She’s had her emotions kicked about from Chigwell to Brentwood. No wonder it’s not just Mark Lauren Goodger is kissing goodbye to…
Someone’s ears must have been burning, because right on cue, Lauren Goodger’s
“See what I mean?” she says holding up the screen to show “Mark” flashing up.
It’s Mark Wright, of course, Lauren’s ex and the topic of our conversation
for the last few minutes. It’s 24 hours before he’s due to fly to the I’m A
Celebrity! jungle (and mainstream consciousness), but Lauren’s having none
of it. Instead, she tosses the phone to one side, and ignores him.
“It’s all him,” she says defiantly.
“He can’t let go. He doesn’t know what he wants.”
Whether or not you watch The Only Way Is Essex – the hit ITV2 “constructed
reality” soap – it’s almost impossible not to have heard about the ongoing
Lauren and Mark love saga.
From gossip magazines to the internet, and even national newspapers, the
public has lapped it up – feasting on the slanging matches, the break-ups,
the make-ups, the short-lived engagement, the shameless bed-hopping (er,
Mark’s) the tears and the heartache (mostly Lauren’s).
And these last few months have been more exhausting, more emotionally fraught
than anything that’s gone before.
In the name of entertainment, Lauren has had to witness her now ex-fiancé, the
man she’d devoted a decade of her life to (yep, 10 years. You’d think she’d
mention that more…) hook up with and pretty much declare his love for
co-star Sam Faiers, who Lauren had considered a friend, and who hogged the
headlines herself recently after she was beaten up by a girl gang following
a night out.
Lauren visibly crumbled at the sight of Mark and Sam kissing, suddenly
vulnerable and exposed as she sobbed uncontrollably in front of the cameras.
The upheaval and turmoil, not to mention the resulting barrage of abuse from
Twitter’s cowardly keyboard crusaders, who revel in taking sides over TOWIE
dramas, have left Lauren, 25, physically exhausted and mentally fragile, to
the point where she’s on the verge of quitting the show before filming for
series four gets underway in the new year.
And who could blame her?
“In the beginning it was a real laugh. We had fun. But this series has been
really tough, and the last few weeks were probably the hardest of my life.
There has been so much drama and I’ve laid myself bare. It’s horrible going
through any break-up, but it’s even worse doing it in front of the cameras
and having everyone judge you. Everyone’s got an opinion.
“I’ve had people on Twitter calling me fat and desperate and a c***. It’s
disgusting. You try to ignore the abuse, but it can be extremely hurtful.
“I haven’t killed anyone. I’m a girl who fell in love and had her heart
“Obviously I knew things had gone on between Mark and other girls inthe past,
but I’d never had to watch it happen. I’d never had to see him kiss another
girl, especially not one I’m supposed to be friends with. Seeing that just
broke me. It made me weak again. Watching it back, I cried my eyes out all
“I came into this series feeling strong, confident and good about myself. I’ve
left it drained, tired, upset and with my self-esteem in pieces.
“I don’t know if I can put myself through that again. Maybe it’s time for me
to move on and leave TOWIE behind.
“I’m absolutely terrified about the prospect of quitting, because it’s been
such a huge part of my life, but I’ve just turned 25 and I think now is the
time to consider other opportunities and see what else is out there for me.”
Lauren Goodger is a curious creature – and full of contradictions.
For someone so used to having every spit and cough filmed for TV, she is in
reality deeply uncomfortable in front of the Fabulous cameras as we peel
away the false lashes and wipe off the foundation, replacing it with a much
more subtle look.
She poses awkwardly, self-conscious in our ’40s-inspired clothes, which are a
million miles away from her usual spangly, sparkly, super-tight,
barely-there Essex get-up. And she makes no secret of the fact that she
loathes the stripped back, modest make-up we’ve given her for the cover
shoot, struggling to even raise a smile when anyone compliments or reassures
her about the new image.
As soon as the last picture is taken, she immediately scrubs it off and starts
her face again from scratch, frantically plastering on huge quantities of
slap in a way that’s quite astonishing to watch.
“I just feel more confident like this,” she explains with a shrug.
But it’s got to be more than that. When you get under Lauren’s skin and strip
away the caked-on layers of foundation and fake tan, she’s riddled with
insecurities. The war paint is her armour.
