Wherever Kate Moss goes, scandal follows—but like every 90s trend, she comes back with a vengeance.
Kate Moss is many things, but a nepo baby was never one. As the child of a bartender mom and an airline worker dad, she never dreamed of modeling—that is, until an agency scouted the 14-year-old at an airport. This chance encounter changed her life, but it wasn’t always for the better.
Kate learned the hard way that this industry wasn’t just heartless. It was downright cruel.
Kate’s parents and agency set her up for trauma by having her travel to foreign cities...alone. The British teenager was vulnerable—and bad people took advantage of this. For example, Kate never forgot one particular lingerie audition that morphed into a nightmare.
The man in charge demanded that the 15-year-old remove her bra. Though Kate followed her gut instinct and walked off the job, this blatant predation was a dime a dozen for her and countless other models. But it gets worse.
With friends like this, Kate didn’t need enemies. A year later, best friend and photographer Corinne Day coerced—sorry, “convinced”—Kate into a doing a magazine photoshoot without her top on. The reluctant 16-year-old sobbed, and Corinne responded with the comforting words: “If you don’t take your top off, I am not going to book you for Elle”.
Little did Kate know, this was a defining moment of her career.
Kate’s feelings about this shoot and “friend” are surprising and complicated. While the experience was horrific, it also jumpstarted both of their careers. Kate used to be a struggling model—but after this shoot, she became a rising star in the modeling world. And she was just getting started. Fashion would never be the same.
Calvin Klein hit the jackpot when he discovered Kate's arresting looks. The designer hired her and Mark Wahlberg to star in an ad. She was 17. He was 21. She also straddled him in this iconic campaign. This was already sketchy, but Kate later confessed that her experience was “not good”. But as we'll see, this was the understatement of the century.
“Trust your gut” was a lesson Kate always learned the hard way. A week or two before this photoshoot, extreme anxiety left her unable to even get out of bed. In response, a doctor prescribed the teenager Valium. But no pill could help once Kate walked onto the set. It was a terrifying shoot. Turns out, her intuition was right.
Kate was young, innocent, and vulnerable—exactly how Calvin wanted her. Her co-star also didn’t help; Mark and his entourage made it all about him. Meanwhile, Kate felt objectified and worthless. Mark even confessed that he was “a little rough around the edges” at the time. This provocative and painful campaign shot Kate into an even higher stratosphere of fame. But boy did she pay for it.
Kate became the anti-supermodel…and maybe even the anti-hero. Typical 90s supermodels, like Cindy Crawford and Naomi Campbell, are tall and curvaceous. Meanwhile, Kate is significantly shorter and thinner. She became a poster child for new trends in modeling, fashion, and beauty ideals. But these trends were controversial—and for good reason.
The 90s saw many trends, but none as contentious as the trendy look where women were celebrated for looking like addicts. The essentials to this look weren’t just grunge clothes, it included concerningly thin bodies. Adding more fuel to the fire, Kate actually lived this edgy lifestyle. These trends—and Kate—attracted a lot of hate.
Even President Clinton joined in and declared, “It’s not beautiful; it’s ugly”. Kate doubled down in the worst way.
When an interviewer asked Kate if she had any mantras, they weren’t expecting her response. She used “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” as an example. This comment appalled many people, but not everyone. Eating disorder circles adopted this line as inspiration. Today, Kate regrets the monster she unleashed—but the damage has already been done.
While Kate isn’t perfect (who is?), her haters flirted with bigotry too often. They gleefully spread rumors about how dumb and trashy she supposedly was. The beautiful and successful girl from a rougher London neighborhood never stood a chance in the public eye. And little did she know, the worst was yet to come.
Another one of Kate’s mantras backfired. This time, it was “never complain, never explain”. At the peak of Kate’s fame, everyone in the UK knew her name, but her voice remained a mystery to most. Kate usually avoided typical celebrity activities like talk shows. Instead, the tabloids did the talking—especially when it came to her love life.
