Meet Rochester's Kelly Brook
PUBLISHED: 20:42 26 November 2014 | UPDATED: 20:42 26 November 2014
She may have been unlucky in love, but the model and actress is well versed in overcoming adversity and Kent is proud to call her one of our own
Kelly Brook has dated a string of celebrities, from big screen hard man Jason Statham to rugby playboy Danny Cipriani and has recently separated from her fiancé, Gladiators’ star David McIntosh.
“Jason was my first love,” the former Thomas Aveling School pupil confesses. “I know for many years after our break-up that he wasn’t happy. Neither of us was.”
Having been thrust into the limelight in her late teens, modelling for ad campaigns such as Fosters, Piz Buin and Bravissimo before becoming one of the nation’s most celebrated glamour models, Kelly embarked on a seven-year relationship with Statham, at the time making the transition from athlete to actor. She says: “Part of us will always love each other.”
In 2004, after splitting with Statham, Kelly became close to another Hollywood actor, Billy Zane, who had found fame in Titanic but shared more than a few ugly traits with his on-screen character from that iconic film.
Kelly reveals what happened when Zane moved into her home in Kent: “He threw all my clothes away. He wanted me either to look like a 1960’s Bond girl or a 1950’s housewife. That’s how he saw me.
“It was interesting for me to experiment with style. I felt I had to find out who I was and what my own style was anyway. It was controlling, though; he projected all his fantasies on me. I feel like I never had a real life with him. I was always in a fairytale.”
In addition to Zane taking up residence in her home near Kent, Kelly divulged that it was she who funded the pair’s lavish lifestyle. “I’d done quite well for myself but suddenly I was living this lifestyle and thinking I can’t keep this up. It’s hard to live with me in a little place in Sydenham, but I was happy to do that.”
Many then thought the model had met her Mr Right when she began dating rugby star Danny Cipriani, but a number of misdemeanours on the athlete’s part left poor Kelly back at square one.
“He [Cipriani] needs constant attention from any woman at any time, and if you’re not going to give it to him there’s a whole line of women who are ready to.”
The relationship soured Brook’s outlook on men in general. “I started to think all these men are absolutely spineless. Yet I got wound up being part of a celebrity culture because of I was associated with them or because of being associated with the failure of The Big Breakfast.”
Perhaps her biggest struggle came in 2011, when she sadly suffered a miscarriage while in a relationship with another rugby player, Thom Evans (who took part in this season’s Strictly Come Dancing). The pair were not well suited, however, according to Kelly, who showed bravery and hindsight when discussing the traumatic period.
“Thom needed a career, not a girlfriend. He’s a very selfish man. He’s an athlete and a lot of athletes are selfish. They are disciplined, but I liked the routine; my life is chaotic so it’s nice to have some routine.”
But it wasn’t enough to form a stable relationship: “Thom started off a nice guy, he was good looking and supposed to be a bit of fun. I got pregnant quickly, absolutely from nowhere, as we’d been careful.
“When I had the miscarriage I was sad but it was better that I didn’t have a baby with somebody I didn’t want to be with. It was a traumatic time and I still don’t know why it happened. It could have been the stress I was under, we don’t know.”
So to what does Kelly attribute her misfortune with men? “They’ve all been on their asses when I met them. They’ve not had a career or they were at the end of one career and trying to start something else.
“I met them all at not a very good time for them and that’s my fault for being nurturing, for being like Mary Poppins.”
You sense that she has been taken for granted throughout her relationships. “They were all either in debt, had no job, or were figuring out what to do. Jason was at the end of his career as an athlete when I met him and wanted to be an actor.
“Thom had just broken his neck and was finishing up being an athlete. Danny was just starting his career and Billy was at the end of his movie career. I tried to help them and give them encouragement.”
Despite the many setbacks, Kelly, 34, is determined to put right the wrongs of her TV career so far. Although she doesn’t have fond memories of her first major television job on an ailing Big Breakfast, she keeps in contact with her co-presenters.
“I still see Lord Ali and Charlie Parsons. They live in Kent and always invite me to their parties.” She doesn’t harbour much regret, going on to say: “Maybe I wasn’t rubbish, but having me perceived as rubbish made a much better story. The rise and fall is always better, isn’t it?”
Now working for Peter Robb at Warner Brothers and having starred in movies such as Piranha 3D, Brook feels her career is in the hands of the right people to move forward.
“Peter’s someone I’ve got respect for. He’s the person who put The Cosby Show on television and made interracial families acceptable in America. You want to feel you’re part of something that’s got substance. I’m very happy where I am!”
The Big Breakfast may not have gone to plan, but Kelly won legions of fans for her 2007 performance on Strictly Come Dancing – during which she had to deal with the death of her father – capping a successful transition from model to on-screen presence. Despite the adversity she has faced, Kelly remains a favourite with the British public, proving that girls from Kent are made of sterner stuff. n
Close Up, The Autobiography by Kelly Brook is out now in hardback, at www.amazon.co.uk.