Singer-songwriter Kate Nash, 23, lives in east London with her boyfriend
Ryan Jarman, 30, singer with The Cribs. Gemma Cairney, 25, is a DJ on Radio
1Xtra. She lives in London with her singer boyfriend, Jordan Smith, 25. She
and Kate have been friends for five years.
“When Kate won her Brit Award in 2008 for Best Female Artist, I was so proud
of her. I was working as a stylist at a video shoot for singer Duffy when
Kate texted, ordering me to come and celebrate. I didn’t have the cab fare,
but she insisted on paying.
I’ll never forget having to scurry up the red carpet to find Kate, who was
with Kelly Osbourne. Dragging her aside, I got £25 from her to pay the taxi
driver, and then we partied until the early hours. When it was all over we
went back to her hotel and jumped on the bed for ages.
Kate and I have been really good friends for five years. We’re both former
Brit School pupils and had mutual friends, but it wasn’t until we both
auditioned for a place at the Guildhall School of Music & Drama in
London and had to hang out for a whole day together that we really got
Neither of us got a place, but after that day we hung out all summer. It was
almost like a love affair!
Kate was living in Harrow, north London, with her family, and I rented a flat
in east London so she always used to stay over.
I worked as a tequila girl in a local bar at the time, but I’d pretend to be
ill so I could leave early to see Kate’s gigs.
I knew she was going to be huge, she’s so talented. But the best thing is that
she’s so passionate about music and doesn’t care about being famous at all.
When I presented Frock Me for T4 in 2009, I had to interview Kate. It was
great having my mate on the show – but we were both professionals! Now I’m
presenting on 1Xtra and Kate travels with her music, we don’t spend much
time together. But we always catch up in the end. I know we’ll be friends
“I call Gemma my ‘super-fun friend’. I know that when I hang out with her
we’re always going to have a brilliant time. We’ve done many crazy things –
but I’ll never forget the night we went to the Emporio Armani Red Party at
Earls Court in 2006.
My career was just taking off and everything was a novelty. Leonardo DiCaprio
and 50 Cent were there, and Razorlight played. As the evening went on, we
drank more and ended up chasing Leo round the dance floor. Gemma finished
the evening sitting in Razorlight’s ice box with a bottle of champagne in
When we first started hanging out it was intense. We’d do everything together,
from going to the movies to drinking all night to debating life. Even when
our lives started to take different paths a few months later, it didn’t
matter – we made time for each other.
When Gemma landed her job at 1Xtra I was so happy for her – she has the
perfect balance of fun and seriousness and deserves success. It’s great to
know we’ll always be there to celebrate each other’s achievements.”
‘He keeps me on the straight and narrow’
Alex Jones, 33, co-presents The One Show on BBC1. Andrew Matthews-Owen, 33,
is a concert pianist and lives in London. They have been friends for 12
“I met Alex when we were hired as researchers by the same TV production
company in Cardiff. We were 21 and had just finished university. Alex had
turned up late to the job interview and I had a hangover. Neither of us
expected to get the job, but we both did!
We were like chalk and cheese – I’m organised, Alex is chaotic – but we
clicked. A case of opposites attract.
Alex was sacked about three times because she was always late. But she kept
coming back the next day as if nothing had happened and they let her.
When I moved to London we stayed in touch and I was there for her when she got
the job on The One Show. It was a huge upheaval for her – she’d lived in
Wales all her life. I saw her a lot during her first few months in London.
When she told me she’d got the job, I said it was long overdue. She was
shocked though – she knew she was up against big names so she didn’t think
she’d get it. But Alex is such a fun, chatty, polite person, it was about
time someone recognised her talent.
She can be ditzy, but incredibly thoughtful. She comes to my piano concerts
and sits there with a face that says: ‘What is this?’ but she always
congratulates me afterwards. She has time for me, no matter what.”
“From the moment we met at a TV production company it was chaos – and he did
all the work while I did nothing! The first day, we set the alarm off in the
boss’ house because I put the wrong code in. Then we went to record in an
opera singer’s house and accidentally smashed his family photos with the
But somehow, Andrew keeps me on the straight and narrow, especially since I
moved to London.
I was overwhelmed when I got the job on The One Show and he sat me down and
said: ‘I’ll hunt for flats with you, it’s all going to be fine. I’ll be with
you every step of the way.’ I know I could call Andrew in the middle of the
night and he’d be there for me.
But he’s also the most ridiculous person I know. He’s a classical pianist and
hasn’t got any sense of what a full-time job entails. He’s a law unto
himself. And while he’s handsome, Andrew’s gay, so there’s never a chance of
a physical attraction.
It is handy having a gay best friend to give a male perspective. He’ll always
give me an honest opinion on new boyfriends. When he says: ‘He’s lovely, but
I think there is someone else out there for you,’ it’s time to move on.