Celebrities like Russell Brand and Lenny Kravitz were lucky enough to date Kate—but usually not for long. Enter, Johny Depp. In 1994, Vanity Fair writer George Wayne introduced the A-listers to “cause a little drama”. George confessed that he “didn’t think they would go on to destroy five-star hotel rooms across the globe for the next two years”. Oops.
It was love—or lust—at first sight when 20-year-old Kate met 31-year-old Johnny at a cafe. She confessed that "I knew from the first moment we talked that we were going to be together”. This feeling was mutual as they jumped heartfirst into a relationship and media frenzy. A “friend” saw their opportunity and ran to the tabloids.
This “friend” divulged that, "They can't keep their hands, lips, mouths, legs off of each other”. Kate and Johnny’s relationship was so passionate that there were soon rumors that they were engaged. The It-girl and the It-boy (okay, It-man) seemed like the perfect pair. But behind the glamorous pap shots, there was chaos. A lot of it.
The It-couple didn’t just love hard, they fought the same way. Stunned onlookers witnessed Kate and Johnny screaming at each other in public on multiple occasions. And they were just getting started. One morning, officers arrived at their hotel room to find it trashed after an argument. While this fight ended with Johnny in handcuffs, it didn’t end their romance.
A year in, Kate and Johnny appeared on a show that didn’t go as planned. They dismissed the rumors, but soon lost the plot. The host asked whether they found it difficult to keep the relationship going. Kate immediately responded “no”. But Johnny remained silent to the point where she had to say his name. Finally, he parroted her answer. Awkward.
After three years together, the couple finally called it quits. Kate thought they’d been living together at his house. Meanwhile, Johnny thought she was just crashing. The two had to admit that they just weren’t compatible. But that didn’t stop Kate from crying for years over him. If it’s any consolation, Johnny wasn’t doing so well either.
After their break up, Johnny confessed, “I have been so stupid because we had so much going for our relationship. I'm the one who has to take responsibility for what happened—I was difficult to get on with, I let my work get in the way, and I didn't give her the attention I should have done…I was horrific to live with. Trust me, I'm a total moron at times”.
They both tried to move on. Key word: tried.
Kate went home to London and went crazy. Paparazzi captured every moment of her over-the-top partying, drinking, and substance use. She soon gave the press something even juicier to report: flings with female friends. But in typical Kate fashion, she went too far.
She found herself in a threesome turned love triangle with Jude Law and his wife Sadie Frost.
A year later, Liv Tyler introduced Kate to Antony Langdon, an actor turned rebound. Once again, this relationship moved far too fast. Antony bought an engagement ring after only three months together. But this time, it was completely one-sided. Kate rejected Antony because she wasn’t ready to commit. But her time was coming.
Sparks flew when magazine entrepreneur Jefferson Hack interviewed the now 27-year-old supermodel. Just kidding, his first words to her were allegedly, “You smell like pee”. Somehow, they ended up dating after this meet-ugly. In typical Kate fashion, this relationship moved quickly. A year later, she gave birth to their daughter Lila Grace. But it wasn’t meant to be.
After three years, Kate and Jefferson called it quits in an expected way. A public and messy battle wouldn’t have been surprising. After all, there was fame, money and a child involved. Instead, the exes remain close friends. They’re basically co-parenting goals. Unfortunately, Kate’s next relationship was nowhere near as harmonious.
Enter, Peter Doherty: Libertines’ lead singer, 25 to her 31, and the UK’s most notorious rockstar. The love story of Kate and Pete is bad girl meets even badder boy. For the first week, the couple evaded paparazzi by meeting in restaurant back rooms and wearing disguises. Their ruse didn’t last long. But hiding a new relationship was the least of their concerns. Pete, in particular, had darker secrets.
While people describe Kate at this time as a party animal who refused to grow up, Pete was on a different level. He was severely addicted to drinking and hard substances. A friend even suggested this wildness might’ve even attracted Kate, the supermodel who had everything. But even she knew he had the power to destroy her. Kate knew what she had to do.
Kate knew this romance was doomed, not to mention dangerous, but she couldn’t resist clinging on. The supermodel demanded that Pete quit his most dangerous habits. Kate told him: “I can’t have you around if you’re this out of control because it’s going to get me into trouble”. Spoiler: this didn’t work, and she kept him around anyway.
