Celebrities behaving badly: Why we all love bad girls

They're loose-living, loud-mouthed hell-raisers. And, as Amy Winehouse's triumph at the Brits proves, we can't get enough of them. Ed Caesar selects some of the most colourful
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Amy Winehouse

You might not think it to look at her bird's nest hair and slapdash make-up, but Amy Winehouse makes great music. Her most recent album, Back to Black, garnered five-star reviews on its release in October, and it was no surprise when she was crowned Best British Female at the Brit Awards this week.

Yet most people know Winehouse as being, in her own words, "an ugly dickhead drunk" who hangs around Camden with equally sozzled mates, including Pete Doherty. Which wouldn't be so bad if she weren't such a terrible drinker. Her adventures in vodka and rickstasy (her favourite drink, containing three parts vodka, one part Southern Comfort, one part banana liqueur, and one part Baileys) have landed her in the soup too many times to mention.

Her performance at GAY this year (despite some tittle-tattle to the contrary, Winehouse, who is heavily tattooed with pictures of naked women, is not gay - "not before a sambuca, anyway") went horribly wrong. Halfway through her first song she made a bolt for the wings for a spot of light vomiting and never returned. More recently, she suggested that scars on her forearm, spotted at the Elle Style Awards, were acquired when she blacked out trying to get back to her hotel.

As a general rule, then, it is advisable to give Winehouse a wide berth of an evening. Indeed, she recently confessed to having "smacked" a girl who approached her after a gig, after which: "I took my boyfriend home and started beating him up." Who said romance was dead?

Sienna Miller

"I know people compare me to Kate [Moss] a lot," Sienna Miller said shortly after she became famous. Who compared her to Moss is not clear, but they were wrong. They might wear the same clothes but when it comes to attitude, Miller is a fruit smoothie compared to Moss's Harvey Wallbanger.

True, Miller did call Pittsburgh "Shitburgh". She has had an on-off relationship with Jude Law. And she did wear big black pants to a party. But the other incidents that have peppered her career have seemed more calculated. As for the brief rumour that she got carried away while filming sex scenes in Factory Girl, these seem to have had less foundation in fact than in the studio's need to publicise the film. (Miller subsequently denied the rumour.)

None the less, in her days at Heathfield School in Berkshire, Miller got up to all sorts of high jinks. When she wasn't kissing boys at the nearby Wellington College, she remembers "hitching up my horrid, long tweed skirt and sneaking off to Ascot to buy quarts of vodka".

Time, it seems, has not wearied her devil-may-care attitude. "I've got this group of friends who are quite bohemian," she recently admitted. "We get drunk, get the poetry books out and read."

Peaches Geldof

Peaches Geldof, by all accounts, does a great Bob Geldof - according to her friends, an uncanny "give us yer fokking money" can often be heard punctuating the blare of a West End nightclub. She also does a passable impression of a spoilt brat.

Peaches Honeyblossom Michelle Charlotte Angel Vanessa Geldof, 17, has already been named in Tatler's top 10 fashion icons for 2006, which might be a little head-swelling for a girl studying for her A-levels. Maybe that's why she feels qualified to pass judgement on the rest of womankind. Jordan, Nicole Richie and Jodie Marsh are "appalling". Trinny and Susannah are "upper-class bitches with no fashion sense". Rachel Hunter has "frazzled hair". And Victoria Beckham has "ridiculous outfits that she strains to get into by not eating".

Peaches, who wants to be a journalist, claims she hates the tabloids, and will never work for them. What she doesn't know is that she works for them every time she falls out of a club.

Lily Allen

Despite her conspicuous talent and success, the uncrowned princess of British pop has made as many headlines for her narcotic intake as for her vertiginous rise up the charts. When asked last year how she would celebrate if her single "Smile" reached the top of the charts, Allen replied "gak" (grade A cocaine).

