My brother married a girl he met on Celebrity Big Brother. He was the singer in a band; they’d had a few hits in the UK Top 10, a number one in Japan. But his career was stalling and he went on the show as a kind of last-ditch attempt to make it. He met a girl there – named Chantelle after the lingerie brand. She was bold and brassy and, despite being in a long-term relationship, he fell for her.
I sat at home with his fiancée watching him make love to another girl on live television. Vero, the French heroine of This Bleeding City, is based upon his ex – she was an amazing girl and hugely hurt by my brother’s infidelity. In the glitz and glamour of an OK! Magazine-sponsored wedding, my brother and Chantelle were married. His now ex-fiancée returned home to France, shattered.
Our celebrities live lives that follow predefined paths. The Faustian pact that celebrities enter when they decide to leave behind the real world is that their lives will be mapped out by sweating silver-haired men in expensive suits. The relationship between Sam and Chantelle was a fait accompli – he just didn’t know it. Agents and managers had worked it all out: the romance, the wedding, the tearful divorce. In the will-to-fame that drives our young people to mortgage their youths in search of the Holy Grail of celebrity, broken hearts are just collateral damage.