The lowdown on celebrity housemates

The final series of Celebrity Big Brother to be broadcast on Channel 4 started tonight.

The final series of Celebrity Big Brother to be broadcast on Channel 4 started tonight.

Here are profiles of the famous housemates:

Stephanie Beacham

Real Name: Stephanie Beacham

Age: 62

Best Known For: Tenko, Dynasty spin-off The Colbys, Bad Girls and a recent stint in Coronation Street. The list is almost endless.

Early Life: Beacham, from Barnet, in Hertfordshire, was born deaf in her right ear and with only 75% hearing in her left. The actress says she can hear perfectly well when people speak directly to her but struggles in social situations and sometimes gets nervous.

Beacham had hoped to become a ballerina but was rejected from the Royal Ballet School and instead decided to teach movement to deaf children.

She studied mime with Etienne Decroux in Paris but returned to the UK after she was sacked from her job as an au pair.

Beacham stumbled into acting and went on to study at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.

Career High: Landing the lead role in the 1985 ITV series Connie. Beacham had been seriously ill in hospital when she was given the scripts. In an interview with Hello magazine she said the role “helped me to go on living”.

Love Life: Divorced from actor John McEnery. The couple have two daughters, Phoebe, 35, and Chloe, 32.

Don’t Mention: The 1981 low-budget film Inseminoid. Beacham said she only took the science fiction flick, and other film roles around the same time, to support her young daughters after her marriage break-up.

Words Of Wisdom: On her role as Rose in Tenko: “I didn’t mind millions of viewers seeing me so unglamorous because I’ve got no real pride in my appearance. I couldn’t care less if I’m wearing gorgeous dresses like Connie or Sable (in The Colbys), or rags like Rose. The only thing I really care about is that people believe in my character.”

Heidi Fleiss

Real Name: Heidi Fleiss

Age: 44

Best Known For: Being arrested in 1993, and later jailed, for running a Hollywood prostitution ring which was reported to have many famous clients. She has so far refused to name them.

Early Life: Fleiss is the daughter of a Los Angeles paediatrician.

Career High: Selling the rights to her life story to Paramount Pictures in 2004 for a reported £3.1 million.

Love Life: Fleiss is reportedly engaged to Dennis Hof, whose legal brothels in Nevada were featured in the Cathouse documentaries.

Don’t Mention: Ex-boyfriend Tom Sizemore. The Saving Private Ryan actor was convicted in 2003 of assaulting Fleiss.

Words Of Wisdom: “I don’t think prostitution is a career... but maybe a little stepping stone?”

Lady Sovereign

Real name: Louise Harman

Age: 24

Best Known For: The singles Love Me Or Hate Me and Nine2Five (vs The Ordinary Boys)

Early Life: Raised on a council estate in Wembley, north-west London, she was influenced by her mother’s Salt-n-Pepa albums and inspired by the success of Ms Dynamite.

Aged 14, she began writing raps and uploading them to a So Solid Crew fan forum.

Harman met DJ Frampster online and they started uploading sets online as the garage/grime duo Heavy Like Dat.

Career High: Meeting Jay-Z, then president of record label Def Jam, in 2005. He asked her to perform freestyle and she was immediately signed, although later left the label.

Love Life: Single

Don’t Mention: The night she spent in a Brisbane police cell in September after spitting in the face of a nightclub bouncer. The rapper pleaded guilty to assault and to being drunk and disorderly.

Words Of Wisdom: On Big Brother: “I always end up watching it and getting a little bit addicted.”

Katia Ivanova

Real Name: Ekaterina Ivanova

Age: 21

Best Known For: Being Rolling Stone Ronnie Wood’s ex-girlfriend.

Early Life: Moved to London from Kyrgyzstan at the age of three with her parents Sergei and Irina.

Career High: Meeting Ronnie Wood while waitressing at a West End bar in 2008. Wood later left his wife Jo.

