Curtis Pritchard and Maura Higgins faked their romance for three months and were forced to stay together for fame


IN the rich pantheon of ­people nobody will care about one year from now, Curtis Pritchard ­and Maura Higgins are right at the top.

But after Maura finally called time on their transparent ­seven-month romance on ­Monday, I thought it only fair to tell you all what’s really been going on behind closed doors.

Maura Higgins and Curtis Pritchard have finally called it quits – but things aren’t all they seem

Curtis and Maura, if you hadn’t already guessed, have been faking their relationship and were urged to stay together for work commitments by cash-hungry management teams, who warned them it would be bad for their brand if they split.

After coupling up on last year’s Love Island, the pair were told they would make ­millions if they stuck together and kept the illusion alive.

Despite Maura quickly falling out of love with Curtis, insiders told me she first felt pressured into sticking with him — like so many other couples who are paired up on the ITV2 series — at the end of last year.

The cracks in their relationship were grossly evident at the National Television Awards in January, when three reporters on my team witnessed Maura cowering in a corner of the smoking area as Curtis — who was so drunk he struggled to stand — shouted at her.

The pair have actually been faking their relationship for the past three months after being advised it would be bad for their brand to split
The Love Island stars have had plenty of furious rows in recent months, with things coming to a head at the NTAs

An insider told me: “Maura felt pressured to stick with him. They had booked jobs together, parties they had to attend.

“When they met in Love Island it was genuine.

“But when the showbiz treadmill started on the outside, it was a sham.

“The NTAs was the last straw.

“Maura has star quality and is a professional.

“Curtis showed his true colours that night.”

Curtis was seen cosying up to another woman in a nightclub in January.

Over the weekend he was linked to sexy dancer Amber Pierson, who is on his brother AJ’s dance tour.

Maura put an end to the charade with this statement on Instagram on Monday

Last week, former Love Island contestant Montana Brown admitted stars are put under pressure to stick together — and Curtis and Maura were a prime example of this fakery in action.

Inside the swanky NTAs ­after-party at London’s O2 Arena, Curtis had downed glasses of white wine and was filmed acting like a lout, even though he’d been paid to host the red carpet with Maura.

Male friends of Maura’s warned him to leave her alone and he had to be helped out of the building by fellow islander Joe Garrett.

Maura said afterwards she was furious Curtis had drunk so much and was being so ­irrational.

Maura was seen looking miserable for the first time since publicly announced her split from Curtis

Curtis also looked glum as he was photographed in London

Over the weekend Curtis was linked to sexy dancer Amber Pierson, who it’s claimed he cheated on Maura with

When faced with the video of him staggering and being pushed away by Maura, Curtis’s smarmy rep begged me not to use it for fear it would ruin a deal he had struck between Curtis and the BBC.

I understand young stars make mistakes so I agreed not to run the footage.

In return, and as part of a deal that is a regular occurrence in showbiz reporting, Curtis’s team promised they would be honest about the moment the couple ended their relationship and said Curtis would speak to us about this.

Instead, both their teams lied about the break-up and denied it just hours before Maura posted a po-faced statement on Instagram on Monday night.

An insider says ‘when they met in Love Island it was genuine, but when the showbiz treadmill started on the outside, it was a sham’

Curtis’s slippery flunky went to ground when asked when his client would be available to speak about the break-up.

So I’m revealing the couple’s sham relationship — and telling the truth about what a grim man Curtis can be when he’s on the sauce and away from the watchful eye of those he pays to keep bad stories out of the limelight.

If you go back on the deal you so were desperate to strike, mate, don’t think I won’t either.

Apparently the pair’s intense rows at the NTAs were the last straw for Maura

Not Kim-pressed

IF you thought there was nothing Kim Kardashian and Kanye West would not do to push their showbiz and business agenda, you’d be absolutely correct.

The shameless couple launched their daughter North as a pop star aged just six on ­Monday night in a bid to get some publicity for Kanye’s fashion brand.

Kim Kardashian and her husband Kanye West have proven they’ll stop at nothing to push their showbiz agenda

She performed a song called What I Do on stage at his Yeezy Season 8 show as part of Paris ­Fashion Week – and she looked terrified until her dad joined her halfway through the performance.

