By Julie Mount in LA
Fabulous’ first encounter with LA phenomenon Courtney Stodden is, for
want of a better word, jaw-dropping.
The blonde bombshell totters across the lobby of a luxury Hollywood hotel
dressed in nothing but a tiny red, white and blue bikini and skyscraper
“stripper heels”. The male guests drool, their wives stare daggers.
But Courtney, all size 8 of her, doesn’t bat an eyelid. As the American
media’s latest obsession, she’s used to all eyes being on her,
and revels in the attention, pouting seductively at her many admirers.
The question is: who is this audacious girl who can bring a room to a
standstill? And why is she the hottest property the other side of the pond?
Her relationship status is just one clue. Although Courtney is just 17 (and
looks it in the flesh), she is already married – to Doug Hutchison, star of
The Green Mile, who, at 51, is a massive 34 years older than his bride. And
rather than live happily ever after in blissful obscurity, husband and wife
have openly (and some might say aggressively) publicised their love,
participating in racy photo shoots and baring all about their passionate
“God has blessed me with my soulmate and I’m in this forever,” she says
unapologetically. “Age is just a number.”
Along the way, as America’s best-known child bride, Courtney has picked
up tens of thousands of Twitter followers and appeared on some of the
biggest TV shows in the US to defend her age-gap marriage. Thanks in part to
her penchant for strolling around LA barely dressed, she is on the verge of
“Ever since I was a young girl I’ve loved being in front of the camera
performing,” says Courtney. “I’ve known since I was three that it was what I
wanted to do. Aged 12, I was making short films, by 15 I was writing music.
“I love being a celebrity. I’ll never be one of those people who
complain about the attention. Of course, it’s not always easy. Some women
can be pretty mean and I’ve been called a whore to my face, but
generally the response I get from people is good.”
Courtney says she’s a “model, actress and recording artist,” in that order,
but it’s her love of causing controversy, rather than her “talents” that
has secured her new-found fame.
A taste for scandal
From being kicked out of a celebrity family event in LA last October for
snogging Doug while wearing a pair of minuscule hot pants around children (“the
men loved it but the women were jealous”), to being banned from Facebook due
to “inappropriate sexual content” and releasing a provocative set of wedding
snaps, she admits she likes to provoke.
“I think it’s fun, I enjoy it,” she giggles.
But when Courtney claimed she was a virgin on their wedding night, and was
“aroused for 24 hours straight” during her honeymoon, it was like pouring
jet fuel on the fire. The American gossip mags loved it – and her infamous
star has been on the rise ever since.
“If people want to direct their negative energy towards me, that’s fine. But
it really doesn’t affect me. People are interested in my life, I’m happy to
share it with them. I’ve got nothing to hide and nothing to be ashamed of,”
she hits back.
Yet for all Courtney’s bravado, it’s impossible to escape that she is still
very much a teenager – she is chaperoned to our interview by her husband and
her 52-year-old mother, Krista, a beautician (her father Alex, an estate
agent, is, at 48, three years younger than her husband).
And when she faced accusations that she had enhanced her looks with plastic
surgery, she, perhaps somewhat childishly, insisted on a medical examination
on a TV show to prove that she hadn’t. Even today, she adamantly denies it.
“I’m 100 per cent natural. I have never had plastic surgery, or let a needle
near my face” she insists. “I hate even going to the dentist, so I just
wouldn’t put myself through it.”
But why is this young girl so set on a “career” in the public eye? And were
her parents right to allow her to pursue the age-gap relationship that led
Other girls treated me like an outcast, but the boys loved me
Courtney is the only child of her mum’s second marriage to Alex, but has two
half-sisters, Ashley, 28, a housewife, and Brittany, 26, a bank worker.
Growing up, Courtney says she always felt different and school was tough for
“By the time I started to blossom around 11, other girls treated me like an
outcast. I was the one who would come to school in new clothes and take care
of myself and wear make-up. The boys loved me, but the girls started to turn on
me, especially when I started to get my breasts,” she says.
