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The Only Way is *CENSORED* - Amanda McAlister explains

The Only Way is Essex (TOWIE) has got a lot to answer for, not least because it has given us the word "vajazzle" (don’t ask).

Don’t misunderstand me, reality TV has its place although I’m not a massive fan myself I can see why others are. It’s the power of TOWIE that bothers me. It seems as though everyone is suddenly organising an TOWIE themed party, where guests sport neon bright orange skin, incredibly white teeth, a variety of surgically enhanced body parts and describe each other as "reem" (another TOWIE word that apparently means ‘great’ or ‘wonderful’ or... well, you get the picture.)

The various characters from this scripted reality show grace the pages of the tabloids on a daily basis and certainly appear to wield a certain amount of influence over their viewers. I was therefore a little alarmed to read that Mark Wright had allegedly coerced his former fiancée Lauren into signing a gagging order following their split. Whether it’s a case of keeping-up-with-the-Giggs’ or a simple publicity stunt, I think we might be on the brink of seeing an increasing number of celebrities silenced in a similar way. Yet it is worthwhile remembering that a legal order isn’t drawn up purely to keep details of your sexual prowess out of a glossy magazine, as is supposedly the case with the TOWIE couple. It can seriously affect lives.

Earlier this year, I blogged about Sir Nicholas Mostyn and how details of his infidelity and broken marriage could impair his standing as a family law judge and, therefore, his ability to provide for his children. A gagging order against his ex-wife was a carefully considered decision to safeguard his family. However, the order instead implied he had something to hide and, potentially, did as much damage as Lady Mostyn ever could.

Other than to save face, I’m not entirely sure of the reasoning behind Mark’s gagging order or Lauren’s compliance with it. They were a childless couple and, now both are nationally known figures, are relatively wealthy.

As the press gleefully report every word they utter, it’s unlikely that any defamatory comment will harm their earnings either. In fact, the slanging matches encouraged and reported by the weekly gossip magazines can keep warring celebrities in the public eye and on a healthy income for months, (I refer you to Katie Price and her back catalogue of partners).

I just hope that those public figures intent on pursuing a gagging order do so for valid reasons and are properly advised to consider the implications of such an order. Whether they like it or not, the TOWIE stars set an example and I would hate to see fans pursue legal action against an ex-partner unnecessarily and without consideration of the consequences.

Far better they emulate their idols by slathering on the Fake Bake instead.