Love Life: Ivanova was dating model Dan Turner, 23, but the couple are reported to have broken up. She split from Wood, 62, last month following a series of rows. On December 22, Wood was cautioned for common assault after attacking her in a street in Claygate, Surrey, on December 2.

Don’t Mention: Alcohol. Ivanova said the relationship broke down when Wood hit the bottle. His drunken criticism made her feel worthless and she self-harmed, she said in an interview with The Sun newspaper.

Words Of Wisdom: On the split with Wood: “We would have ended up killing each other. It would have been like Sid and Nancy. I think the violence would definitely have escalated,” Ivanova told The Sun.

“I can’t believe one man turned me into the wreck I became. There is no way I am ever going back to Ronnie.”

Nicola T

Real Name: Nicola Tappenden

Age: 27

Best Known For: Glamour modelling, but also runs online clothing shop Delicious Couture which raises money for Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity, The Eve Appeal and Help For Heroes.

Early Life: Tappenden grew up in Croydon, Surrey, and went to Shirley High School.

Career High: Winning The Sun’s first Page 3 idol competition in 2002. She went on to play a red light district girl in the 2005 film Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo.

Love Life: Tappenden is engaged to Crewe Alexandra midfielder Simon Walton, 22, and the couple have a one-year-old daughter, Poppy.

Don’t Mention: Bobby Zamora. The couple dated for two years but split up after she said he had cheated on her. Tappenden appeared on ITV2’s Wags Boutique while dating the West Ham and later Fulham striker.

Words Of Wisdom: To OK! magazine, about appearing on Wags Boutique: “Then after, I was recognised by young girls and women, rather than just men who look at you for your boobies. It’s been a nice change, having people look up to you because they want to wear what you’re wearing or because they like your hair. It’s much more rewarding.”

Dane Bowers

Real Name: Dane Bowers

Age: 30

Best Known For: Success with R&B boyband Another Level in the late 1990s.

Early Life: Bowers, from Croydon, Surrey, went to The Brit School for Performing Arts and Technology.

Career High: Another Level’s single Freak Me going to number one in 1998.

Love Life: Separated from his wife and agent Chrissy Johnston. Bowers has a son Kai, 12, with ex-girlfriend Emma-Jane North. Glamour model Katie Price, aka Jordan, is another ex.

Don’t Mention: Sophie Ellis-Bextor. The Spiller single Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love), featuring the singer, beat The Truesteppers single Out Of Your Mind, featuring Bowers and Victoria Beckham, to number one in 2000.

Words Of Wisdom: “I’d like to be remembered as one of the great singers Britain has,” while taking part in a Celebrity version of Come Dine With Me last year.

Vinnie Jones

Real Name: Vincent Jones

Age: 44

Best Known For: Being the hard man of British football.

Early Life: Jones was born on a council estate in Watford. He worked on a building site before starting to play football professionally at the age of 19. His football career started off with a brief stint at Wealdstone. He then played for Wimbledon FC, Leeds United, Sheffield United, Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers, as well as captaining the Wales team. Jones then began to concentrate on his acting career and has since starred in films such as Guy Ritchie’s Lock, Stock And Two Smoking Barrels and Gone In 60 Seconds.

Career High: As part of the ’Crazy Gang’ Wimbledon side, defeating Liverpool in the FA Cup in 1988.

Love Life: Married to Tanya. The couple have a son and a daughter.

Don’t Mention: Gazza. Jones once famously grabbed Paul Gascoigne’s testicles to distract him on the football pitch.

Words Of Wisdom: “I happen to have my own values, If I’m given a choice between going to a film premiere or going and catching a trout in a river I’d rather go and catch the trout.”

Stephen Baldwin

Real Name: Stephen Baldwin

Age: 43

Best Known For: Being the youngest of the Baldwin brothers. The others are actors Alec, Daniel and William “Billy” Baldwin.

