The latest saga in the soap opera that is Katie and Peter


IT BEGAN IN the jungle and ended with a cry of “Get me out of here!” This week, five years after their eyes met over a big bowl filled with creepy-crawlies, former Page Three model Katie Price aka Jordan and former pop star Peter Andre have announced they are to split, writes KEVIN COURTNEY

That’s right, the tabloids’ favourite celebrity couple (after Brad and Angelina, Posh and Becks, and Amy and Blake, of course) are to go their separate ways, ending a four-year marriage that’s had more ups and downs than Katie’s famously pneumatic boobs.

If Katie ’n’ Pete can’t stay the course, what hope is there for the rest of us? Price and Andre, whose rocky relationship has played out in the glare of TV cameras and on the front pages of the tabloids, and who have never shied away from the spotlight, have requested that the media respect their privacy “at this difficult time”.

The media – tabloids and broadsheets alike – have responded by splashing the couple over as many column inches of space as they can spare, and picking over the lurid details surrounding the break-up. They needn’t bother – viewers will probably get all the dirt in the latest episodes of their reality TV series, a fly-on-the-wall show on ITV2 which follows the couple through their daily lives. Since the split was announced last Monday, ratings for the show have jumped up by 40 per cent, leading some to wonder if the whole break-up was just a publicity stunt.

But anyone who has watched the couple bickering on their TV series, or sniping at each other during their recent appearance on Graham Norton’s chat show (she slagged off his sexual prowess), will know that the relationship – already built on shaky ground – was really starting to crumble. Forget the bushtucker trials – living with Jordan must have tested Andre’s survival skills to the max.

Peter and Katie famously met on the set of I’m A Celebrity . . . Get Me Out Of Here!in 2004. Andre, an English-born Aussie of Greek extraction, had already become a footnote in pop history, his 1990s chart hits, Mysterious Girl, Flava and I Feel You, all but forgotten by the record-buying public.

Price’s star, meanwhile, was firmly on the rise; she was, at the time, better known as Jordan, the UK’s most famous glamour model whose breast enhancements made her a fantasy doll figure for the beer-and-balti brigade. Jordan had previously dated footballers Teddy Sheringham and Dwight Yorke (with whom she had a child, Harvey), GladiatorsTV star Ace aka Warren Furman, boyband star Dane Bowers and singer Gareth Gates.

When Andre clocked Katie, his hunter instincts took over, and he spent most of the competition trying to win over this voluptuous wildcat. They began dating after the series ended, and had a lavish wedding at Highclere Castle in Hampshire, a sort of end-of-the-pier imitation of Posh ’n’ Becks’ nuptials. Kerry Katona was the bridesmaid. They went on to have two children, Junior and Princess Tiaamii.

To cash in on his renewed fame following I’m A Celebrity . . .Andre re-released his 1996 hit Mysterious Girl, which went straight to number one. He then released a new single, Insania, which he’d written in the jungle while courting his wife-to-be. Meanwhile, Jordan reverted to being Katie Price and continued to build up her personal wealth, which is now estimated to be more than £40 million (€45 million). She published her first autobiography, Being Jordan,and found herself an unlikely role model for women, who flocked to her book signings. She has published two more autobiographies, Jordan: A Whole New World(about her wedding and family life with Andre) and its follow-up, Pushed to the Limit.

She has also published two novels, both ghostwritten, and two series of children’s books – Katie Price’s Perfectly Plastic Poppadomsand Mermaids and Pirates(featuring a mermaid named Katie and a pirate named Peter). She has tried her hand at pop music – alas, this is one area where she definitely doesn’t have the midas touch. She competed to represent the UK in the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005, but was beaten by Javine.

She released an album of duets with Andre entitled A Whole New World, the proceeds going to charity. Let’s be kind and say it wasn’t quite Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. Far from reigniting his musical career, Andre found himself playing full-time foil to his wife’s mercurial moods.

But Price also had her own crosses to bear. Her eldest son, Harvey, fathered by footballer Dwight Yorke, is blind and has autism, and Price herself had a tumour removed from her finger in 2003. Two years ago, she underwent surgery to reduce the size of her overinflated breasts.

What caused the break-up will soon be laid bare for TV viewers, but it seems to have been a combination of jealousy, mistrust and enforced celibacy. Andre complained that he had been banned from having sex with his wife while she trained for this year’s London Marathon. She accused him of infidelity, saying his lovemaking had “changed”.

Andre was incensed by pictures showing his wife canoodling with a man at a disco – he turned out to be gay dressage rider Spencer Wilton, who was already in a same-sex relationship.

And then there was the third person in the relationship – Jordan. Andre says his wife has a Jekyll and Hyde personality, although which one’s Jekyll and which one’s Hyde isn’t always clear.

Paddy Power bookmakers are taking odds on Price and Andre signing a deal with OK!magazine to document their emotional reunion. And who’d bet against puppy-dog Peter crawling back to his mistress, his tail wagging behind him? This soap opera ain’t over yet, folks.