Wales

Imogen Thomas: From Miss Wales to the High Court

Imogen Thomas
Image caption Imogen Thomas has fought the injunction unsuccessfully in the High Court

Before she found her name being mentioned in the High Court in connection with a high profile footballer, Imogen Thomas was a familiar face only to celebrity magazine readers and reality TV fans.

Thomas, 28, from Llanelli, Carmarthenshire, has voiced her distress at finding herself embroiled in one of the highest profile legal wrangles in recent years.

For weeks she has been at the centre of a battle over an injunction taken out to protect the identity of a married footballer with whom she is alleged to have had an affair.

The footballer was named in parliament by an MP as Manchester United star and former Wales captain Ryan Giggs.

Thomas first rose to public attention as a beauty queen when she became Miss Wales in 2003.

But she achieved a wider fame by appearing as a contestant in the seventh series of Channel 4's hit reality show Big Brother, in 2006, in which she lasted three months in the house.

After that she built a successful career as a glamour model and made further forays into the world of TV.

Thomas, a fluent Welsh speaker, was given her own fly-on-the-wall show, Salon Imogen, on Welsh language station S4C, which followed her opening up her own business, a nail bar in Cardiff.

There was also a brief acting role - as herself - in the Welsh-language TV soap Pobol y Cwm (People of the Valley).

Before last year's World Cup, Thomas, by then the ex-girlfriend of Spurs and England striker Jermain Defoe, appeared in the BBC3 show Wags, Kids And World Cup Dreams.

Thomas experienced life working in some of the poorest and most deprived neighbourhoods in South Africa.

But in recent days, Thomas has been at the centre of a growing media and legal storm, over an injunction from a married footballer over an alleged affair.

He was named on Monday by Lib Dem MP John Hemming, using the privilege of the House of Commons, as Wales and Manchester United winger Ryan Giggs.

A week ago, Thomas had appeared outside the High Court in London after a hearing with the footballer's lawyers, The Sun newspaper and her representatives.

Justice Eady said at the time: "It seemed to me that the (footballer) was fully entitled to the protection of anonymity."

The court had heard on 13 April Ms Thomas told the footballer that The Sun was considering publishing a story about them having an affair for six months - with photographs of her at or near hotels.

Justice Eady then told the court: "It seems... that The Sun was ready to take advantage of these prearranged meetings in order to be able to put forward the claim that it was The Sun which had found him 'romping with a busty Big Brother babe'.

But Ms Thomas' lawyer told the court his client denied "causing the publication" in The Sun or asking the footballer for money during their meetings.

'Exploited'

In a statement, Thomas said about the injunction: "I've read the judgment and am stunned by how I'm portrayed. Yet again, my name and my reputation are being trashed while the man I had a relationship with is able to hide.

"What's more, where's the fairness in this? What about my reputation? If this is the way privacy injunctions are supposed to work, then there's something seriously wrong with the law."

In an earlier TV interview, she fought back tears, saying she had been "thrown to the lions" because she did not have the money to pay for her name to be kept private.

She told ITV1 show This Morning: "I didn't want my name to be out there in the public domain like this.

"I've been exploited and I just feel just really angry.

"I'm taking responsibility for my actions, I know what I done was wrong. I suffered a lot and it's just been a really, really difficult time for me."

She said of her reaction when she heard about the injunction: "I had a phone call from the other party's lawyers and I was just totally baffled because there was no way on earth I wanted this to come out, ever."

The model later said she was "outraged" at being accused of trying to blackmail the footballer.

As events unfolded in the Commons, the High Court rejected a third attempt to lift an injunction preventing journalists from naming the footballer.

More on this story