Early Life: Born and raised in Massapequa, New York. Had a few small acting parts before landing a role in the 1988 film The Beast, playing a Soviet soldier in Afghanistan.

Career High: Playing Michael McManus in the 1995 film The Usual Suspects.

Love Life: Married to Brazilian graphic designer Kennya Baldwin.

Don’t Mention: The film Speed. Baldwin reportedly turned down the role of Jack Traven, which went to Keanu Reeves.

Words Of Wisdom: About becoming a born-again Christian after the September 11 attacks: “I had experiences that go beyond most people’s wildest dreams, and I can honestly look you in the eye and say the experience I am now having with Jesus Christ blows away everything I did before.”

Alex Reid

Real Name: Alex Reid

Age: 34

Best Known For: Going out with glamour model Katie Price, also known as Jordan.

Early Life: Aldershot-born Reid got into martial arts at the age of 14. Fighting under the name ’Reidenator’, Reid has made a name for himself as a cage fighter and has also trained in Vale Tudo, a combat sport with few rules.

He played Jason Cunliffe in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks between 2001 and 2002, and has had walk-on roles in films such as Eyes Wide Shut and Sliding Doors.

It was his relationship with Price, which started soon after her split from husband Peter Andre last year, which really launched him into the public eye.

Career High: Appearing in Katie Price’s ITV2 reality show What Katie Did Next.

Love Life: Dating Price.

Don’t Mention: Cross-dressing. Photos of Reid dressed up in women’s clothes were published in the papers last year.

Words Of Wisdom: On the reports of cross-dressing, Reid told the Daily Mirror: “Look, it’s a bit of fun. I don’t want to go to a supermarket dressed as a woman and I don’t want a sex-change. It’s something I do once in a blue moon.”

DJ Basshunter

Real Name: Jonas Erik Altberg

Age: 25

Best Known For: His 2008 dance hit Now You’re Gone.

Early Life: Altberg was born in Halmstad, Sweden. He started making music from his bedroom at his parents’ house at the age of 18.

He landed a recording contract with Warner Music in 2006, when he released his first single Boten Anna. This song stormed the Swedish charts and became the first Swedish-language song to reach number one in numerous other countries. He re-recorded the song as Now You’re Gone in 2007.

Now You’re Gone: The Album went straight to number one in the UK.

Career High: Now You’re Gone knocked Coldplay off the top of the UK charts and stayed at number one for five weeks.

Don’t Mention: School. Basshunter has talked of his schooldays being unhappy and claimed he was bullied for having Tourette’s syndrome.

Words Of Wisdom: On dealing with his Tourette’s, he told BBC Radio 1: “I’ve learned how to take control over it. You could spend a week with me, 24/7 and not know I have it.

“I’ve learned how to feel when it’s coming and push it back... and that took years of training.”


Real Name: Mark Althavean Andrews

Age: 31

Best Known For: His racy single The Thong Song.

Early Life: Baltimore-born Sisqo is the youngest of three children. Formed R&B group Dru Hill with his school and college friends. He then pursued a solo career with the album Unleash The Dragon, which included the 2000 hit The Thong Song. The album went five times platinum.

He has also had roles in films including Get Over It with Kirsten Dunst and Snow Dogs with Cuba Gooding Jr.

Career High: Being nominated for three Grammy Awards in 2001.

Don’t Mention: The Dru Hill line-up. The band has been subject to various line-up changes and break-ups over the years, including a notable reunion in 2008 which ended mid-interview when one band member announced live on air he was quitting.

Words Of Wisdom: “Artists are afraid to say who their influences are because they fear they’ll be put in the shadow of that artist. Not me. When I get an idea from somebody, I straightaway say, ’I took it from them’.”

More in this section

Click and connect: 100 places in Munster to shop locally this Christmas


We want to help you to connect with the people you love, but may not see, this Christmas.  Every Saturday, in the weeks leading up to Christmas, we will publish your messages in print and online, starting November 28.

Say it here, in the Irish Examiner.