TOWIE 10 YEAR ANNIVERSARY: Drug, petrol bombs, acid attacks and brawls

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Since TOWIE graced our screens a decade ago, fans have fallen for the lovable stars of the show, been hooked on their rows and even added their jargon to everyday vocabulary.

Yet all has not always been rosy, as behind-the-scenes scandals have raged, with stars of the show embroiled in heartbreaking battles, brushes with the law, physical attacks and much more. 

We take a look at the trials and tribulations of the TOWIE elite over the past decade…  

The Only Way Is Up? We take a look at the trials and tribulations of the TOWIE elite over the past decade... (pictured: L-R (Top)  James Argent, Lauren Goodger, Lucy Mecklenburgh, Maria Fowler. L-R (Bottom) - Kirk Norcross, Lauren Pope, Harry Derbidge, Jessica [Jess] Wright, Amy Childs, Sam Faiers, Lydia Bright and Mark Wright)

The Only Way Is Up? We take a look at the trials and tribulations of the TOWIE elite over the past decade… (pictured: L-R (Top)  James Argent, Lauren Goodger, Lucy Mecklenburgh, Maria Fowler. L-R (Bottom) – Kirk Norcross, Lauren Pope, Harry Derbidge, Jessica [Jess] Wright, Amy Childs, Sam Faiers, Lydia Bright and Mark Wright)

JAMES ARGENT 

ADDICTION BATTLE

Tough times: Perhaps most effected by TOWIE fame is James Argent, whose time in the spotlight has been thwarted by his very public battles with a host of demons (pictured in 2011)

Tough times: Perhaps most effected by TOWIE fame is James Argent, whose time in the spotlight has been thwarted by his very public battles with a host of demons (pictured in 2011)

Perhaps most effected by TOWIE fame is James Argent, whose time in the spotlight has been thwarted by his very public battles with a host of demons. 

In 2014, James sparked concern when he was filmed being guided off a plane while covered in vomit with his shirt undone. 

He said of the incident: ‘I’m sure most people have got pissed and got a bit sick or got drunk on a plane, but if I do it I get caught’. 

The following year he was admitted to rehab when his partying spiralled out of control, as he said: ‘Underneath everything I was badly depressed. I was anxious and tired.’ 

In October last year, ambulances were called to James’ house amid fears he had overdosed. 

Shortly before, his on-off relationship with Gemma Collins came to an end when she insisted she feared drugs would kill him.

Since then, Arg has now admitted he is a cocaine addict after using the Class A drug heavily for seven years. 

Discussing his overdose, he said: ‘I locked myself in my house and took drugs for three days straight on my own in the pitch black.

‘I was at rock bottom. My heart was beating out of my chest, my nose was bleeding, I was shaking and my breathing was terrible. My family were banging on the door screaming, ‘Open up’ but I wasn’t answering the door to anyone. They feared I’d overdosed and was dead in the house’.

Getting better: Arg has now admitted he is in recovery from a cocaine addiction after being a heavy user of the Class A drug for seven years (pictured last month)

Getting better: Arg has now admitted he is in recovery from a cocaine addiction after being a heavy user of the Class A drug for seven years (pictured last month)

He is now in recovery. 

MISSING PERSON

In August 2014, James was forced to apologise for sparking a police missing person alert when he reportedly went to the ‘wrong airport’ and vanished for 24 hours. 

Fears grew for Arg after he failed to turn up for an early-morning flight to Majorca after leaving his family home in Woodford Green, east London.

Scotland Yard issued a public appeal for his whereabouts, 26 hours after he vanished, while fans began a Twitter campaign with the hashtag #PrayForArg. 

But just three hours later he phoned his father, who told MailOnline he may have turned up at Stansted Airport in Essex while his worried agent waited at Gatwick. 

WEIGHT STRUGGLES

Since his very first appearances on the show, Arg’s weight has been a hot topic, with his many attempts at slimming down becoming a central backbone to his storylines. 

Last year, he admitted his weight struggles could prove deadly , as he revealed: ‘I’ve had check-ups. 

‘My heart’s OK, I have no signs of diabetes and my cholesterol is not too high. But I was weighed and I was the biggest I’d ever been — around 24 stone. I could become ill or die. The swim is an opportunity to sort my life out.’

MARK WRIGHT

 PETROL BOMBING

Cleared: In January 2011, Mark Wright was hurled into court after being accused of using threatening behaviour outside a nightclub (pictured outside Redbridge Magistrates Court, Ilford, at the time)

Cleared: In January 2011, Mark Wright was hurled into court after being accused of using threatening behaviour outside a nightclub (pictured outside Redbridge Magistrates Court, Ilford, at the time) 

In 2010, Mark Wright’s dreams of building a nightclub empire came crashing down. Having launched the Chigwell club Deuces with his friend Jack Tweed – widower of reality star Jade Goody – things ended in disaster.