Andrew’s taught me you can’t take friendship for granted. He’s like my older
brother and sister in one.”
‘She helped me beat my anorexia’
TV presenter Kate Thornton, 38, lives in London with her fiancé Darren, 40,
and their son Benjamin, two. Claire Forrest, 37, works in publishing and
lives in Cheltenham with her husband Neil, 37, and their three children,
Zac, six, Ines, four and Jude, seven months. The pair have been friends for
“The first time I spoke to Kate was in the school playground. We were 11 years
old and some boys had grabbed sanitary towels out of her bag and were
throwing them around. I decided to check that she was OK and from then on we
Then at 14, I noticed Kate wasn’t eating much and looked very skinny.
Our other friend Clare and I wrote a letter to her mum, knowing she would do
something about it. We were Kate’s best friends, we could see something
wasn’t right. Kate was furious, but when she got treatment for anorexia and
bulimia we knew we’d done the right thing.
When Kate left Cheltenham to study journalism in London, I was sad to see her
go, but we’d meet up at weekends. Then she became the editor of Smash Hits
magazine, which we used to love! Seeing her on TV, on Loose Women and The X
Factor, people are intrigued by the fact I have a famous friend, but to me
she’s the same old Kate.
We’re both busy working mums now, but that doesn’t stop us talking almost
every day. If we’ve got the kids with us we’ll spend a day at the park, then
once they’re in bed we order in Japanese food and have a natter over a glass
When I married Neil, Kate made the loveliest speech. She said: ‘The term best
friend is thrown around loosely but that is what we are. There hasn’t been a
cough, spit or detail of each other’s lives that we haven’t lived, talked,
laughed or cried through together.’ It had the whole room in tears, but it
was so true. Kate really is the best friend a girl could have.”
“Being friends isn’t just about good times, it’s about making tough calls and
saying things the other person might not want to hear, but needs to. And I
always get that with Claire. When she wrote that letter to my mum about my
eating disorder, deep down I was relieved. I was exhausted by it all and
ready to be found out. At home, I could hide it by wearing baggy clothes,
but at school she saw my skinny frame as I changed for games and watched me
leave lessons to purge in the toilets. It must have taken real courage for
Claire to get me help; that’s what real friends do.
We’ve been through everything together: sickness, health, make-ups, break-ups,
husbands and babies. We’ve done it all. Nobody will ever know us as well as
we know each other.
If it wasn’t for Claire, I would never have got together with Darren. I met
him in Ibiza in 2004 and once we got home, he sent me a text. I was going to
ignore it, but Claire insisted I reply, and now we’re engaged. It wasn’t
until I had Ben that I realised what an amazing mum Claire is. Looking back,
I wish I’d helped her more. Now I realise how tired she must have been and I
feel a little guilty.
I still cringe when I think of those boys in the playground, but if they had
left me alone, Claire might never have come over and spoken to me. My
friendship with her is one of the most important relationships in my life.
She’s family as far as I’m concerned.”
‘When Frank and I split, Nicola was my rock’
Elen Rivas, 36, lives in London with her two daughters, Luna Coco, five,
and Isla, three. Nicola Moore, 38, an interior designer, lives in Windsor
with her husband Mark, 45, and their daughter, Scarlett, five. They have
been friends for six years.
“I met Nicola through my ex-boyfriend, footballer Frank Lampard, six years
ago. She lived down the road from me in Chelsea and we had our first child
within weeks of each other. I started hosting ‘baby days’, where I’d invite
about 20 friends and their children to my house for a get-together. Nicola
always came, and it was comforting having another mum to talk to about
sleepless nights and breastfeeding.
While our initial bond was the children, we soon discovered we had much more
in common. Nicola is just as bonkers as me, and it’s refreshing to meet
somebody who completely gets my wacky sense of humour.
We’re certainly not afraid to be silly. If we go to the cinema together, we’ll
end up having a popcorn fight, and if we’ve had a few glasses of champagne,
we’re likely to start belting out tunes. I feel totally carefree when we’re
But, while we can have a laugh, we’re also there for each other during the
tough times. When Frank and I split in November 2008, after seven years
together, Nicola was my rock. It really helped that she was never more than
a phone call away.
She’d often come over with Scarlett and stay for the night. After we put the
kids to bed, we’d curl up on the sofa in our pyjamas, drink our favourite
liquorish tea and talk until the small hours.
Nicola’s a great listener and full of insightful advice. She taught me that
when one door closes another one opens. We both believe in the power of
positive thinking, and share affirmations and self-help books.
I feel lucky to have a friend who’s so supportive. When I performed on Dancing
On Ice, she was in the audience cheering with my girls. They’d even made a
banner that read: ‘Come on Elen, you sexy señorita’ which matched the
colours of my outfit!
Our children are just as close as we are. It makes me laugh when I watch them
whispering and giggling together. They are totally our ‘mini-mes’!
