Review of the year: Gossip

Sex! Drugs! Nannies! Kiss-and-tells of yesteryear come back with a bang

We've come to expect rather a lot of sex scandals. I blame The Spectator: before last year, footballers, soap stars and the occasional bonking politician was about as good as it got. Then along came Kimberley Fortier, Boris Johnson, David Blunkett, and a series of randy sidekicks you couldn't make up and, suddenly, everyday "kiss and tells" seem rather tame by comparison.

This is a shame because it made 2005 feel like a poor vintage for gossip. But the reverse is true. And the most notable fallen celebrities came in twos: Jude and Sienna; Kate and Pete; Wayne and Colleen. If you enjoy seeing beautiful couples knocked off their perches, they made it a year to remember.

Let us start, then, with Jude Law and Sienna Miller. He is one of Britain's most bankable stars; she's one of our most ambitious young actresses. They met on the set of Alfie, and by summer 2004 were officially an item. Last Christmas, they announced their impossibly glamorous engagement.

By the summer, Miller may perhaps have been given to reflect that things were going too swimmingly. Law might boast matinée idol looks and bucketloads of charm, but he's also got a roving eye. In 2003, there were rumours of an affair with Nicole Kidman on the set of Cold Mountain; both parties denied any improper relationship. In January, the News of the World accused Law of wife-swapping sessions with former spouse Sadie Frost. Again, he claimed otherwise.

Yet nothing can have really prepared Miller for the front page of the Sunday Mirror on 17 July. It contained the testimony of Daisy Wright, the former nanny of Law's children, who had been removed from her post by Frost earlier in the year for bonking the boss. One of Frost's children had discovered Daddy in flagrante with Nanny early one morning.

Sensibly, Wright had kept a diary of the fling, describing how Law seduced her following a concert in New Orleans in March. "We kissed and kissed for what seemed like ages," she recalled. "The next thing I know, we are dragging each other upstairs and ripping off each other's clothes." It was restrained stuff, as these things go, but still a bit much for Miller, who was appearing in a West End production of As You Like It. She dispensed with her engagement ring and made tearful appearances at the stage door. Law, for his part, issued a public apology saying he was "deeply ashamed and upset".

The plot thickened. First, Miller was said to have sought comfort in the arms of Daniel Craig (the new James Bond). Then it was reported that she was pregnant with Law's child. Again, a spokesman denied both.

All this, though, was nothing but a warm-up for the downfall of Kate Moss and Pete Doherty. On paper, they were always a volatile mix: one a superstar model with the world at her elegant feet; the other a Byronic rocker better known for taking drugs than making music. Both are walking advertisements for so-called heroin chic.

But Moss didn't just look like a habitual drug-taker. She was one, too. In 2004, the model had successfully sued the Sunday Mirror for allegations that she'd collapsed during a cocaine binge. In September 2005, its sister paper was offered a video of Moss snorting cocaine at a west London recording studio. As they say in the trade: Gotcha!

The side-effects were immediate. In a fit of piety, several companies - among them Chanel, H&M and Burberry - announced that they were dropping Moss from lucrative campaigns. The Met Policechief, Sir Ian Blair, announced an investigation into the affair. Cops raided the recording studio, but have yet to interview Moss, as she's barely been in the UK since their inquiry began.

The fallen supermodel, for her part, issued the obligatory apology. "I accept that there are...personal issues that I need to address, and have started taking the difficult...steps to resolve them," she said. That meant rehab. Moss decamped to the Meadows, a clinic in Arizona where Elle Macpherson and Whitney Houston have paid £2,000 a night to sort out their lives. She was cut off from the outside world for 30 nights.

Later, aides were photographed moving Moss's possessions from north London to the Cotswolds. The woman herself decamped to New York, and ordered Doherty to attend the Meadows, too. He discharged himself after just four days. "Cocaine Kate", as she is now affectionately known, accordingly discharged him from duties as her boyfriend.

And so to the final contender for controversialist of the year: Wayne Rooney. England's great football hope made headlines in 2004 for consorting with a Liverpudlian prostitute known as the "Auld Slapper". But 2005 held even more delights.

Off the pitch, young Rooney and his fiancée, Colleen McLoughlin, are remarkable. She boasts the lavish shopping habits of a Scouse Imelda Marcos; he's got the libido of a young George Best. Throw a nightclub into the mix and you've a recipe for disaster.

