On July 16, 2014, the cocaine trial of former "X Factor" U.K. judge Tulisa Contostavlos began at Southwark Crown Court in London. According to the Telegraph, the trial's testimony on the first day included details about how an undercover reporter for The Sun conned Contostavlos into thinking that she was being considered for a movie in which she would co-star with Leonardo DiCaprio.
According to the prosecution, the elaborate ruse resulted in Contostavlos offering to set up a cocaine deal worth £800 for The Sun reporter Mazher Mahmood, who was posing as a movie producer named Samir Khan. According to the testimony, Contostavlos was so fooled by the con that she thought that she would get the movie role over acclaimed actresses Keira Knightley and Kate Winslet, who have won numerous awards for their acting. Contostavlos has very little acting experience, except for roles in a few little-seen independent British movies.
Contostavlos is accused of being a go-between for Michael Coombs (also known as rapper Mike GLC), who sold cocaine to Mahmood at the Dorchester Hotel in London on May 23, 2013. Coombs pled guilty to the charge of supplying cocaine.
In opening arguments at Contostavlos' trial, prosecutor Timothy Cray told the court: "She thought he could get her a part in a big movie that was coming up and it seems that she was keen to be in his good books and be friendly with him ... The defendant said she used cannabis to help get to sleep ... and that she had connections to drug dealers. She then went on to say that one of her ex boyfriends [Adam Bailey] was a major cocaine dealer ... And that back in her young days, she had been part of a gang that sold crack cocaine."
On Dec. 9, 2013, Contostavlos was charged with "being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs," specifically cocaine, according to a BBC News report. The formal charge from the Crown Prosecution Service comes six months after Constostavlos (who is 25) was arrested in June 2013 for allegedly being involved in a deal to sell cocaine to an undercover reporter for The Sun. She pled not guilty on Dec. 19, 2013, during an appearance at Westminster Magistrates Court in England.
Her attorney Ben Rose issued this statement: "In due course, Tulisa will give a full answer to these allegations in court ... This case is not simply about drug supply. It is about the limits which we set on the conduct of journalists."
Contostavlos' mansion in Hertfordshire, England, was searched by police on June 4, 2013, the day that she was arrested in London on suspicion of supplying cocaine. The arrest came two days after The Sun published an explosive story about how one of its undercover reporters caught Contostavlos on video setting up a £800 cocaine deal. She also allegedly bragged that it was easy for her to set up transactions for illegal drugs such as cocaine and marijuana because "half the guys I know are drug dealers."
Mike GLC, 36, was also arrested as part of the sting operation, and he faced the same charge as Contostavlos. The Sun reported that it had undercover video of Mike GLC completing the cocaine deal that Contostavlos allegedly set up. In the undercover video footage, Contostavlos allegedly describes Mike GLC as a "massive cocaine dealer" and "my best friend." The Sun reported that it handed over the undercover video and other evidence to the authorities.
As previously reported, an unnamed source told The Sun: “Nobody has seen her this low before. A possible jail sentence and end to her career if she is found guilty is killing her. She’s strong, but it will take a lot to get her through this. Tulisa just sits in one chair downstairs all day and night, rocking back and forth saying, ‘My life is over.’”
Contostavlos was a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. in 2011 and 2012. She was fired from the show in 2013, a few months before her arrest. Contostavlos was replaced by Sharon Osbourne, who was originally a judge on "The X Factor" U.K. from 2004 to 2007. Osbourne quit the show again in 2013 and was replaced by Cheryl Cole.
At the time of Contostavlos' arrest, she had been planning a reunion with her hip-hop group N-Dubz, but those plans have now obviously been put on hold.
But according to a video from one of The Sun's undercover reporters, Contostavlos says she really wants to quit the music business. The Sun reports that she says in the video: “It’s all a big game. I call the industry 'a big fat ugly cow.' I want to get out of that. I want to get away from that. I’m kind of like almost gagging for an opportunity to go. I don’t want to do that any more — but I have a £6 million mortgage to pay.”
In April 2013, The Sun and The Daily Mirror reported that Contostavlos spent time in Los Angeles to pursue a career as an actress. She has already had roles in a few independent British movies that have not been widely seen: 2011's "Demons Never Die," 2011's "Big Fat Gypsy Gangster" and 2009's "Dubplate Drama."
According to the Mirror's Sunday People, she was duped into thinking that she was getting £8 million for the lead role in a Bollywood film in which she would star as a woman from London who moves to India. Contostavlos was even flown to Los Angeles and Las Vegas and had meetings in London for discussions about the role. But it was all an elaborate hoax from con artists that was exposed a few days before Contostavlos was arrested, according to the Sunday People.
An unnamed source told the Sunday People: “Tulisa says that they have played with her life. She’s shocked, destroyed and devastated. It still hasn’t sunk in. She feels like she’s been completely set up and that what has happened has messed with her life. She now feels like she can’t trust anyone at all — even some of her closest friends.
“She was so excited about making the big announcement. She even had the contract ready to sign. When she found out that there had never been a job all along last Saturday [June 1, 2013], she was devastated. She couldn’t believe it. She has been so sad all week and is stressed and depressed by it all.”