Stories from her somewhat disjointed childhood subsequently emerged, most notably from a former boyfriend who claimed that he had sex with Allen while they were both "off their heads" on ecstasy. All this despite a grand tour of Britain's finest private schools (she changed school 13 times, not always of her own volition).

Allen, who was reported to have eased her Brits disappointment with champagne, vodka and beer, is not shy of some verbals, either. She called Bob Geldof a "sanctimonious prat" and said that Kylie performing at Glastonbury would be the ultimate insult to the event. She also weighed into Chris Moyles and his sidekick Comedy Dave on Radio 1, saying that Moyles was too self-obsessed and Comedy Dave wasn't very comedy.

She even complained on her blog that her ranking on the NME's cool list was "patronising". We would have expected nothing less: Allen always was a little too cool for school.

Sarah Harding

She might be the oldest member of Girls Aloud, the band created in Popstars: The Rivals, but Harding showed no signs of setting an example to her younger bandmates, many of whom have shacked up and settled down with footballers and celebrities.

Hard-drinking Harding, 25, who has been linked romantically with Calum Best of Celebrity Love Island fame, the T4 lothario Steve Jones, the Liverpool footballer John Arne Riise and the actor Stephen Dorff, is now in a "serious" relationship with the Daily Star showbiz columnist Joe Mott. But don't expect to hear the peel of wedding bells. "Love?" she said in a recent interview when asked about the nature of her relationship. "I think you mean lust."

The former barmaid, whose hard-living friends include Lady Victoria Hervey and Liam Gallagher, is equally frank in dismissing comparisons to the US bad girl Lindsay Lohan. "I'm nothing like her. For a start I wear knickers!"

Charlotte Church

When Charlotte Church's ex-boyfriend, Kyle Johnson, sold stories about their sex life to a Sunday newspaper, the Cardiff singer dealt with him in her own, forthright way. Bumping into him in a nightclub, she said he was a "stupid little shit". He called her "a slut". She then punched him in the face, with the departing line: "You're the whore!" All this effing and blinding surprised a nation that remembered Church as the Voice of an Angel, the title of her album. This was, after all, the girl who had sung for the Pope. But Church, in her own words, grew tired of "all that palaver" and with the release of her pop album Tissues and Issues she changed into a boozing, fag-toting loudmouth, pursued by the paparazzi.

Despite now being in a long-term relationship with the Welsh rugby star Gavin Henson, controversy has not left her. She still likes to go out on the razzle, and she and Henson were reported to have enjoyed a marathon session "on the piste" in a ski resort last month, although she disputes the amounts consumed.

Church's television career has seen her put her foot in her mouth, most notably on The All New Charlotte Church Show when she dressed as a drug-taking nun and made Nazi jokes about the Pope.

Kate Moss

Where to start? There's not an awful lot the sexiest woman on the planet has not done. She was, of course, embroiled in a whirlwind of faux outrage last year when footage emerged of her snorting cocaine in a recording studio. Then there's her string of ex-lovers, both alleged and confirmed, which reads like a Who's Who of the rock and fashion worlds.

And, naturally, there's her on-off relationship with that ubiquitous bad boy Pete Doherty, to whom (if you believe some accounts) Moss is now engaged.

But real bad behaviour? Well, before her dalliance with the former Libertines frontman, Moss was a star member of the Primrose Hill set (a set Noel Gallagher would later dub "the whores on the hill"), who were known to stay up well past their bed times several times a week.

Indeed, when the partying got too frenetic, Moss enlisted the services of the Priory, but her wild lifestyle, it seems, was only temporarily checked by the check-in. Perhaps the best example of Moss' hedonism is the 30th birthday party she threw herself in 2004, which ran with a suitable theme, the Beautiful and the Damned.

The drinking started at midday, where Kate and friends downed several thousand pounds' worth of champagne at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel.

Then, the party moved on to a seventh-floor suite at Claridge's, where Kate changed into a blue evening dress and a £300,000 necklace - a personal gift from Louis Vuitton - and guests ate, among other things, 30lb of Beluga caviar.