There’s a new player in town attempting to break in to what Toby Young calls the celebritariat, the fame class. She is Sarah Symonds and she has had her moments in the spotlight before – an affair with Jeffrey Archer and an appearance on Oprah plugging her book Having An Affair? A Handbook For The Other Woman.
In the book, she discussed “a friend” who was having an affair with a foul-mouthed celebrity chef. Now, she has revealed that the “friend” was in fact herself and that she had been having a long-term, on and off affair with Gordon Ramsay. The ingredients of a story that should run and run, you might think? I’m not so sure.
The scenario of the kiss-and-tell hooker is a well-rutted field – remember David Mellor’s downfall at the hands of Antonia de Sancha and Rebecca Loos’ attempt to sell herself as the mistress of David Beckham? Both women were accepted into the media maelstrom of the celebritariat without a second thought. Not so with Sarah Symonds.
Her stab at fame is essentially a DIY job; she tried to find representation with Max Clifford but he passed up on the opportunity. There is, it seems, little appetite for a DIY Rebecca Loos at the moment, no secure place in the pantheon for kiss-and-tell mistresses.
What it boils down to is that, in these recessionary times, there seem to be a lot less blank chequebooks floating around just waiting for mouths to open. Added to that, we are currently seeing the public direct their ire at people who disrupt the status quo, as has happened with Jonathan Ross and Russell Brand’s lewd phone calls to Andrew Sachs.
I would suggest that the public response is likely to be less than rapturous towards Symonds. Certainly, since the story broke in the News of the World yesterday, there has been a welter of press pointing out the stoical response of Gordon Ramsay and his family. It was a classic display of marital strength from the chef and his family; they went shopping and posed, smiling, for the cameras One of their spokespeople was quoted as saying: “There is no comment to make at all. They had gone to Harrods for some Christmas shopping and I think to get some things for lunch. Everything is fine. Life is good and business is good.”
I would suggest that Symonds is going to have to work extremely hard to make her break into the celebrity classes. The fourth estate is likely to be concentrating its resources on bigger game for a while and the public clearly want celebrities who conform to the illusion of stability in these uncertain times. At this juncture, the woman who writes handbooks on how best to keep a married man and outs beloved celebrities as cheaters is much more likely to fall foul of the British public than the man who allegedly cheated, especially if his family stands with him.
Whether or not Ramsay and Symonds had an affair is beside the point; if she is going to achieve what she wants, then there is no doubt that Sarah Symonds has an extremely steep hill to climb.