for her with The X Fac­tor, Kelly was never that needy. ‘I’ve al­ways thought I’m

‘BGT wasn’t a job I messed up. It was a job I didn’t like’

more ta lented and bet­ter-look­ing than I am. I’ve al­ways had con­fi­dence. I got the im­pres­sion he thought he was the be-all and end-all of en­ter­tain­ment and with­out him you’d have no ca­reer, but there are many peo­ple who don’t have any­thing to do with him and do well. It wasn’t a job I messed up, it was a job I didn’t like.’

She is now work­ing on a new TV show, and en­gaged to David McIn­tosh. She doesn’t talk about him in the book. ‘Ba­si­cally be­cause I’m happy and he doesn’t de­serve to be in the book. I stopped the book at a part where things are just start­ing to work out bril­liantly.’ She beams once again. Close Up: The Au­to­bi­og­ra­phy by Kelly Brook is out now (PanMacmil­lan), priced €17.99.

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