In March, Rooney was accused of assaulting a student in a Manchester bar. The allegation was later withdrawn. In April, he took legal action against The Sun over claims that he'd slapped Colleen at a Cheshire club, Brasingamens. Rooney's spokesman admitted a public row, but denied any fisticuffs.

In November, The Sun got its hands on CCTV footage from the Odyssey nightclub in Manchester showing Rooney consorting with a brunette, Emily Fountain. Rooney was pictured covering the camera lens for six minutes before leaving the room smiling.

Rooney initially claimed to have been giving the girl an autograph, but even he doesn't take six minutes to sign a piece of paper. Later, he admitted kissing, but denied further transgressions. Colleen was pictured in tears at her parents' home; a subsequent column for Closer magazine discussed avian flu, the war in Iraq and shopping. Details of her troubled love life were conspicuously absent.

Thankfully, all three of this year's major celebrity scandals ended happily. Law and Miller have sorted out their differences, and are aiming to get married late next year. Rooney has now been forgiven by McLoughlin, and their big date is pencilled in for after the World Cup. Moss, meanwhile, is off drugs and back in demand. She was recently named the new £1.2m "face" of Virgin Mobile.

It's a funny old world where heroes are knocked down only to be reinstated as icons a few weeks later. But that was 2005. Perhaps, then, this must go down as the year Britain rediscovered the short-lived pleasure of the celebrity stitch-up. We love them, knock them down, and build them up again.

And if one is to set this in a cultural context, then, for sheer ruthlessness of the tabloid "stings" it was like being back in the merciless 1980s. Celebs were betrayed by grainy photos or breathless interviews to red-top assassins. By way of icing on this cake of nostalgia, we even managed a Royal wedding. But that's another story.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Media

Guru Careers: Lead Systems Developer / Software Developer

COMPETITIVE + Excellent Benefits: Guru Careers: A Lead Systems Developer / Sof...

Recruitment Genius: Social Media & Engagement Manager - French or German Speaker

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: The world's leading financial services careers...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Marketing Executive - 6 Months Contract

£28000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Digital Marketing Executive...

Guru Careers: Account Manager / Senior Account Manager

40-45K DOE + Benefits: Guru Careers: An Account Manager / Senior Account Manag...

Day In a Page

A nap a day could save your life - and here's why

A nap a day could save your life

A midday nap is 'associated with reduced blood pressure'
If men are so obsessed by sex, why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?

If men are so obsessed by sex...

...why do they clam up when confronted with the grisly realities?
The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3

Jon Thoday and Richard Allen-Turner

The comedy titans of Avalon on their attempt to save BBC3
The bathing machine is back... but with a difference

Rolling in the deep

The bathing machine is back but with a difference
Part-privatised tests, new age limits, driverless cars: Tories plot motoring revolution

Conservatives plot a motoring revolution

Draft report reveals biggest reform to regulations since driving test introduced in 1935
The Silk Roads that trace civilisation: Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places

The Silk Roads that trace civilisation

Long before the West rose to power, Asian pathways were connecting peoples and places
House of Lords: Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled

The honours that shame Britain

Outcry as donors, fixers and MPs caught up in expenses scandal are ennobled
When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race

'When it comes to street harassment, we need to talk about race'

Why are black men living the stereotypes and why are we letting them get away with it?
International Tap Festival: Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic

International Tap Festival comes to the UK

Forget Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers - this dancing is improvised, spontaneous and rhythmic
War with Isis: Is Turkey's buffer zone in Syria a matter of self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Turkey's buffer zone in Syria: self-defence – or just anti-Kurd?

Ankara accused of exacerbating racial division by allowing Turkmen minority to cross the border
Doris Lessing: Acclaimed novelist was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show

'A subversive brothel keeper and Communist'

Acclaimed novelist Doris Lessing was kept under MI5 observation for 18 years, newly released papers show
Big Blue Live: BBC's Springwatch offshoot swaps back gardens for California's Monterey Bay

BBC heads to the Californian coast

The Big Blue Live crew is preparing for the first of three episodes on Sunday night, filming from boats, planes and an aquarium studio
Austin Bidwell: The Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England with the most daring forgery the world had known

Victorian fraudster who shook the Bank of England

Conman Austin Bidwell. was a heartless cad who carried out the most daring forgery the world had known
Car hacking scandal: Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked

Car hacking scandal

Security designed to stop thieves hot-wiring almost every modern motor has been cracked
10 best placemats

Take your seat: 10 best placemats

Protect your table and dine in style with a bold new accessory