This is weird. Today I met Katie Price for the first ever time. She is small, pretty, vulnerable and of course like the Kim Kardashian of the UK, she's someone who has built her fame and fortune from being famous and from deliberately exposing her most private moments and images to the media. From the age of 17, Katie has been public fodder. Just still a teenager, there was a tabloid readers' poll: should she or shouldn't she have a boob job? Would it enhance her? She became the ultimate consumer product - the body, the image, the life we, supposedly, would all like to buy. And yes. we have bought into her product big time. She is, not always happily, a product of our consumer, commercially obsessed age. She is a millionaire.
Ok, yes, she's wealthy on the back of such fame.
But she is also human.
I've never been able to even read the crap that's written about her everyday. Who cares about what nightclub she's frequenting? Who cares about whether her boobs are size X or Y? Who cares about anything she says or does? Who cares about who she's dating/marrying/having children with?
Well the answer is - millions. That in itself is a disturbing fact because, great mother as I suspect Katie is, she herself wouldn't want her own children to build their lives and aspirations on such stupid, false premises. She, I know, wants her kids to have real standards, and real lives, and real values.
One thing that stands out about Katie, from everything I have read, and deliberately tried not to read, is that she is a proud, instinctive and very good mum. When I put this to her the other day, she welled up.
"You've got five kids, haven't you?" she asked me. "Me too!"
And her bosom swelled - not with silicon but with pride.
No doubt. In her mind, even as the social media world was tweeting invasive and insulting stupidity, she knew that's what counts. Family.
Even her "best friend", she told me, was no longer that.
But family she understands. Her kids, paramount.
In 20 years time, I told Katie, what made you cry today, honestly, will not seem so terrible. You will wonder what on earth you got so upset about. I've been there. Horrendous headlines. Totally false accusations and nastiness. Hurtful then. Hogwash now.
Really, she asked? Honestly?
Cos all I want is to be happy. With my kids...
Hail Katie. I am totally with you on that one. I LOVE YOU FOR THAT.
One day, when they're all grown up and are surrounding you at the Christmas dinner table with love and loyalty, thats when you will really know who you are and how history has crafted your life. You're a mother who did the right thing, even when it was hard. You just kept going.
Katie's examining her own soul now. And don't make fun. She has a soul. She's a real person, a fragile human being for whom all of the "Loose Women" matriarchs feel a real and acute sense of protectiveness. It's a bit like Princess Diana in the 80s. Those who knew her wanted to give her some ordinary sense of protection and next-door type advice. Keep a grip on yourself, take the long view, don't be a victim. OMG if I had been able to advise Diana, (and if she had taken it) she'd be the matriarch of an "alternative court" waiting for the sheer power afforded her by the coronation of her first son. Can you imagine the exciting times we would have seen? I can only imagine how Prince Charles would squirm.
I liked Katie Price.
In my day, I told her, when they said anything horrid about me, I'd cry and I'd anguish. But then at least I could go on breakfast telly the next day and put things straight.
I even told her how once, Princess Di had said to me, "I so envy you that you can do that...!"
Well, said Katie. At least I can tweet. In my own words.
Yes, Katie. But Twitter (and other social media) takes its own toll. It's like you're on offer 24/7.
Mmm, she said. And went off to tweet.
Katie. You're a star in ways most of your fans don't even understand.
I watched you as you primped and preened in front of the ITV news photographer. Ever the star in yer nine inch stilettos. Pouting and proud.
Hey Katie. Hats off. Just keep it together girl, I thought as i padded past in my flats.
Katie is a real person to me now - not just a headline.
Katie is a "clan mother" or matriarch. Her image, her earning power, keeps the family. Literally. Even if you don't like her or what she stands for.
Hey, lets have some respect.