Kerry and Me: Kerry Katona hits rock bottom

Lynn Alleway is given exclusive assess to Kerry Katona’s home for her documentary, Kerry and Me. She begins by trying to sell the programme as a look at waning celebrity: “Kerry Katona is at rock bottom. The only stories the newspapers want are negative. What life is like as a celebrity when no-one wants you anymore.”

We’re treated to a rehash of Katona’s life for the last decade or so. Stuff that tabloid readers will already know by heart. Divorce from Brian McFadden, drink and drugs problems, horrible upbringing and that marriage to Mark Croft – a man universally reviled as a sponger and killer of Katona’s career. Or is that Katona’s Kareer?

I was expecting to see an insight into Katona that would bring on a degree of pity and empathy with her. But Alleway may be to Katona what Martin Bashir was to Michael Jackson.

Within minutes of starting, Kerry has admitted to Alleway that she’s planning to dump Mark Croft. She gives some reasons that seem plausible, given the various news reports about him bleeding her dry, etc. But then Kerry talks at length about the hurt and pain her mother caused when she deliberately sold stories to the tabloids.

Hypocrisy

Now, in a brazen display of hypocrisy, once Kerry has told Mark she wants to split up, she sneakily arranges to sell her story to the Sunday papers. For real. She slopes off to Tenerife with one of her children in tow, as Mark minds the others back home – oblivious to the fact that she’s stabbing him in the back!

Prior to all this, she claimed the break-up was because he was “holding her back”, and that she wanted a better life and he couldn’t deliver. Fair enough, you think – he’s a small-time guy trying to sell fruit machines in pubs on the promise of a personal appearance from Kerry.

If the documentary had been ordered in a different way, the hypocrisy would have been more pronounced: show the News Of The World drug sting that showed Katona snorting coke in her own bathroom. The betrayal of the tabloids and their hunger for negative stories about her. Then, oblivious to the fact that the divorce might be hurting her own kids, she runs to the papers who exposed her as a druggie and sells a story in the hopes of getting one positive article written about her. How do the tabloids repay her? With some choice follow-up claims that she’s been seeing another man.

Fame Junkie

From my point of view, this is an expose on the self-destructiveness of the fame addict. Katona wants press. Knows the paparazzi who camp outside her house by name (just like Britney Spears). Even her kids can identify the photographers who live beyond their front garden. Without a thought for her children’s’ well-being sells a story on what might be the biggest trauma of their childhoods. And yet will talk at length about her horrific upbringing.

What I saw tonight was a woman who couldn’t describe her career. What do you do for a living, Kerry? Er…publicity. She needs fame, clings to fame. Working the checkout as Iceland is beneath her somehow, but she’d be happy to advertise their vol-au-vents. If they ever gave her her job back. And she’s never read her own biography. She needs her ‘life coaches‘ to read it to her.

Croft is no better, but surprisingly good at working with the camera. He’s forthcoming about what’s going on, up to a point. But no sooner has he left the marital home, but he’s sold his own story. This is what you do in bizarro world, you sell your side of the story to the gossip rags.

There are disturbing scenes and heartbreaking scenes. There’s an odd little piece, just before Katona visits her mother, when Katona is filmed in a street talking to two guys in a car. She exposes her belly to them and one guy reaches out the window to touch it. Then the two get out of the car and Kerry shouts over to Alleway and tells her to stop filming. What was that about? No idea. But it was strange.

Watching the Katona/Croft household in the wake of the separation is sad. The kids are obviously hurt, their parents tense and irritable. For a former Mother Of The Year (yes, they really need to vet those parent of the year awards more thoroughly), what worries me is what we didn’t see on camera. Seriously. Most people watch their behaviour on programmes for broadcast. If she rambles to her kids “You think you have problems…?” on camera, what’s being missed here?

Don’t get me started on Brian McFadden though. There’s a Father Of The Year right there. He’ll ignite one of those “I’m going for custody” stories until the scandal dies down, then it’ll be back to the status quo. One day those kids will see all this footage and wonder why their father didn’t step in. Didn’t he care enough to do something about leaving them with a woman whose first priority is getting in the newspapers?

Epilogue

There’s a horrible little postscript to the documentary – Katona signs up with celebrity manager Claire Powell best known for being the mastermind behind Peter Andre and Jordan’s career revivals. It’s around this point that Katona distances herself from Alleway and sends her a text message to the effect that “You no longer form part of my future plans.”

And if you don’t believe that, Katona cuts off all contact with the producer. So Alleway turns up at her house and is given an excuse (she’ll be on the phone with Claire for an hour. An hour?) Alleway hangs around outside until Katona comes out – Katona shouts at her about turning up unannounced, a big difference from the benevolent “Welcome to my home” she got at the start and drives off.

