There was a touching moment on Celebrity Big Brother this week. A moment where contestant Ashley James was sobbing in the diary room following the eviction of housemate Ginuwine.
Ashley – clutching a perfect white tissue in her right hand, dabbing away stray teardrops and snuffing her nose at every pause – refused to break down and cry on camera. It was brave. Empowering. In fact, it was almost like something you’d see in a Hollywood movie. Wait a minute. You don’t think. Ashley could have been acting?
The 30-year-old DJ, model and once guest appearance on reality TV show Made in Chelsea went on to confess: “I don’t think it is the end of the world but it’s so silly.”
Opening up in the velvety purple room, she said:
“It’s like someone that you care for, someone that you love, has been taken away from you, and I feel like I didn’t really get a chance to say goodbye.”
Of course, this sentence was mumbled through the voice of a person who sounded as if they’d lost the love of their life in a tragic paragliding accident and would have their heart shattered into a million pieces, for a good two and a half eternities.
The reality of this relationship is that Ashley had known Ginuwine, whose real name is Elgin Baylor Lumpkin, for all of 22 days. For anyone in the real world, blurting out the word ‘love’ to describe someone you had known for less than a month is at very least peculiar. And if you want a second date, it’s a definite no-no.
Emotions, tensions and feelings of passion or desire run unfathomably high inside the Big Brother house, however. A quick glance into the history books provides more than enough hard evidence to back this up. Season Four Celebrity Big Brother contestants Preston and Camille Aznar wrote all the headlines with their steamy relationship inside the cameo-rigged CBB house. Following eviction, the pair went on to become husband and wife in 2006 before romance turned into friendship and the pair filed for divorce 10 months later.
In more recent years we’ve seen uncontrollable romance blossom between Stephen Bear and Lillie Lexie Gregg on Season 18, and Bianca Gascoigne and Jamie O’Hara the following year. Although Genuine and Ashley laughed, flirted and bonded like two teenagers at the big Winter Ball, something never quite felt right.
Ginuwine cut an equally torn character during his eviction live day interview yet the air of suspicion surrounding his relationship with Ashley clouded around him like a smoke bomb. CBB presenter Emma Willis proceeded to mock and joke with the playful use of “but was your relationship genuine Ginuwine?” A great pun may I add.
Willis proceeded to nudge with the same question in different forms and for all the lightheartedness fluff we see in celebrity interviews, this one felt like a genuine dig. The cynicism surrounding the Ahsley and Ginuwine relationship is simple. People don’t see the beautiful blonde-haired Ashley likely to date a 47-year-old who has five kids and is 17 year her senior. Call me cynical, but neither do I.
In the context of a world where there only a handful of other males, aka the Big Brother house, a relationship between Ashley and Ginuwine is far more believable. By the nature of the show and the situation inmates are place, relationships are often real. They are also often fake. But above all, they are always a super-sized version of reality.
There is no chance that on day 32, when Ashley finally leaves the house as runner-up, that she will talk of an aching lust for Genuine and that a classic CBB wedding then divorce could soon unfold. I predict a murmuring of the name Elgin Baylor Lumpkin from Willis in her post-interview.
Ashley’s response: “Sorry, who’s that? I genuinely don’t know.”