What lengths will a tabloid hack go to, just to get the story?
And what do celebrities (secretly) do to get into the headlines?
"I didn't know I was starting a life where I'd be asked to do three impossible things before breakfast, and be sworn at by four celebrities by lunch. I just thought, hey, I've got a job on a tabloid."
Sharon Marshall was a tabloid reporter for ten years. Along the way she saw and did some Very Bad Things. She also had a spectacularly lousy love life. It took the entire decade to realise the two may be connected. In her hilariously honest memoirs she reveals what really goes on behind the scenes at a major tabloid newspaper. What lengths will a tabloid hack go to, just to get the story? What do celebrities (secretly) do to get into the headlines? And can a job which involves fighting with popstars, pretending to be a swinger and provoking a fuming Jeremy Paxman ever make you marriage material?
Sharon Marshall presents on a morning TV show in the UK called This Morning and writes a dating column for The Sun. Sharon co-authored the bestselling The Naughty Girl's Guide to Life with Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.
Author: Sharon Marshall
What made you decide to share your story of a tabloid reporter?
Sharon Marshall: I'd always thought my job was pretty normal - but started to realise that it would always go quiet at dinner parties when I started telling people I'd spent the day wandering through a vice den or stalking a Hollywood star. People would assume I was joking. When they realised I was telling the truth they'd tell me I really should start writing some of this stuff down...
Name the best and worst thing about being a tabloid reporter:
Sharon Marshall: The best thing is that you laugh - really laugh till you cry - at least ten times a day. How can you not laugh when you work for a crazy boss who comes up with idiot ideas like suggesting you dress up as a pantomime cow, so you can walk "unnoticed" across a field to try and interview a Spice Girl?
The worst? Well you're going to have to deal with the odd death threat.
What do some celebrities do just to get their name in the papers?
Sharon Marshall: There was one husband and wife couple who would both ring me when they thought the other was asleep and sell me scandal and dirt about each other. Another celeb wanted to fake a pregnancy to get cash and coverage. She'd got a fake belly kit and was all set and ready to go - we did ask her what on earth she planned to do after the nine month mark!
Do you name and shame these particular celebrities in the book, Tabloid Girl?
Sharon Marshall: I name all the celebrities that I ever wrote stories on. So there'll be the tale of me rooting through Simon Cowell's underpants, and the tale of me breaking into the set of Friends and accidentally landing a part whilst working undercover. Some names I've kept quiet though - for example I decided not to reveal the name of the TV star who enjoys romping round vice dens in rubber - he's still at it now!
What else do you investigate throughout Tabloid Girl?
Sharon Marshall: I was a showbiz journalist for about half my career - but before that I worked as an investigative journalist. That involved putting on a hidden camera and going into lots of tricky situations. Journalists often put their life on the line for a story.
How often did you day involve being sworn at by four celebrities before 1pm?
Sharon Marshall: Never before I became a tabloid girl. I didn't have a clue what I was getting into when I started working on a newspaper. I thought it was all going to be fabulous showbiz parties. In reality I'd sometimes been sworn at by four celebrities before I'd even had breakfast. It's all in a day's work though!
Would you recommend the life of a tabloid reporter?
Sharon Marshall: It's such a blast - such an adrenalin rush to work there. I think it's an amazing experience - but as I point out in the book you couldn't do it for your whole life - you'd end up in rehab, an asylum, or a coffin.
Why do you think your spectacularly lousy love life was connected to your job as a tabloid reporter?
Sharon Marshall: Oh yeah. Have you ever tried telling someone you can't make dinner because you're stuck at a swinging party?
Who would you recommend read your book, Tabloid Girl?
Sharon Marshall: Anyone who loves a gossip. Anyone who loves a book that will take them on a romp through sex, scandal and celebrity secrets. And if anyone's planning on entering the journalism profession, I'd say you best give it a read too. It will tell the mad, bad, crazy world that lies in wait for you!