Oh, and this is how she treats a woman – a documentary producer she barely knew – who she was happy to leave at home alone with her youngest child. I don’t know whether Alleway set out to produce a negative piece on Katona, or being shunned swung the editorial in that direction, but I came away feeling that someone needs to intervene with Kerry, stop this dysfunctional relationship with the tabloids and force her to focus on her life after fame.

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7 Comments

  1. Dara Hickey

    Kerry Katona needs a reality check. And she needs to move away. I wish she’d just give up with the tabloids to be perfectly honest – live her life and as you said Gerard, get on with what’s happening now, rather than try to suck some public interest after everything she’s been through. (my goodness, I actually sound sympathetic there)

    I bet you a pound to a penny no-one actually likes Kerry Katona now, but what they do like is reading and watching her blunders. I can assure you, no-one tuned in to ‘Kerry And Me’ becasue of admiration for Kerry.

  2. Rosie-Lee

    When I had finally pushed my bottom jaw back to connect with the top of my jaw, all I could think of was why those poor children were in that chaos.  The girls, particularly, seemed so lovely, and so confused.  I just hope it doesn’t affect them too much as they grow up, but sadly, I fear it will.   This programme really saddened me.

  3. Jane

    This is a well observed piece of writing.  You have highlighted the way in which this programme, possibly for the first time, shows how those so determined for fame will ruthlessly sell anyone out, including their own family.

    There is the persona that is deliberately created and sold to the the public – and then there is the TRUTH.  This programme showed the real Kerry Katona.  The Kerry appearing in the media now is a persona created by Claire Powell.  For Kerry you could read Katie Price or Peter Andre.

    I followed the comments of celebrity journalists on Twitter when this programme was airing.  They all said, “Oh but she has changed.  I have interviewed her, she is different now”.  NO SHE IS NOT.  She is exactly the same person as was portrayed in this sorry film.  The Kerry you see now has been manufactured, repackaged and resold to a gullible media and public by her handlers.

    And just what did Kerry do with those men in the car.  Was she scoring drugs or punters??

    As far as Brian McFaden is concerned, I have been waiting for some journalist to find out the real truth about him.  From sources in Australia I hear he frequents gay bars, and that he does not live with Delta Goodren.  Is she his beard??

  4. Lisa McGarry

    Jane I completely agree. The journalists spent the whole programme blasting Kerry then at the end waxed lyrical about how much she has changed. No one can change that drastically in 4 months! They just know a cash cow when they see one.

    And I hope that Brian McFadden is hanging his head in shame today…. his children will realise one day how badly he neglected them too…the poor wee mites!

  5. Lisa McGarry

    Jane I completely agree. The journalists spent the whole programme blasting Kerry then at the end waxed lyrical about how much she has changed. No one can change that drastically in 4 months! They just know a cash cow when they see one.

    And I hope that Brian McFadden is hanging his head in shame today…. his children will realise one day how badly he neglected them too…the poor wee mites!

  6. slaneyvalley

    I watched this programme (documentary) the other night and I’m not one for wanting to know about the likes of Kerry Katona, or Katie Price for that matter. Channel4 has some of the most amazing documentaries and the coverage it gave to this ‘Kerry and Me’ had me expecting to see (and even hoping) a changed (new) Kerry Katona or even the old Kerry from her Jungle days. What a big (massive) let down. She was (is) as brazen as her hard face looked and the way she treated her children in such a nonchalant manner had my heart crying out for them. The fact that she left the producer of the programme looking after one child whilst she went out was unbelievable. I realise that Mark Croft has used her for his own gains but I ended up having a small admiration for the fact that he looked after the kids whilst she stayed in bed feeling sorry for herself. On the other hand I also found Mark very annoying, especially when he ordered one of the children (the boy) to look for his shoes. He barked this demand at the child. And then the sight of the boy slowly walking down the stairs, sobbing to himself, left me hearbroken. Neither Kerry nor Mark are resposnsible parents. If Bryan Mc Fadden watched this programme he should Demand custody of his children straight away or is there a fear of a big court battle? I concluded that I don’t care what Kerry Katona or Mark Croft do with their lives but the children should be looked after as a number one priority. And I don’t mean dancing and singing in the kitchen to a song from the seventies while the children are getting ready for school or having their breakfast. Indeed alarm bells should be ringing at the social service department.

  7. justME

    I think she’s about as boring as the rest of the celebs- and about as ordinary as most people out there- lots of people sing in their houses- what’s singing got to do with being judgemental!! after all kerry’s just vocalising-she is a singer !!

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