I do try to refrain from celebrity name-calling but I have to admit a few ungodly adjectives came rushing from my mouth when I heard that Katie Price had marched poor old Alex Reid up the aisle this week.
Despite moving descriptions of the 22- minute ceremony and the Spearmint Rhino-hosted honeymoon, I found myself recoiling in incredulity at one of the dumbest and most exploitative Acts of Union in British history.
My first thought was for the victims of this chaotically opportunistic act of melodrama. And there’s no greater victim than the hapless Alex Reid (who was, remember, publicly dumped by an eye-rolling Price live on television two months ago).
Eyebrows were furrowed when Price first selected Reid as the replacement for her ex-husband Peter Andre. The cagefighter with the mottled face was not an obvious choice, certainly not a glamorous or even a C-list one. But watching him on TV recently I understood exactly why, for Katie Price, he was The One.
A simple soul with a good heart, an easily manipulated and undermined chap who regards himself as unworthy of his richer, more famous girlfriend, he is Peter Andre all over again — but without Andre’s recently improved self-esteem and awareness of Price’s shortcomings. His higher, more lucrative status as ‘Winner of Celebrity Big Brother’ sealed his fate. Price was having his dependence on her made official and binding.
Then there’s Andre himself. How he must shiver when he thinks back to the day his impressionable, inexperienced younger self fell for the pneumatic woman. It was probably exciting at first, but living with a woman whose sweet nothings were delivered with all the emotion of a Dalek must have been wearing.
Anyone who saw Price repeatedly belittle Andre on their ITV2 series will understand why he looked two foot taller after he left her. But leaving her meant leaving his beloved kids once a week as well, and now Andre has the pain of knowing not only that his undelightful ex-wife will go on influencing their children unchecked, but also that another man will be reading the bedside stories at night. His will be a lifetime of biting his tongue and learning to swallow the indigestible.
Some women avoid relationships for a long time after divorce, some find themselves falling in love again quickly. But almost all agonise for a long time before they bring a new man into the house. They do this because the influence of stability and continuity on a child’s long-term wellbeing is well known.
And because most mothers put the wellbeing of their offspring before the need to assuage panicky feelings of loneliness and uncertainty. But there’s none of that dreary martyrdom for this modern mum.
Which brings me to Katie Price herself, the ultimate product of all the least productive elements of popular culture. So much of her life, including her new marriage, is motivated by instant gratification, fear of solitude, self-obsession and materialism.
We keep being told she is a clever businesswoman but what’s clever about being prepared to do anything, and hurt anyone, to make money? There’s a coldness in her ruthlessness that is verging on the pathological, suggesting an inability to empathise with other human beings.
Her latest move is an act of embarrassing desperation but it is unlikely to be her last. In Katie Price’s case, no pull is stronger than the need to avoid her own, real self.