Pete gave Kate quite the surprise while she was away from home. A search for substances led him to her bedroom. Focused on his quest, Pete didn’t realize he’d pressed her panic alarm. Fearing the worst, 12 officers stormed Kate’s posh neighborhood and home. The drama didn’t end there. It was just getting started.
There’s moving fast and there’s… whatever this is. A week into their relationship, Pete convinced Kate to get a tattoo of his initials. To be fair, he also got a tattoo of her initials. But Pete later confessed his ulterior motives: “I wanted her to prove her love…to get branded—it was more of an insecurity thing on my part”.
These lovers continued to put the “fun” in “dysfunctional”.
While Kate remained press shy as usual, Pete didn’t share her reservations. He told the media, “I love her with all of my heart. I love her bones. I love her brains”. Romantic, right? Of course, Pete ruined it in the same breath by sharing that, “I was always dodging bullets, it became like the Vietnam War”.
His confession only made their next move even more shocking.
The notorious rockstar pulled off a miracle: his commitment-wary girlfriend accepted his proposal. They even got married at Glastonbury. Yes, the musical festival. After Pete’s performance, they headed to a chapel to say their vows. The newlyweds then celebrated at a festival afterparty. Somehow, their wedding turned out to be even stranger than it already sounds.
Turns out, Kate and Pete’s wedding was basically a joke. Hilarious, right? Their “marriage” was only valid during the festival weekend. In retrospect, she dodged a disaster by not actually marrying him. Kate was blissfully unaware at the time, but a storm was heading her way. It was about to leave a wake of destruction behind.
In September 2005, that storm arrived. Kate woke up to the headline “High As a Kate”. The photos accompanying the front page headline made her stomach drop. Somehow, this newspaper got their hands on photographs and a 40 minute video of her doing 5 lines at Pete’s studio. Celebrities “skiing” is nothing new, but being exposed was.
As the story broke, Kate hid in a hotel suite and experienced a rollercoaster of emotions: shock, fury, and devastation. She’d never experienced a scandal of this magnitude, but already knew her life would never be the same. A friend visited and told her, “Kate, this is going to be a storm. You are going to need to stand strong and stand tough. This is not going away”. He was right.
That same friend admitted “I knew that the English media were going to be brutal”. Unfortunately, he was right on both counts. The media went on a witch-hunt. It didn’t help that Kate claimed she’d given up substances years ago. The press portrayed her as a bad role model—a role she never signed up for to begin with.
Some even demanded that her daughter be taken from her. But it gets darker.
Enter the authorities and their interrogation. As well, the scandal led to a raid of Pete’s studio. Kate’s boyfriend also found himself in even more substance-related run-ins with the law. Investigators eventually cleared Kate of all charges—but the damage was done. Kate’s reputation took a beating and her wallet was next.
The brands Kate worked with—notably H&M, Chanel, and Burberry—loved her bad girl image… until they didn’t. Following the scandal, they dropped her like a hot potato. Kate’s deal with H&M was worth £4 million pounds alone. Ouch. If it’s any consolation, some very famous and familiar names rallied behind the fallen supermodel.
Kate wasn’t just high—she had friends in high places. Friends such as Jefferson (her ex and baby daddy), Alexander McQueen, Naomi Campbell, Johnny Depp, Robbie Williams, and Sharon Stone publicly defended her. Alexander even walked his runway in a “We love you Kate” t-shirt.
They all found the witch hunt outrageous and unfair. Kate agreed, but it was time to swallow her pride.
Kate didn’t feel like a supermodel in the middle of this storm; she felt like a scapegoat. After all, countless other celebrities used these substances too. Every talk show begged her for an interview, but Kate rejected all of them and remained silent… until she couldn’t. She eventually apologized, but refused to admit to using substances.
Afterward, an unsolved mystery kept Kate up at night.
