Ian Monk: The parallel world of Katie and Peter

It was always going to take something spectacular to displace the death of Jade Goody as the celebrity story of the decade. Step forward, with all the implausible inevitability of the reality age, Katie Price, aka Jordan, and Peter Andre to announce the break-up of their marriage.

Ian Monk
Ian Monk

In their world of smoke and mirrors, who can tell if it is genuine? Quite possibly, even the sainted Peter and his wilful wife, whose shenanigans with her married dressage coach apparently caused the split, aren’t entirely certain whether it is real or reality.

After all, the union was nurtured in the fake environment of a reality TV show. Despite obvious mutual affection, the TV cameras have always been the third party in a marriage sustained by the oxygen and riches of publicity. Bereft of them, some may question whether the marriage would have survived its three-and-a-half years, or even happened in the first place.

Reality, as shrewd publicists know, creates its own parallel world. Certainly, the plea for privacy in the announcement of the break-up was risible, particularly at a time when reputation managers and lawyers are making genuine progress in securing tighter rights of privacy for those who truly want and deserve it.

Recent legal rulings have specifically restricted the ability of paparazzi to hound Amy Winehouse, Sienna Miller and Lily Allen. Stars are gradually gaining the right to live relatively normal private lives in the UK.

Faux pleading only brings the concept of privacy into disrepute. Within days of the split, intimate pictures of Katie revisiting the couple’s Maldives honeymoon villa were splashed across the tabloids, which reported the attempts of Katie’s new PRO to broker a six-figure deal for more revealing pictures. The hypocrisy of the plea for privacy was exposed.

The endorsement of celebrity brands can create huge wealth through media exposure. But publicists need to be aware of the perils of pushing popular credi­bility too far. Stories of Katie and Peter back together may just inspire the audience to smash the mirror rather than accept the mirage they are invited to see in it.

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