|Born||Imogen Mary Thomas
29 November 1982
|Occupation||Model, television personality|
Imogen Mary Thomas (born 29 November 1982) is a Welsh glamour model, beauty queen and television personality. She rose to fame in 2003, after winning Miss Wales, and achieved further note in 2006, when she lasted three months on the seventh series of Channel 4 reality television programme Big Brother (which has since moved to Channel 5).
Imogen was born to Charles Thomas, an education welfare officer, and his wife Janette in Gorseinon, near Swansea. Her parents separated when she was two years old, and, after her mother remarried when she was six, she was brought up by her mother and step-father in nearby Llanelli. She speaks Welsh fluently. Thomas has a sister, Alana. Thomas developed alopecia when she was six, losing chunks of her hair.
Thomas started working as a model at age 13, and at the age of 17 moved to London to become a professional model. Working in bars to pay for her living costs, she was rejected by many modelling agencies due to her height.
She reluctantly returned to her studies, and gained a degree in Health studies and Psychology at the University of Worcester. During this period she entered beauty contests, and was crowned Miss Wales in 2003, beating future Big Brother 9 winner Rachel Rice, who came third. She went on to represent Wales at Miss World in China. This prompted her to return to London to try glamour modelling, and also working as a bar hostess at London's Sanderson Hotel.
Thomas was selected as a housemate for the seventh series of Big Brother. Until week 5, Thomas was not allowed to participate in nominations. In week 1 she was in the Big Brotherhood, and there were no nominations. In weeks 2 and 3, she was banned from nominating for discussing nominations. In week 4, only Susie was permitted to nominate, and in week 5, as punishment for yet again discussing nominations she was forced (along with four other rulebreakers) to nominate one fellow rulebreaker in front of the group. On Day 84, Imogen moved with fellow nominee Richard into the House Next Door, where she remained until she was evicted on Day 86 with 62% of the public vote.
Since her time on Big Brother, Thomas has become a glamour model. She has had covergirl shoots with Zoo and Maxim magazines, while she had long running contracts with the Daily Star newspaper. Thomas was in the running for FHM Sexiest Woman in the World, coming in 58th. In 2008, she was included in the list of Playboy Bunnies on Playboy's website. In 2010 she shot her first calendar.
She has also made numerous personal appearances in various programmes, including: E4's horror Dead Set, written by Charlie Brooker; the BBC Three programme Wags, Kids and World Cup Dreams, and Celebrity Coach Trip partnered with friend Bianca Gascoigne.
A fluent Welsh speaker, she has appeared on various S4C programmes, including Uned 5, Wedi 3, Wedi 7, Jonathan Show and Bwrw Bar. She had her own show along with Glyn from Big Brother called Glyn and Imogen: A Year On. She also had a cameo role in the Welsh-language television soap opera Pobol y Cwm. An S4C documentary series called Salon Imogen followed her setting up a nail bar in Cardiff. She closed the shop months later after wanting to pursue her career as a model.
Thomas had a relationship with American model Tyson Beckford, whom she first met at the Sanderson Hotel. Since her appearance on Big Brother she has dated Russell Brand, polo player Jamie Morrisson, and footballers Matthew Collins of Swansea City, Nery Castillo of Aris FC and Tottenham Hotspur's Jermain Defoe.
In April 2011, Thomas was reported in The Sun to have had a six-month relationship with an unnamed and married Premier League footballer. A gagging order, known as CTB v News Group Newspapers, was granted in the High Court of England and Wales by Mr Justice Eady, preventing the footballer from being named in the media; it was reported in non-UK media sources that the footballer in question was Ryan Giggs. Thomas subsequently took advice from publicist Max Clifford, who commented: "Imogen never had any desire nor intention to sell her story, however if she had and was able to name the footballer she could easily command £250,000".
On 22 May 2011, the Sunday Herald, a newspaper in Scotland, published a thinly disguised photograph of Giggs on its front page, effectively ending the anonymous court order CTB v News Group Newspapers involving Imogen Thomas. The paper added in its editorial column, "Today we identify the footballer whose name has been linked to a court superinjunction by thousands of postings on Twitter. Why? Because we believe it is unsustainable that the law can be used to prevent newspapers from publishing information that readers can access on the internet at the click of a mouse." On 23 May 2011, Giggs was identified in the House of Commons as the footballer concerned.
On 15 December 2011, Mr Justice Eady accepted that Thomas had not attempted to blackmail the footballer Ryan Giggs, and suggested "There is no longer any point in maintaining the anonymity." The injunction preventing the naming of Giggs remained in place. Thomas stated after the court hearing: "I'm just relieved that the parties and the court now accept that I'm no blackmailer. I have been vindicated and that's all I wanted. I have nothing to add – it's all behind me now." On 21 February 2012 Giggs agreed to his name being revealed, and admitted Thomas did not try to blackmail him.
- "Imogen Thomas shows strain as scandal over Premier League star's super-injunction rumbles on". Daily Mail (UK). 20 April 2011. Retrieved 20 April 2011.
- Imogen Thomas reveals 'love affair' with Giggs
- "The full list of FHM's 100 Sexiest Women in the World 2007". London: The Daily Mail. 26 April 2007.
- "Maxim Interview". Maxim.
- "Sleazy, sad and self-obsessed: Russell Brand, a hero for our times". The Daily Mail (London). 17 November 2007.
- Kay, Richard (10 October 2006). "Yes! Rick breaks his wedding ban". London: The Daily Mail.
- "Imogen Thomas splits from footballer Jermain Defoe... because she likes to stay in". London: The Daily Mail. 5 November 2009.
- Lee, Cara. "BB beauty gets swine flu". London: The Sun.
- JustGiving fundraising page
- O'Shea, Gary (14 April 2011). "Footie star’s affair with Big Brother’s Imogen Thomas". The Sun (UK). Retrieved 30 April 2011.
- CTB v News Group Newspapers Ltd & Anor (2011) EWHC 1232 (QB), 14 and 20 April 2011 accessed 16 May 2011
- Myall, Steve (21 April 2011). "Premier League star who cheated with Imogen Thomas told his secret is safe as court tightens injunction". Daily Mirror. UK. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
- Malinowski, Erik (20 May 2011). "Twitter asked to stop users from gossiping then gets sued". Ars Technica. Archived from the original on 21 May 2011.
- Hill, Kashmir (20 May 2011). "He-Who-Cannot-Be-Named (In The UK) Sues Twitter Over A User Naming Him". Forbes. Retrieved 21 May 2011.
- Byrne, Paul (16 April 2011). "Imogen Thomas tells of her devastation at being exposed as married soccer star's mistress". Daily Mirror. UK. Retrieved 30 April 2011.
- Front page Sunday Herald, 22 May 2011.
- "Newspaper Claims To ID Injunction Footie Star". Sky News (UK). 22 May 2011. Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- Gabbatt, Adam; Taylor, Matthew (22 May 2011). "Scottish newspaper identifies injunction footballer". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 22 May 2011.
- Ryan Giggs named in Commons as footballer who had injunction preventing details of his affair with Imogen Thomas
- Plunkett, John (15 December 2011). "Imogen Thomas 'vindicated' after footballer drops blackmail claim". The Guardian (UK). Retrieved 15 December 2011.
- "Ryan Giggs can be legally named as 'affair' footballer". BBC (UK). 21 February 2012. Retrieved 21 February 2012.
- Imogen Thomas says being pregnant 'has transformed my life' walesonline.co.uk, 5 August 2012.
- Imogen Thomas gives birth to a baby daughter Ariana Siena Horsley walesonline.co.uk, 11 February 2013.