I count myself so lucky that I met Nicola. I couldn’t imagine getting through
the last few years without her.”
“When I first met Elen, I knew we’d become close friends. She’s good fun and I
love her sarcastic sense of humour. She’s also really down to earth and full
of great advice.
Elen is always motivating me to do new things. She’s inspired me to run the
London Marathon this year, for the charity Wellbeing of Women. Last April,
after only six weeks of training, she completed it in just over five hours.
I was so proud when I watched Elen perform on Dancing On Ice. When she came on
to the rink, I felt so nervous for her – my stomach lurched! I didn’t think
the programme did her justice. They made her out to be high maintenance, but
she’s actually the opposite.
It’s such a shame she went out. The public would have loved her if they’d got
to know her. I certainly do! I love her to bits – she’s such a big part of
‘On screen we’re cousins, but in real life we’re more like sisters’
Actress Gemma Merna, 26, lives in Liverpool with her fiancé Ian Minton, 28,
a property developer. She plays Carmel McQueen in Hollyoaks. Jorgie Porter,
23, is single and also lives in Liverpool. She plays Carmel’s cousin Theresa
in Hollyoaks. They’ve been friends for two years.
“What I love about Jorgie is that I can always go to her when I need cheering
up. If I’m in a bad mood, she will always make me smile.
When she joined Hollyoaks two years ago it must have been quite scary. She was
fairly shy and quiet which I liked – she didn’t come in with all guns
blazing and try to be friends with everyone. Of course, it wasn’t long
before we all fell in love with Jorgie.
But it was during my 25th birthday party in October 2009, when I watched her
really let her hair down and have a good dance, that I realised she was a
keeper as a friend. She looked so carefree and fun – I knew I had to have
her in my life and now I can’t ever imagine not being her mate.
We both have quite comedic roles in Hollyoaks, but in December 2009 we were
told about the storyline where it’s revealed that Theresa was behind
Carmel’s husband, Calvin’s murder. It was such a shocking twist that we were
both a bit taken aback by it, but doing those dramatic scenes day in and day
out brought us even closer together.
Even though I’m engaged I still haven’t sorted out a wedding date, but one
thing I do know is that Jorgie will be a bridesmaid. She has to be!”
“Gemma is like a big sister to me. She feeds me biscuits when I’ve forgotten
to have breakfast and is always there when I need advice.
The first time I met her I was in awe – I couldn’t believe I was standing next
to Carmel McQueen! She was so gorgeous too, I couldn’t take my eyes off her.
I can still remember our first conversation. She started talking about her two
St Bernard dogs as if they were her children. She was so gushy about them I
knew that she must be a lovely person.
When I split up with my boyfriend of two years last September, it was Gemma I
turned to. Rather than take sides, she just told me to follow my heart.
She’s loyal beyond belief, very sensible and always says the right thing.”
‘I could trust her with my life’
Model and presenter Danielle Lloyd, 27, lives in London with her footballer
fiancé Jamie O’Hara, 24, and their six-month-old son Archie. Her cousin and
best friend Jodi Tennant, 25, is a medical secretary and lives in Liverpool.
“Danielle and I grew up together in Liverpool. Her dad is my mum’s brother so
there’s never been a time when we haven’t been in each other’s lives.
The longest we’ve been apart was in 2007 when she was in Celebrity Big Brother
for 26 days. It was hard being away from her and seeing the horrible
reaction when she came out of the house. I went to London as soon as she got
out and didn’t leave her side for weeks.
Danielle moved to London six years ago but, despite the distance, we’re
together every other weekend. I’ll go down and stay with her or she’ll come
up to Liverpool with Archie when Jamie is playing football.
After Archie was born Danielle suffered from post-natal depression. I made
sure I supported her and told her it was a natural thing she was going
through and that everything would be OK. I really admire her for being brave
enough to admit that she found it hard.
It was tough to watch her go through it. She’s fine now, but I’ll always be
there for her, no matter what happens.”
“I have so many happy memories of Jodi. We were always the ones to get dressed
up at family parties and have loads of fun. As we got older we’d go to pubs
and bars together and people always assumed we were sisters. We know so much
about each other and share everything – clothes, secrets, the lot. She’s not
just my cousin, she’s my best friend.
She’s one of the few people who can make me laugh, even if I’m in the middle
of crying my eyes out. The best nights are when it’s just the two of us
together – my sides hurt by the end of the evening.
Other friends have come and gone, and I‘ve had mates who turned out to be
back-stabbers, but I know Jodi will always be there for me. Together we’ve
been through thick and thin. I know I could trust her with my life.”
AS TOLD TO: CLAIE WILSON, NICK HARDING AND HANNAH BARR PHOTOGRAPHY: SPLASH
NEWS, XPOSURE, DAVID FISHER, LIME PICTURES