And she’s going to need it if she walks away from TOWIE – as she’s likely to
head straight into battle for column inches with her ex.
Because Mark, 24, definitely won’t be returning for series four.
He gave up that chance when he signed his I’m A Celebrity! contract to jet off
down under to eat kangaroo penis and wallaby testicle all in pursuit of fame
beyond the A12.
Will his absence have any sway on Lauren’s decision?
“No,” she says firmly.
“I’m going to decide this on my own. I’ve got various offers I’m looking at,
I’ve got my line of beauty products, which is doing really well – I’m hoping
to open a shop soon, too, and wouldn’t have time to think about that if I
was back working 12-hour days filming for TOWIE. I was always having to
cancel meetings because of commitments to the show.”
Quite what Lauren plans to do is unclear, but rumours abound that she hopes to
land a recording contract and launch a pop career…
“I’m open to anything,” she says vaguely, while daubing thick black liner
across her eyebrows – preparation for a night out after our shoot.
‘It’s time for me to see what else is out there’
“Life’s about trying new things, so I’ll give anything a go.”
No one – least of all Lauren – could have predicted the phenomenal success of
TOWIE and how much the lives, loves and boob jobs of a bunch of ordinary,
tittle-tattling Essex types would capture the nation’s imagination.
“It’s been a lot of pressure but it’s changed our lives for the better.
There’s so much I want to do and TOWIE has opened doors for me. I’d never
“But thinking about walking away feels liberating, really refreshing. It’s a
big step for me but if I don’t do it I’ll never know.
“I want my independence back again, I want to be in control. It’s a big world
out there and I know it could go either way for me. I’ve just got to hope
whatever I do, it pays off.”
Lauren remains magnanimous towards the producers who toyed with her very real
pain by placing her in situations they knew would cause maximum distress.
The swear-fest of a row in the penultimate episode of series three between
Lauren, Mark and Sam was gripping to watch, but entirely engineered for our
amusement by the ever-meddling TOWIE bosses.
“The producers sat Mark and his family on the table in front of me and the
girls, and it suddenly felt really uncomfortable,” says Lauren.
“Then Mark was sent over for a chat and when I saw him coming towards me my
heart started racing.
“I maintained my dignity for that whole conversation, but Mark’s total lack of
respect by going out with Sam, and the way he flaunted it in front of me,
made me angry. I don’t want to row with people, but then Sam’s sister Billie
started shouting her mouth off about me in the background, which the cameras
didn’t pick up on, and Sam called me a w*****.
“I watched that episode back in my flat on my own, and it was very upsetting.
I know I’ll always have the support of my family, but it was still really
hard seeing all the horrible messages coming in on Twitter.”
Mark her out
When the time came to film the highly-charged final episode, screened last
week, Lauren had had enough. She steeled herself, determined not to cry, and
told Mark: “I like you, but I don’t love you”. Slapdown!
“Doing my last scene with Mark was awful. He told me I meant the world to him
and I wished him good luck.
But I didn’t want to let my barriers down, I was scared of being upset. The
producers had said they wanted it to be very emotional, but I couldn’t let
‘I’m looking forward to finding someone who can make me feel
“Mark is a chapter of my life I will never forget, but it’s over now. I need
some time out to enjoy myself and see what it’s like out there on my own. In
the past I’ve always gone back to Mark, but not any more.”
Lauren is even thinking about meeting someone else. There’s no one on the
scene at the moment, but she’s not closed to the idea of having the odd
dalliance, and says she’s concentrating on forming friendships with men
“Am I looking? I’m always looking!” she laughs.
“But yeah, it would be lovely to find someone nice. Nice and hot, if possible!
A guy with his own career, good morals, who can make me laugh. I’m looking
forward to finding someone who can make me feel confident about myself
Whatever happens next and despite what has happened in the past, Lauren claims
that she won’t look back with regret.
“What’s the point? As long as you learn from your mistakes, how can you regret
“It’s been a roller coaster of emotions but I wouldn’t change a thing. I
really mean that.”
And with a toss of her hair, the make-up back with a vengeance, Lauren grabs
her bag and totters outside in a pair of ludicrously high heels. Ready to
face the world again.
- For Lauren’s Way products, visit