The fire started just hours after Mark and his co-stars attended the Halloween party at the venue, which was filmed for the show. 

The fire brigade were called to the scene in Chigwell Road at 4.50am after a brick was thrown through a front window.

Police launched an investigation into the cause of the fire and it was treated as suspected arson. 

A Metropolitan Police spokesperson told MailOnline at the time: ‘At 4.50am there was a report of a fire at a licensed premiere in Chigwell Road, Chigwell. 

‘The Fire Brigade attended the dealt with the blaze. There was no injuries reported.’ 

BAR BRAWL

In January 2011, Mark was hurled into court after being accused of using threatening behaviour outside a nightclub. 

It was alleged that Mark ‘saw red’ after hearing Tom Grantham, 21, say he was going to throw a brick through the window of Deuces Bar and Lounge.

The then-24-year-old was cleared of the charges at Redbridge Magistrates’ Court in Essex.  

Jack Tweed admitted common assault in relation to an attack on Mr Grantham on the same night.

Sad story: In 2010, Mark's dreams of a nightclub empire came crashing down when a suspected arson attack saw the club burned down

Sad story: In 2010, Mark’s dreams of a nightclub empire came crashing down when a suspected arson attack saw the club burned down 

LAUREN GOODGER

 PETROL BOMBING

Shocker: In October 2016, Lauren was investigated by police over an incident in TOWIE hotspot Sugar Hut (pictured in 2010)

Shocker: In October 2016, Lauren was investigated by police over an incident in TOWIE hotspot Sugar Hut (pictured in 2010)

In a similar fate to her former fiancé, in February 2012, Lauren Goodger’s salon Lauren’s Way was petrol bombed and attacked by arsonists just hours after opening. 

She detailed on the show her extensive losses in regard to stock and also the emotional impact. 

She said there was about £10,000 worth of damage and she also had to fork out £750 on steel security shutters.

Speaking at the time, she said: ‘I don’t feel safe. I don’t want to be on my own and it’s terrifying to think I was targeted.’ 

A family lived in the flat above the store and Lauren said she was relieved that no one got hurt especially the child. 

She added: ‘Someone could have been killed. It’s just horrible to think someone was prepared to do this – to get me – without a thought for anyone’s life.’

BRAWL

In October 2016, Lauren was investigated by police over an incident in TOWIE hotspot Sugar Hut. 

Essex police released a statement claiming: ‘We are investigating reports of assaults occurring at around 1.30am on Sunday morning, October 9, on the first floor of the Sugar Hut in Brentwood High Street. 

Officers were contacted with reports three women were assaulted.’ No further action was taken. 

Bombed: In a similar fate to her former fiancé, in February 2012, Lauren Goodger's salon Lauren's Way was petrol bombed and attacked by arsonists just hours after opening

Bombed: In a similar fate to her former fiancé, in February 2012, Lauren Goodger’s salon Lauren’s Way was petrol bombed and attacked by arsonists just hours after opening

SAM AND BILLIE FAIERS

 GIRL GANG ATTACK

Bruised: In 2011, Sam and Billie were victims of a horrifying assault by a gang of girls, admitting she thought 'I was going to die'. Sam, then- 20, was beaten until she was unconscious after she was lured to an estate near Chigwell, Essex on false pretenses  (pictured on TOWIE after the attack)

Bruised: In 2011, Sam and Billie were victims of a horrifying assault by a gang of girls, admitting she thought ‘I was going to die’. Sam, then- 20, was beaten until she was unconscious after she was lured to an estate near Chigwell, Essex on false pretenses  (pictured on TOWIE after the attack)

 In 2011, Sam and Billie Faiers were victims of a horrifying assault by a gang of girls, which left the former admitting she thought ‘I was going to die’. Sam, then-20, was beaten until she was unconscious after she was lured to an estate near Chigwell, Essex on false pretenses.

Sam was beaten up shortly after her older sister Billie was robbed and attacked by the same gang in a London nightclub. 

Billie, who was 21, explained how a fun night out turned sinister when the group of girls surrounded her on the dancefloor at the Jet Black club near Tottenham Court Road.

After she was cut by a glass or bottle in the club, the action moved outside, when she was kicked and punched by members of the group. 

She said: ‘They were punching me and hitting me with their high heels when I was on the ground. They pulled my hair and dragged me along the street.

‘I thought, ‘I’m in real trouble now’. No one could help me. They took my shoes, my bag and my phone. I can only compare them to wild animals.’ Part of the incident was videoed and uploaded onto YouTube.