Who secretly filmed her? Who traded her life for a quick buck? This mystery haunted Kate, but all roads led to Pete. After all, the photos and video were taken in his studio. Her fiancé insisted one of his friends was responsible. Only Pete knows the truth. But it was clear to everyone that this relationship was on its last leg.
Kate’s attempt to save her reputation destroyed her relationship. Kate and Pete agreed to enter rehab separately. According to Pete, she promised to visit him (and didn’t). Kate completed her treatment, but Pete didn’t. They called it quits shortly after. And according to Pete, their breakup was just as fiery as their love. Literally.
After the breakup, Kate apparently went on a rampage. She started by destroying one of Pete’s most prized guitars. If that wasn’t enough, she also grabbed his favorite teddy bear (named Pandy, by the way), poured gasoline on him, and set him on fire. Rest in pieces, Pandy.
Since their 2007 breakup, they’ve only spoken once. When Kate called him out of the blue, the only thing Pete had to say was, “Have you still got the tattoo?”
Like other 90s trends, Kate became cool again. Her comeback included signing more brand deals than she lost, winning modeling awards, designing fashion collections, releasing a cosmetic range, and so much more. The scandal was a tough time, but Kate proved that she was tougher. She even had time to find love again...and again.
After Kate and The Kills guitarist Jamie Hince met in 2007, they went for the slow burn. They became engaged and married four years later. Unsurprisingly, their English countryside nuptials was the wedding of the year. Surprisingly, Kate’s baby daddy and ex Jefferson showed up. Despite these differences, this romance ended all the same.
While this was Kate’s longest lasting relationship, it was still doomed. Their separation in 2015 set the rumor mill ablaze. Tabloids blamed the split on jealousy—specifically, Kate’s jealousy. They took their time to officially divorce, but this didn’t stop Kate from moving on, quickly and publicly.
Enter: Count Nikolai Leopold Archibald von Bismarck-Schönhausen. He’s more than a ridiculously long and posh name. Nikolai is a photographer, an aristocrat, and 13 years her junior. Shortly after Kate and Jamie’s split, the world learned about her new boytoy. This was too much for some people, including Jamie.
According to rumors, Jamie didn’t just get mad. He wanted to get even.
After paparazzi snapped Kate wearing a new sapphire ring on her ring finger, even more rumors emerged. A restaurant owner spilled the beans. One night, Nikolai got down on one knee and proposed in his restaurant. The restaurant staff cheered, but we know a certain someone wasn’t cheering. After all, Kate technically still had a husband. Oh boy, here we go.
Jamie was many things, and vengeful may have been one of them. Kate’s new relationship reportedly upset him so much, he created an embarrassing dossier on her. There were also rumors that he’d go after her fortune. Despite this drama and speculation, Kate and Jamie settled their divorce out of court. But Kate’s heartbreaks were far from over.
Kate could now marry her boytoy turned fiancé, but she didn’t want to. Not anymore. Just a week after her divorce, she and Nikolai also called it quits. This time, it was reportedly over Kate’s dislike of his party animal lifestyle. Yes, the irony isn’t lost on us either. As a changed woman, Kate had regrets, but failed romances were the least of them.
Hindsight really is 2020. For starters, Kate wishes she could take back that infamous “nothing tastes as good as skinny feels” quip. On top of that, Lila following in her footsteps shifted her point of view. When it came to reminiscing on her own teenage photoshoots, Kate declared “I wouldn't let my daughter do it. She's 15 and to think I was going [shirtless] at her age, it's crazy”.
Kate then put her money where her mouth is.
In 2016, Kate started a modeling agency with a bold vision. She stated “I take care of my models. I make sure they’re with agents at shoots so when they’re being taken advantage of, someone is there to say, ‘I don’t think that’s appropriate'”. Kate’s parents and agency fed her to the wolves. Now that she knows better, she can do better.
Kate was the supermodel who confessed that she’d never walked a runway sober. Kate was also the party animal whose appetite for drinks and substances led to the nickname “The Tank”. Today, she couldn’t be further from those wild days. Kate ditched the “boring” party lifestyle for the countryside. She insists "I take care of myself now, I'm a good girl”.
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