Meanwhile, Tulisa's estranged father Plato Contostavlos, who says he has not spoken to her since 2010, told The Sun that he and his mother are “devastated" over her arrest, and that his mother was so upset that she had a severe panic attack when she heard about the arrest.
Tulisa's parents divorced when she was 10. Her mother, Anne, has gone public with having bipolar disorder and spending time in and out of psychiatric institutions. There was a documentary about it called "Tulisa: My Mum and Me," which aired on BBC3 in 2010.
Tulisa mother and Tulisa's older half-brother, Neil Jones, have not publicly commented on Tulisa's arrest. As previously reported, Tulisa and Jones (who have the same father) met in person for the first time on March 3, 2013. Jones, who was raised by his mother and his stepfather, did not know the name of his biological father until his mother told him this year.
In July 2013, Contostavlos returned to social media by posting "makeover" photos of herself on Instagram and posting messages on Twitter. She tweeted that she spent her 25th birthday (July 13, 2013) partying in Ibiza. Contostavlos has been seen out at events such as the 2013 V Festival, but has kept a lower profile in celebrity media since her arrest.
As previously reported, Contostavlos was part of a bizarre incident in September 2013, when she was targeted by the extreme right-wing group English Defence League, which has been filming propaganda messages outside her £6 million mansion in Hertfordshire, England. According to a report published by the Sunday People on Sept. 22, 2013, Contostavlos was so unnerved by the English Defence League being on her property and staking out her home that she contacted police and has fled to a a friend's home.
The English Defence League has posted a video on YouTube about a march being planned by the group. At the end of the video, English Defence League leader Tommy Robinson (whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon) is seen standing outside Contostavlos' mansion and saying, "Who lives in a house like this?” Robinson is then shown walks toward the mansion's gates.
According to the Sunday People, Contostavlos first noticed Robinson and a cameraman outside of her home on Sept. 5, 2013. She then had her personal assistant Garet Varey call police when she saw the two men again outside of her mansion again after 10 p.m. BST on Sept. 11, 2013.
The Sunday People reports that "four cop cars and a dog raced to the scene." However, no one was arrested, probably because the outdoor space occupied by Robinson and the cameraman was technically a public space, not part of Contostavlos' private property.
Hertfordshire Police official told the Sunday People: “We were called at 10:23 p.m. to reports of suspicious behavior of two men in a vehicle outside a property. Both men were spoken to. As a precaution, we also searched the area. We were satisfied no crimes had occurred.”
Robinson, 40, tweeted after the incident: “It was just me and a camera guy who is making a documentary. Her side kick @GarethVarey started piping up cos we was making a 3 min vid in a lay by outside.”
An unnamed source told the Sunday People how Contostavlos has reacted to the incident: “She’s really shaken up – she has no idea why the EDL targeted her. She’s absolutely not a supporter of the EDL but she’s never said anything publicly about them, so feels pretty victimized. Initially, she tried not to let it bother her. But finally she had enough and called the police. She didn’t know what to do.”
An unidentified "friend" of Contostavlos added, “She knows being in the public eye can bring unwanted attention but she was really worried by the EDL. She’s been advised to stay away until she feels safe to go back.”
As previously reported, Contostvalos was also the target of a stalker, who was arrested on June 12, 2013. The stalker (a 24-year-old man whose name was not made public) had allegedly delivered threatening messages to Contostavlos at her home. A Hertfordshire police spokesperson told the Daily Mirror: “The man was served a first warning for harassment. He was released with no further action and all parties involved are satisfied with this.”
According to the Daily Mirror, the alleged stalker trespassed on Contostavlos' property by putting messages in her mailbox on June 11, 2013. The alleged harassment then escalated to him knocking on her front door and yelling out her name. The suspect also allegedly harassed her on Twitter.
An unnamed source told the Daily Mirror after the stalker was arrested: “She is at an all-time low. T is a girl whose professional life is in tatters. This guy started hounding her daily since the drug fixing story broke. He started knocking down her front door in the middle of the night and Tulisa was utterly petrified. This is the last thing she needs to be dealing with right now.”
The Daily Mirror reports that Contostavlos' mansion has a security system that somehow the alleged stalker was able to get past.
According to the Daily Mirror, Contostavlos is now selling the mansion for an asking price of £4.5 million.
In March 2014, Contostavlos was tainted by another drug scandal, as her live-in personal assistant and close friend Gareth Varey was arrested in London for selling cocaine and for possessing marijuana. The Daily Mirror reported the news on March 4, 2014.
She has not publicly commented on Varey's arrest, which came nine months after her own arrest for selling cocaine. Contostvalos and Varey live together in a North London apartment. She has said in many interviews that Varey is her "best friend" but that they are not dating each other. Varey used to be a backup dancer for Contostavlos' hip-hop group N-Dubz.
Scotland Yard issued this statement about Varey's arrest: "Police have arrested a 28-year-old man in Barnet on suspicion of being concerned in the supply of Class A drugs and possession of cannabis."
Varey has been accompanying Contostavlos to her court appearances.