Let’s be honest, it was no surprise to read yesterday that Katie Price had been arrested after her BMW veered off the road at 6.20am in West Sussex.
Her life has been a metaphorical car crash over the past few weeks (see also, ‘months’ and ‘years’) so it was only a matter of time before a literal smash followed.
Katie and driving have been uncomfortable bed fellows historically so getting behind the wheel was never going to end well.
The former model was arrested at the scene, and this morning was charged with driving without third party insurance and driving while disqualified. If she’s found guilty, she could be facing actual jail time, an unlimited fine and a potential ban from getting back behind the wheel.
Reports say that Katie was taken to hospital following the crash, but no other vehicle or person was involved.
But would jail time really be of any benefit to Katie? I’m not disputing that there needs to be some element of punishment if the law has been broken. No one – even celebrities – should be allowed to get back on the road with zero consequences if they’ve broken the law and put people at risk. But maybe everyone needs to remember the #BeKind hashtag that was floating around after Caroline Flack’s tragic death.
There is no denying that Katie’s life has been a tough one. In the last few weeks alone she’s hit the headlines for allegedly being physically attacked, and she revealed how she can’t visit her disabled son, Harvey, as often as she would like.
She’s also dealing with a terminally ill parent. That’s a lot for one person to suck up. Whatever your views are on Katie’s troubles and whether they are self-inflicted, the simple truth is that it is beyond sad to watch someone self-destruct so publicly.
When I see KP, I see an unwell woman who needs serious professional help and some compassion instead of people screaming ‘throw the book at her’ on social media.
Her worried family took to Instagram last night, asking people to respect Katie’s privacy ‘during this very difficult period in her life’. They went on to say that she is getting the help she needs and that they don’t expect sympathy but for the public to recognise that Katie is unwell. The message was signed off with a very important reminder about mental health: “Mental illness is not a personal failure.”
Katie very obviously has her demons and stints in various rehab centres don’t appear to have helped, but adding a prison term to her already damaged mental health and depriving five kids of their mum surely isn’t the answer either?
And would everyone be yelling ‘throw away the key’ if it were a famous man behind that wheel? Who remembers when Ant McPartlin drove his Mini into a row of other cars while under the influence? Or England golden boy Jack Grealish steering his £80,000 Range Rover into two parked vehicles? Both men were banned, but spared jail. Not only that, but they’ve bounced back from their troubles and are more successful than ever.
Meanwhile we all remember what happened to Caroline after her arrest and trial by social media. Why are we so willing to forgive our male celebs for drinking misdemeanours, but not women?
There will be a lot of debate about what’s next for Katie Price but let’s keep that #BeKind energy going for a bit longer.