“Either they wouldn’t talk to me or there was name calling – they were
very immature. Sometimes it got physical, I would get pushed around.
“I just knew that I was different, but I embraced that. I have always
been confident and I didn’t let it affect me.”
Two years ago, she got her break when she was “discovered” after being crowned
Miss Ocean Shores at a beauty pageant for teenagers in Seattle.
She was signed to a local modelling agency, hosted a regional TV show and
began writing and recording music.
The ambitious teen got a taste of celebrity, and she was hooked.
But it was meeting Doug – who’s also starred in Lost and The X Files – after
finishing high school, that propelled her to the fame she craved.
“Doug runs acting classes in LA and I was keen to attend them,” she
says. “I was put in touch with him by a mutual friend, as I wanted to
advance my acting career, and hoped he could help me.”
The pair started talking over email, which progressed on to phone calls.
Courtney claims they “fell in love” before they ever met. He was, she says,
only her third serious boyfriend.
“I grew up in a strict Christian family. My faith is very important to me, and
Jesus is my role model. I was a virgin until my wedding night,” she says.
Doug, who’d assumed Courtney was in her late 20s based on photos he’d
seen of her, was shocked to discover her real age during a phone
conversation with her mum, who was arranging a trip to LA for her daughter.
“When I found out she was only 16, it turned my world upside down,” he says.
“We’d already fallen for each other, but I said I would back off if her
parents had any objections. But they gave us their blessing”.
Courtney and Doug met in person in April last year, and just six months after
that first email, they married – with the full support of her parents. Her
father gave her away at the Little Chapel of Flowers in Las Vegas last May.
The bride wore white, albeit not too much of it in a bum skimming mini-dress.
As they make eyes at each other throughout our interview, they certainly
appear to be in love – and lust – with each other.
“We have sex maybe three times a day. I’m naturally a very sexual person,”
says Courtney. “I never feel the need to tone it down. I think as long
as you’re married, go for it.
“If God chooses to bless us with a child, that would be wonderful, but
right now my career is my baby.”
Taking on the world
But while the couple’s decision to pursue their age-gap relationship has
propelled them into the gossip mag stratosphere, it has come at a huge cost
to Doug’s professional career.
Labelled as a cradle-snatcher, his agent and manager dropped him, and his own
mother is refusing to speak to him.
“We knew we’d have to deal with the repercussions of our decision,” admits
Doug. “But it brought us closer together.”
And they’ve certainly had their fair share of public abuse. After rambling TV
interviews, the pair have been accused of using drugs, which she strongly
“I don’t drink alcohol or take drugs,” insists Courtney, who’s also a
My faith is very important to me. Jesus is my role model
In the flesh, she really is an articulate and quick-witted young woman.
There’s no sign of the incoherent slurring of past interviews, though no
doubt she’s honed her interview skills somewhat.
But her denials may not be enough to silence those who think that her previous
behaviour points to substance abuse, and predict she’ll end up like tragic
model Anna Nicole Smith.
“I think Anna Nicole was cute and funny, but I have no plans to end up like
her,” insists Courtney.
So now she’s famous… what’s next for Courtney?
She’s launched her own website where “fans” can sign up for the latest news
and pictures of her, and her debut single, Respect, is due out in a couple
of weeks. Rumours are rife she’s been signed up for her own reality show, but
she’s tight-lipped on the subject.
And she has the UK in her sights. “I would love to visit England soon, I’m
getting quite a fan base over there now.”
As our interview draws to a close, it’s impossible not to feel that this young
girl has been propelled into the public eye far too soon – and without
really knowing who she is or what she wants.
She’s a teen who prefers the company of an older man, a churchgoer who’s happy
to flaunt her body for cash, a girl who’s become famous without having
actually achieved anything yet.
Just as she’s about to leave, Courtney stops for a moment on her skyscraper
heels. “I have no regrets,” she says thoughtfully. “And I hope I never will.”
For her sake, we hope so too.
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