Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Truth about Kylie's Ex-Boyfriend; His Relationship with the Aussie Singer Propelled Him into the Limelight - and the Arms of Nearly Every Girl in London. but Who Exactly Is James Gooding?

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The Truth about Kylie's Ex-Boyfriend; His Relationship with the Aussie Singer Propelled Him into the Limelight - and the Arms of Nearly Every Girl in London. but Who Exactly Is James Gooding?

Article excerpt

Byline: ZOE BRENNAN

FOR two years Kylie Minogue has had a handsome shadow.

With a 6ft 1in frame, smouldering good looks and inch-long stubble, James Gooding seemed to be a permanent fixture. But then it was over, and when they recently ended their relationship after two and a half years, Gooding could have been expected to disappear like so many other bits of male arm candy.

But he has surprised everyone.

Since their break-up in June, you will have seen him pictured alongside Sophie Dahl, Martine McCutcheon, Sara Cox, Jodie Kidd, Stella McCartney ...

You might even know that he's a male model.

Such is his ability to attract celebrity dates, The Sun has named him the James Gooding Escort Agency.

So who is James Gooding, and are his family right when they claim that the "Kylie effect" has ruined the once-ambitious 27-year-old, whom Kylie described as "my delightful scruff from Essex"?

"All anyone is interested in is Kylie," his sister Claire White, 21, tells me. "In his own right, James is a talented photographer and writer, who is doing exceptionally well. It just so happens that he's been with someone incredibly famous, and his life has been swept along with that. It's been very annoying for him.

"He has the right to go to parties without being snapped at every opportunity, because it puts him in a bad light and it's not him. I met Kylie, she's lovely, but James is very intelligent, he would have been a lawyer if he hadn't become a model, and I wish he could get on with his life without being portrayed as a party-boy, a womaniser and a cad."

For his family, James's rise to fame has been nothing short of extraordinary. It was less than 10 years ago that he was serving burgers and kebabs at The Aquarius Steak House in his home town of Walton on the Naze.

His parents split up when he was young, and Gooding became a troubled youngster - expelled at the age of 15 after four years at the pound sterling5,000a-term Rannoch boarding school in Perthshire, Scotland, for breaking a curfew.

He is remembered there as unpopular; he says he just wasn't "posh enough".

His father, David, from whom he is now estranged, sent him back to live with his mother in Essex.

Happier alongside his seven step and half-siblings, James finished his A-levels at the nearby state school, Tendring High, where he was an accomplished student, excelling both academically and at his passion - rugby.

At 18, he secured a place to study law, but before he got to pack his books, he accompanied a friend who wanted to be a model to the London offices of Elite, and the rest is fashion history.

"I was skulking in the background, and they said: 'Who's your friend?' It just sort of happened," he recalls. He moved to London, and after a year flew to New York for a casting and stayed nearly four years. …

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