JAMES LOCK 

KETAMINE SHAME

Drug shame: In Feburary 2014, James Lock was arrested on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs and criminal damage after he and another male were involved in a dispute with a taxi driver in Dagenham, Essex (pictured last month)

Drug shame: In Feburary 2014, James Lock was arrested on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs and criminal damage after he and another male were involved in a dispute with a taxi driver in Dagenham, Essex (pictured last month)

In Feburary 2014, James Lock was arrested on suspicion of possessing Class A drugs and criminal damage after he and another male were involved in a dispute with a taxi driver in Dagenham, Essex. 

The arrest led to his temporary suspension from the hit ITV show. 

After being charged, James pleaded guilty to possessing Class C drug Ketamine. 

While he could have faced up to three months in prison, he was instead given conditional discharge and ordered to pay £85 in costs.

RACIST ACCUSATIONS

In 2015, James was cleared after it was claimed he made a racist comment on set.

He was alleged to have used an offensive term against two men during a pool party held at a mansion in Chigwell, Essex.

However, ITVBe bosses confirmed in a statement to MailOnline that no racial abuse took place, saying: ‘We have concluded our thorough investigation and are satisfied that no racial abuse took place during filming on Wednesday 1st July.’

According to The Sun, the men did not complain but a witness who overheard the allegedly offensive remarks reported the incident to bosses. 

A source from TOWIE makers Lime Pictures told the publication: ‘Any issues of this nature are obviously taken very seriously and a thorough investigation is already ongoing.’

 A show spokesman added: ‘The cast member concerned denies these allegations.’

MARIO FALCONE 

COCAINE SCANDAL

Suspended: In June 2014, a video surfaced showing Mario taking cocaine(pictured in 2014

 Suspended: In June 2014, a video surfaced showing Mario taking cocaine(pictured in 2014

In June 2014, a video surfaced showing Mario taking cocaine. 

A source who was present at the time told The Sun: ‘We had been out as a group and wanted to carry the party on. Mario had his own ideas on how to do that, though. 

‘He just started snorting this stuff in front of everyone. No one could believe their eyes.’

After facing a suspension from the show, Mario released a statement reading: ‘I would like to publicly apologise to my loyal family and friends, all of my co-stars on TOWIE, to ITV and most importantly to all of the fans…

‘After a few personal issues, I went off the rails. I have been seeking professional assistance and am now fit and well.’

He later blamed arrogance for the issue, as he said: ‘It was a needed break, I think. I have been doing the show for three years and I think my attitude had become a bit lacklustre. I had become a bit arrogant with it all.

‘I think I needed a reminder that I am very fortunate to be in the position I am in. I am very lucky to be part of the show. So it has helped a lot.

‘The industry we are in and the age I am, you do things that are out of character and very immature and that is part of growing up. I think it was just part of growing up.

‘It is a lesson learned. It is what it is. Legally I have been advised not to talk about it too much. It was hard not to be part of it, and when it came out it was hard, but the support from fans, my family, a lot of the cast, made it a lot easier.’

MIKE HASSINI

That was then: In August 2016, Mike crashed his Mercedes into another Mercedes at a traffic light on Oxford Street, causing it to lurch forward and hit a bus (pictured at t Westminster Magistrates Court in 2016)

That was then: In August 2016, Mike crashed his Mercedes into another Mercedes at a traffic light on Oxford Street, causing it to lurch forward and hit a bus (pictured at t Westminster Magistrates Court in 2016)

DRINK DRIVING AND ASSAULTING AN OFFICER

In August 2016, Mike crashed his Mercedes into another Mercedes at a traffic light on Oxford Street, causing the vehicle to lurch forward and hit a bus. 

He was more than two times over the drink-drive limit when he was pulled over and also in posession of ‘a small quantity’ of cocaine.

He pleaded guilty at Hammersmith Magistrates’ Court to possessing the class A drug, having admitted at a previous hearing to driving with excess alcohol. 

‘He had been acquitted of assaulting a detention officer while in custody. He was ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work, pay £170 in costs and was disqualified from driving.

MONEY LAUNDERING

In May 2018, Mike Hassini was spared jail after he was found guilty of money laundering in a £450,000 diamond investment scam. 

It was revealed that he played a part in a boiler room fraud for bogus firms that conned 28 investors.

The personal trainer, was among 12 people who have been convicted after the offices of firms Bridgewater Associates and RSD Assets that were raided that year. Mike got a 15-month jail sentence, suspended for 18 months, after he admitted money laundering at Basildon Crown Court. 

 He was also ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work after the court heard he previously got suspended jail for drug possession and drink driving. 

