Can anyone save Tulisa from herself Claims she's a home-wrecker by the pregnant ex of her footballer lover are just the latest in a long line of scandals for the X Factor judge
01:41 GMT, 20 November 2012
Magnet for trouble: Tulisa has been accused of being a home-wrecker
Given that Tulisa has already starred in a sex tape, boasted about being in a violent gang, tweeted about the sex toys vibrating in her luggage and lashed out in vile language at anyone who dares to criticise her, one would be forgiven for thinking that the self-styled sweetheart of Saturday night TV could stoop no lower.
Yet now it is claimed that the 24-year-old can add ‘homewrecker’ to her list of credentials, as she is accused of ditching her actor boyfriend for a footballer whose ex-girlfriend is claiming to be pregnant with his child. So far, so sleazy — until ‘Team Tulisa’ swings into action, that is.
The crack team of highly paid agents, lawyers, PRs and stylists in charge of preserving her image as the glossy maned creature at the helm of The X Factor have certainly got their work cut out.
Her 350-an-hour lawyer at the firm Lewis Silkin, likeable PR man Simon Jones and tireless agent Jonathan Shalit (the man responsible for turning Myleene Klass from a chubby Hear’Say singer into a sought-after TV presenter) are all striving to make her circumstances look as innocuous as possible.
Lawyer Jonathan Coad at Lewis Silkin has even sent out an eight-page complaint to all newspapers and celebrity magazines in a bid to get his client’s version of events across.
The facts of the latest scandal are these. Last Tuesday, Tulisa travelled to Manchester to meet a footballer named Danny Simpson for a date. The couple were seen going to her hotel in his Bentley, and spotted dining at the restaurant Gaucho.
They looked soppily enamoured and ‘friends’ of the footballer were yesterday spinning the line that he believes they have a real future together, and it wasn’t just a casual liaison.
Simpson, 25, who plays for Newcastle United, obviously has a penchant for famous brunettes. He has previously dated Emmerdale actress Roxanne Pallett and also had flings with footballers’ favourites Imogen Thomas and Natasha Giggs. He earns 25,000 a week.
A few days after the liaison with Tulisa became public, his former girlfriend Stephanie Ward, 25, came forward with a number of complaints.
First Miss Ward, a university graduate, said she was three months pregnant by Simpson. She added that Simpson — who is the father of their young daughter, Skye — had cheated on her with Tulisa.
Miss Ward said: ‘We’ve been off-and-on for the past seven years — but absolutely solid for the past two. As far as I’m concerned he has cheated on me because we hadn’t broken up or anything.
‘I am numb and I’ve gone through the emotions in the past 24 hours. At first I was upset, then angry. I don’t know how he can throw away his perfect family for someone who is constantly pictured with different guys. I have a baby on the way and a little girl who’s one-and-a-half. If he wants to leave that, then that’s up to him.
‘But I won’t be here for him if he comes back. I don’t care any more. He’s made his bed so he can lie in it.’
And she’s not the only unhappy party. Actor Jody Latham has come forward to say that he feels ‘like an idiot’ after being dumped by Tulisa.
Jody, 30, who starred in the Channel 4 series Shameless, began a romance with the singer after he was picked to appear in her music video, The Sight Of You, last month. A friend said: ‘He thought he had a future with Tulisa. She said she wanted to get married and have children.’
Enamoured: Tulisa and footballer Danny Simpson have been spotted dining at the restaurant Gaucho. Friends of his are claiming it's not just a 'casual liaison'
In recent weeks, he consoled her ‘for hours’ after fellow X Factor judge Gary Barlow called her ‘fag ash breath’ and listened to her moaning that, although she liked the money that came with The X Factor job (thought to be 250,000 a year) she wants to go back to her music career full-time.
The friend said that Jody and Tulisa were even planning a Christmas holiday together — until he received a text from her telling him that the romance was over.
The pal claimed: ‘He would have done anything for her — but then she just turned cold on him.
‘From getting 30 text messages a day from her, he suddenly started to get only a couple. And then she went to Manchester and said she was staying in with friends so she couldn’t meet up with him. Jody is gutted. He feels like an idiot.’
None of which paints Tulisa in a flattering light. And, as you might expect from a young woman with quite a record of vituperative public arguments, she has come out fighting in an attempt to preserve her image. She sent out a Tweet, aimed at Miss Ward: ‘U r a liar n a psychotic obsessed nutta! Wait till I tell how it is . . . wrongen. I don’t want 2 get in 2 a public war of words.’
Her lawyer, in slightly more measured tones, denied she started a relationship with Simpson while he was with his former girlfriend.
Mr Coad observed that any romance between Ward and Simpson was ‘long over’ by November.
The new relationship between Tulisa and Danny Simpson has upset her former boyfriend, actor Jody Latham
He went on to say that Tulisa had no idea Miss Ward was pregnant and added, curiously, that she had ‘no reason to believe that claim to be true’.
