A Comprehensive History Of How Katie Price Went From National Treasure To Bankrupt

A Becky Sharp for the 21st century, Katie Price's rise was stratospheric. But what about her fall?

A Comprehensive History Of How Katie Price Went From National Treasure To Bankrupt

by Rebecca Reid |
Updated on

If you were a teenager in the mid noughties, you probably had a well thumbed copy of Katie Price’s autobiography, 'Being Jordan'. It detailed how she went from a normal, shy teenager to international sex bomb and Playboy star in glorious, technicolour detail. It revealed her to be a thoughtful, intelligent and astute businesswoman and, by the time it had spent several weeks on the best seller chart, she was approaching icon status, at a time where women were often supposed to be either sexy, or brilliant, but rarely both.

The UK seemed to put aside the slut shaming that had been levelled at her during the earlier stages of her career and embraced her as the new icon for family life - one of the first famous women to force the general public to accept that it’s possible to be both sexy and maternal. She was the face of various brands, a favourite celebrity mum, a writer, a businesswoman, a wife and very nearly a National Treasure. A sort of Becky Sharp - the social climbing heroine from Thackeray's Vanity Fair - for the 21st century.

Yesterday, Price filed for bankruptcy, meaning that her nine-bedroom Sussex home will need to be sold. Her pink Range Rover has, apparently, been repossessed. She has publicly spoken about her unhealthy relationship with cosmetic surgery, and admitted to struggling with cocaine addiction. So how, just over a decade after she was on top of the world and worth an estimated £40 million, has she lost it all?

Probably the initial blow for Price was the end of her relationship with Peter Andre. While we can all agree that the princess carriage at the wedding (which, fun fact, took place at Downton Abbey AKA Highclere Castle) and the recording of ‘A whole new world’ were both toe curlingly cringe, there was something about Andre and Price that warmed our collective hearts. We watched them fall in love on I’m A Celebrity, which presumably fostered a sense of ownership over their relationship. The soap opera nature of it was enhanced by watching Andre be an active step parent to Harvey, and then by seeing the couple have their own children (Princess and Junior). No surprise, then, that endorsement deals were pouring in for the family.

In 2009, four years after they got together, Andre and Price announced that they were splitting. This is, seemingly, where Price believes the bankruptcy issues began. Earlier this week, she is said to have had an ‘outburst’ on a busy train between King's Cross and Ebbsfleet. ‘Tomorrow, I’m being declared bankrupt,' she allegedly told commuters. 'Even though I’m not bothered. I’ve known it’s coming, going bankrupt, because I took him (Peter Andre) to court. He’s the worst person ever.’

Notably, Andre took their shared manager, Claire Powell, with him as part of the split.

At the point of their divorce, the couple found themselves in something of a war of public opinion. Andre seemingly didn’t date for an extended period of time. Just over two years later he announced that he was in a relationship with a medical student named Emily MacDonagh, 17 years his junior and daughter of the surgeon who had previously removed his kidney stones. The age gap did not, however, seem to sway public opinion. The couple then had two children (Amelia and Theodore) and got married. Emily, who eschews most of the limelight and doesn’t often share pictures of her children, is seemingly the antithesis of her predecessor, something which online commenters are often quick to point out. In 2018, Princess and Junior - then aged 11 and 13 - moved in with Peter and Emily.

In contrast to Peter Andre, Katie remarried a year after the divorce, this time to MMA fighter and Hollyoaks actor Alex Reid. They split up in 2011. Price then married Kieran Hayler in 2013 and had two more children with him (Bunny and Jett).

However much we pride ourselves on judging women for their actions and their character, rather than who they sleep with or marry, the frequency of Price’s relationship dramas made her ever more popular tabloid fodder, which presumably in turn made her relationships less stable and more difficult to navigate. Since 2016, Kieran has apparently cheated on Katie with two of her best friends and the children's nanny. This very private pain became a very public news story.

Alongside the narration of her relationships, the press has kept tight tabs on Price’s relationship with surgery. She has never denied having surgery, but as is often the case with cosmetic intervention, the efficacy of the work has reduced with the number of procedures she’s had. And, not sure if you’ve heard, the world is just a wee bit kinder to people who look ‘right’ at all times. Price, it seems, isn’t happy with the work, describing one of her surgeons as having ‘fucked up’ her face. The Sun estimates that the cumulative cost of her surgeries would be around half a million pounds.

While her personal relationships struggled, Price initially seemed to be taking the traditional approach of burying herself in her work. To date she has four singles, one album, six autobiographies, eleven novels and two children's novel series. She was one of the top 100 best-selling writers between 2000 and 2009. Her 2007 novel, Crystal, outsold the entire Booker Prize list that year.

Price also has a perfume, two equestrian clothing lines and a children’s clothing line, and stood for election as an independent MP in 2001. Even if you’re not a fan, you can’t deny that her body of work is incredibly impressive. But, as her recent bankruptcy suggests, even her stellar work ethic wasn’t enough to keep her afloat.

The success of Price’s books dwindled after Rebecca Farnworth, who ghost wrote Price’s books, died of cancer in 2014. Price has only released one novel since Farnworth’s death, which didn’t have the success of any of the previous publications.

Endorsement deals too have seemed to dry up in recent years.

In 2009 Price allegedly lost £3 million worth of deals following her split with Andre. The following years of turbulent romantic relationships, complicated surgeries, struggles with substance abuse and public outbursts seem to have made her a less appealing choice as a brand ambassador, which may well have contributed to her bankruptcy. Earlier this year, Price was cautioned by the Advertising Standards Agency for ‘irresponsible’ adverts posted on her social media.

Price was once the face of her own lingerie brand, homeware brand and even ASDA. As it stands, she doesn’t seem to have any active endorsement deals. Her financial situation has not been released outside of her debts and IVA (involuntary arrangement).

Just like Becky Sharp at the end of Vanity Fair, Price currently finds herself down on her luck, without much material wealth. But this is the woman who found a place in the heart of a nation whose national sport was slut shaming, amassed a £40 million fortune and outsold every author on the 2007 Book Prize combined with a book called Crystal. So we wouldn’t be too quick to write her off just yet. As she famously once said: 'You never underestimate the Pricey.'

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