Meanwhile, Kim – dressed in new gear from the collection – filmed her.

A school nativity play is one thing, but being put on stage in front of hundreds – and streamed to thousands more – is something else entirely.

The shameless couple used their daughter North to get some publicity for Kanye’s fashion brand

Kim and her family, dressed in the Yeezy gear, were spotted in the audience filming her

Phone-using Andrew is Phantom menace

AFTER five decades in the industry, there can’t be anybody more familiar with theatre etiquette than Andrew Lloyd Webber.

But still, it was the legendary composer of musical smashes including The Phantom Of The Opera who broke the golden rule of the West End on Sunday night when he started using his phone to film the stars on stage during a show.

The king of musicals himself seems to have broken the golden rule of the West End

He was in the audience at the Gillian Lynne Theatre during the final performance of School Of Rock – which he wrote the music for – when he was told off by an usher.

But it was only after she had snapped at him that she realised who the famous culprit was.

The usher, musical theatre graduate Hayley Baldwin, tweeted: “So today I accidentally told THE Andrew Lloyd Webber off for filming his own show . . . Guess there go my chances of ever being in any of his shows in the future.

“To clarify, I was working FOH [front of house], I wasn’t just in the ­audience.”

Andrew Lloyd Webber apparently started using his phone to film the stars on stage during the final performance of School Of Rock

During his phenomenal career, Andrew has written the music for Jesus Christ Superstar, Evita, Cats and Joseph And The Amazing Techni- color Dreamcoat and is now worth an estimated £820million.

If he really wanted a video that much, booking out the whole theatre would have been no issue at all.

It’s Kylie charged

KYLIE Minogue must be feeling really loved up, because she’s been making music with the man behind hits including Sexbomb and Horny.

The Aussie singer, who is dating GQ mag boss Paul Solomons, was photographed at the Rosewood London hotel on Monday night, hours after having a session in the studio with German producer Mousse T.

Kylie Minogue has been busy making music with German producer Mousse T

He tweeted a photo with Kylie and tagged in another top DJ, Alex Gaudino, who is responsible for dance tunes including Destination Calabria and What A Feeling featuring Kelly Rowland.

Speaking about her new music last week, Kylie said: “I’ve already started work in the studio.

“We’re not quite sure what it is yet, but we feel like ‘That’s good, that’s good – this is the direction we’re heading’.

“I won’t be doing [country] again, but what I learned in that period will stay with me however the songwriting pans out.”

Mousse T posted this studio selfie and tagged the singer on Monday

Gaga is back on playlist

I CALLED out Radio 1 on Monday for failing to put Lady Gaga’s incredible new single Stupid Love on its playlists – and now bosses have finally seen sense.

Last night the station announced the latest set of weekly playlists and the song has been added to the B list. Perhaps the change of heart was forced by drivetime presenter Nick Grimshaw.

Lady Gaga’s incredible new single Stupid Love originally wasn’t put on any of Radio 1’s playlists

He was away in Namibia on a Sport Relief fundraiser last week when the decision to snub the song was made.

But on his first show back on Monday, Nick posted two Instagram stories dancing to the tune, so clearly he’s a fan even if his bosses aren’t.

Stupid Love was at No2 in the midweek chart update.

It is from Gaga’s upcoming album Chromatica.

That is sure to be just as successful as it is rumoured to feature a collaboration with Ariana Grande.

I can’t wait to hear it.

Max score for musical

HIT producer Max Martin’s pop musical ‘& Juliet’ leads the pack for this year’s Olivier Awards with nine nominations.

I gave it a five-star review when it opened in the West End in November – and clearly audiences agree.

James McAvoy is up for the Best Actor Olivier Award

The modern retelling of Romeo & Juliet, set to some of pop’s most famous songs, is up for the most gongs including Best New Musical and Best Original Score.

Fiddler On The Roof has eight nominations while Dear Evan Hansen has seven. Phoebe Waller-Bridge has a Best Actress nod for her stage ­version of Fleabag while James McAvoy is up for Best Actor for Cyrano de Bergerac.

Jason Manford will host the ceremony on April 5.


Mabel sets tongues wagging as she pokes hers out in a snap taken backstage at a concert