As evidence he quotes several texts, allegedly sent by Miss Ward to a mutual friend. One of them says: ‘Being broken up, it’s not a nice thing to go through.’ This doesn’t mean that she isn’t pregnant. However, there is a combative assertion that Ward and Simpson had been ‘effectively’ at the end of their romantic relationship ‘several months ago’.
What does the mess say about Tulisa Another woman — perhaps one a little less sure of herself — might wonder about her judgment of this footballer. They are not, sadly, a group of young men known for their commitment to fidelity. But then it seems that Tulisa isn’t in the habit of listening to anyone where men are concerned.
Take, for instance, her liaison with the handsome Skins actor Jack O’Connell, 22. She and O’Connell started dating in March and split in July.
In March her PR adviser insisted that, although they had been pictured together, they were just good friends.
'He feels like an idiot': Tulisa broke up with Jody Latham by text
But it turned out that she was with him. In fact, she even thanked him in her autobiography, Honest, My Story So Far, for supporting her when the sex tape scandal was raging last spring.
A scandal which, of course, saw Team Tulisa out in full force, with the star’s lawyers ‘categorically’ denying she had ever allowed anyone to film her having sex.
This was followed with threats that newspapers shouldn’t dream of printing a story along those grubby lines. Yet a sex tape featuring Tulisa duly came out on the internet, released by a former boyfriend.
Team Tulisa, apparently unembarrassed by their earlier stance, pursued her former boyfriend all the way to the High Court and secured a public victory for their girl over the violation of her privacy.
‘The truth has prevailed,’ Tulisa chirruped on the steps of the High Court. The question of why she had denied the tape existed in the first place was explained away as a simple misunderstanding — it seems she had completely forgotten making it in the first place.
‘I have done nothing wrong,’ she said, with not even a blush. She claimed to be ‘heartbroken’ and ‘devastated’.
Aided by some image-polishing, courtesy of her PR and agent, she was able to hang on to her prime-time job on The X Factor in the wake of the scandal.
She even milked the drama in her autobiography — for which she secured a 300,000 advance — released in September.
And the seedy exploits don’t end there. Earlier this year she tweeted about a sex toy being found vibrating in her luggage — not what one would expect from a star of Saturday night television. But then Tulisa has rather shattered the mould.
In her teens, she was in a violent girl gang and acted as a lookout when they went handbag-snatching.
As she has become famous and wealthy, has also gained a reputation for her hell-raising tendencies. As recently as 2010 she was asked to leave a hotel in Miami after ‘trashing’ her room following a drunken night out — this on a working tour of the U.S. with her band N-Dubz.
What a transformation! Tulisa's image has changed since her days with N Dubz. Her temper, however, is as fiery as it was then when the three members had to be kept apart
Part of the selling point of N-Dubz
was their endlessly fractious relationship, with relations so rocky that
the three band members had to be kept apart during tours.
‘The boys and I travel separately because we would actually kill each other if we travelled together,’ Tulisa admitted.
If Tulisa’s fiery behaviour hasn’t changed much since her N-Dubz days, her image certainly has. Out went the bleached blonde ringlets, trowelled-on make-up and copious amounts of gold jewellery, replaced by glamorous dresses, brunette waves and sparkling white teeth.
Makeover: Tulisa had dental work worth 12,000 done which included a painful gum lift procedure
Under Jonathan Shalit’s guidance, Tulisa’s makeover began with dental work worth 12,000 (Tulisa received it for free, then got into hot water for promoting her dentist on Twitter) including a painful gum lift procedure to give her a smile Simon Cowell would be proud of.
Her hair was transformed by Jamie Stevens, who is under contract to The X Factor and also does the hair for all the contestants.
She has also hired a stylist, Gemma Sheppard, who previously worked with Dannii Minogue and Alexandra Burke — both X Factor alumni. Gemma’s brief was to prize her out of her beloved tracksuits and into more glamorous, Cheryl Cole-esque styles — although Tulisa insists on an ‘urban twist’ on every look.
Team Tulisa also saw a commercial opportunity in her makeover, and she launched a range of clothes in Bank stores, despite admitting: ‘I have never liked shopping, it bores the hell out of me.’
Indeed, her ‘bad girl’ branding makes her very marketable indeed — her Female Boss perfume trades off that take-no- prisoners image. Simon Cowell said her ‘real’ views on The X Factor made a refreshing change from the showbiz luvvie guff spouted by the other judges.
But, at other times the bad girl act can make her seem a rather spiteful and moody madam who loves to pick a fight. She called one critic on Twitter an ‘ugly f***er’ and added: ‘Shame ur mum didn’t aborted u, bet she thinks about it wen she looks at u now tho!’
And now comes another public confrontation — this time with someone who has had a child with her new beau and may be expecting another.
Don’t expect her to go easy, though. Tulisa declares that she is ‘happy wid my man’ and heaven help anyone who dares to suggest any different — for Team Tulisa will be on to you.