When she first joined TOWIE as a bubbly bikini-clad blonde in 2015, Kate Wright and her on-off boyfriend Dan Edgar were known as the Essex Ken and Barbie.
After making her debut on the Marbella season 16 special with friend Mike Hassini, the former bank business support manager also made it clear that she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind – as costars Megan McKenna , Chloe Lewis and Amber Turner soon found out.
The 26-year-old found herself slap bang in the centre of a fight with Megan after calling her a dog, twice. To make matters worse, she then asked Megan’s boyfriend Pete Wicks if he had been buying dog treats in the supermaket. Meow.
"I know you’re fuming about the comment I made at the pub quiz but I was only joking," she later told a miffed Megan, who branded it a ‘s***’ joke.
But Kate stood her ground, arguing, "I thought it was quite funny. Everyone in the room laughed. It was a banter night."
She later clashed with Chloe, refusing to make friends after the latter kissed Dan, and she was equally hacked off when Amber did the same thing.
Even though she was no relation to TOWIE OG’s Jess and Mark Wright, she was already good buddies with the uber-fiesty Gemma Collins, and had been dating Dan since they met on holiday in Ibiza in 2010.
He ditched her in 2014 after landing his own gig on the ITVBe series, and when she followed a year later, she had to watch him get off with Lauren Pope and Jess Wright before they got back together… AGAIN, and split… AGAIN in season 18.
But she got her own back when she revealed Dan’s bestie Jon Clarke had been leaving drunken voicemails on her phone, sparking a huge blow-up between the boys.
And in a bid to really stick it to Dan, Jon accused Kate of also having it off with his friend.
"She’s been sleeping with my mate," said Jon. "I wanted to tell you."
But Dan wasn’t sure.
"I need to know if you’re telling me the truth," he questioned. "I don’t know if I can trust you. As far as I’m concerned I’ve been made to look like a complete p****."
But the merry-go-round of TOWIE tonsil tennis came to an abrupt stop when Kate quietly started dating ex-footballer Rio Ferdinand in January 2017.
Rio – whose wife Rebecca had tragically died from breast cancer two years earlier – was holidaying in Dubai when he met Kate at a friend’s BBQ, and asked his children Lorenz, 11, Tate, nine and six-year-old daughter Tia if he could ask her on a date.
"The kids are a really big part of our relationship, everything we’ve done we included them – from the first date, to me moving in, to asking me to be his girlfriend," she recently revealed on This Morning.
That March he was spotted leaving her home in Brentwood, Essex, and a friend told The Sun that after the devastation of losing his wife, he had finally started ‘getting closer’ to Kate.
Keeping quiet about the rumours, the couple was spotted strolling hand-in-hand with Tia in July 2017, the same month that Rio sadly lost his mum Janice St Fort to breast cancer.
She sweetly took part in Cancer Research UK’s Race For Life with Rio’s sister Sian, and in August Kate and Rio finally went public, sharing adorable snaps from a family holiday to Portugal.
However, keen to keep her boyfriend and his children away from the reality spotlight, she banned any mention of Rio from the show before quitting TOWIE entirely to look after his kids full-time last September.
“I’m taking a step back from the public eye, I want to keep my life private as I lived my previous relationship on Towie, my priority right now is Rio and the family," she told The Sun.
Cutting ties with numerous brands, her former agent Terry Mills wished her well in her new role as step-mum.
“I’m delighted that Kate has found Love and we fully respect her decision in waiting to take a step out of the public eye," he said. "We wish her all the best of luck in the future.”
And while Kate admitted that winning the children’s trust hadn’t been without its challenges, Rio recently revealed they adore her.
"My relationship with Kate has helped in that they have got a female in the house now," he told The Times.
"They run past me sometimes to go to her. I’ve had to go through a period of being very, very open, and men aren’t normally like that naturally.
"So having that extra person in the house who is female, who has that softer touch, I think is vitally important for the kids."
And looking back on her shock decision to quit her career for love, Kate said she doesn’t regret a thing.
"When I did that everyone thought I was crazy. But they had lost their mum, they didn’t need a woman who was out everywhere," she said.
"They need someone at home to give them love."
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