DAN EDGAR 

Linked: Dan Edgar was embroiled in a money laundering scandal (pictured in 2018)

 Linked: Dan Edgar was embroiled in a money laundering scandal (pictured in 2018)

MONEY LAUNDERING

In October 2018, three salesmen who sold overpriced diamonds from a company linked to Dan Edgar were jailed for a total of 11 years for a £415,000 investment con.

Martin Ball, Aaron Fay and Sudir Kundi marketed and sold diamonds for inflated prices through Reco Commodities between September 2013 and June 2014.

Dan was described as an operations manager at the London-based company, but he did not appear in court.

Reco Commodities claimed to securely store diamonds for customers in a private vault in Hatton Garden, but investigators discovered only one customer ever received the diamond they purchased.

Dan’s involvement in Reco Commodities emerged after the company was wound up in the High Court. 

He was banned by the court from directing or promoting a limited liability company until 2031.

FERNE MCANN

Shocking: In 2017, Ferne McCann's ex-boyfriend Arthur Collins, with whom she shares daughter Sunday, two, was jailed for 20 years after he squirted acid across a packed nightclub dancefloor

Shocking: In 2017, Ferne McCann’s ex-boyfriend Arthur Collins, with whom she shares daughter Sunday, two, was jailed for 20 years after he squirted acid across a packed nightclub dancefloor

ACID HORROR

In 2017, Ferne McCann’s ex-boyfriend Arthur Collins, with whom she shares daughter Sunday, two, was jailed for 20 years after he squirted acid across a packed nightclub dancefloor.

Arthur, then-25, hurled the corrosive liquid across the club in east London during a tit-for-tat gang war and later branded the crime ‘a silly little mistake’.

The horrific incident left 22 innocent clubbers injured, several of whom confronted him in court, with one woman recalling the moment she felt her skin ‘come off’. 

Handing him a 25 sentence, which included an extended licence of five years, Judge Noel Lucas QC branded Collins a ‘calculating liar’.

He also said Collins had not shown the ‘slightest remorse’ after the ‘deliberate and calculated attack’. 

One of his victims, Sophie Hall, said those who were injured had ‘been left with permanent scars for the rest of our lives’ after the sentencing hearing.

Shocking: Arthur, then-25, hurled the corrosive liquid across the club in east London during a tit-for-tat gang war and later branded the crime 'a silly little mistake'

Shocking: Arthur, then-25, hurled the corrosive liquid across the club in east London during a tit-for-tat gang war and later branded the crime ‘a silly little mistake’

Another victim, Lauren Trent, bravely described the harrowing moment she had to phone her parents on her birthday night out to tell them her skin was ‘coming off’.

Collins, of Broxbourne, Hertfordshire, was convicted of five counts of causing GBH with intent and nine counts of assault occasioning ABH, relating to 14 revellers.

During the sentencing hearing at Wood Green Crown Court, the judge ruled that Collin was ‘dangerous’ – meaning he will serve at least two-thirds of the jail term.

 His family wept and shouted ‘love you, Arth’ after the sentence was delivered by the judge. He winked at his family as he was led to the cells.

Judge Lucas said: ‘Your case has attracted a great deal of public interest. 

‘This is because what you did at the Mangle club on Easter Sunday evening was a despicable act.

‘The conclusion I have come to is that you deliberately carried strong acid into that club to use when the need arised. 

The CCTV showed the wholly cowardly nature of the attack. Mr Collins’ contrived defence is in my judgment significant. It shows him to be an accomplished and calculating liar.’

MARIA FOWLER 

ESCORT ALLEGATIONS

Allegations: In 2011, Maria Fowler was reportedly fighting to stay on TOWIE following reports that she worked as a £600-an-hour escort (pictured in 2011)

Allegations: In 2011, Maria Fowler was reportedly fighting to stay on TOWIE following reports that she worked as a £600-an-hour escort (pictured in 2011)

In 2011, Maria Fowler was reportedly fighting to stay on TOWIE following reports that she worked as a £600-an-hour escort. Bosses at the show apparently warned the then-25-year-old model that if any more seedy revelations were made about her past, she would be off the programme.

A source told the Daily Star at the time: ‘No-one is bigger than the show. While it’s business as usual at the moment, Maria knows that if there are any more seedy stories then she’s out.

‘It will just take one more revelation which doesn’t fit in with the show’s family-friendly image for the axe to fall.’

It emerged that Maria had allegedly met with wealthy men around the world including lawyers, bankers and sheikhs who showered her with gifts.

Under the name Kelly, Maria was alleged to have worked for the exclusive agency Carltons of London from 2009.

But Maria insisted she did not have sex with any of her clients. Her late spokesman Max Clifford told the paper: ‘She signed up to a company which she believed were asking her to carry out promotional work.

‘When the true nature of the work became clear to her she left immediately.’ 

On the show, Maria voiced her heartache over the allegations and later revealed she fell into depression.

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