Ten years ago, ITV changed the landscape of UK television forever, with our very own The Hills-style, semi-scripted reality show following the glitz and glamour of Essex.
And when the bright-eyed stars entered in their late teens and early twenties, little did they know their lives were to change forever, with their love lives and careers laid bare for audiences.
We take a look at how things have changed for the early stars of The Only Way Is Essex…
Mark Wright pictured in 2010 and in July last year
When Mark made his way on to screens, he was a club promoter and semi-professional footballer.
As he would frequently brag about his work in many hotspots ‘up London’, he was the perfect frontman for the show due to his bravado and Lothario ways.
Mark’s womanising played out in TOWIE’s early series, as he was seen to split his time between his long-term girlfriend Lauren Goodger, Sam Faiers and Lucy Mecklenburgh. Memorable moments included Mark choosing Sam over his other love interests in heartbreaking scenes.
In an explosive twist, Mark popped the question to Lauren in a pub car park – prompting the iconic reaction from Lauren’s sister Nicola: ‘Are you having a f**king laugh?’
After proposing to Lauren, the relationship came to a heartbreaking close when he cheated on her with Lucy shortly before leaving the show for good.
Speaking about the demise of their romance in 2011, Mark said: ‘I am not looking for anyone.
‘If it comes along, I can’t help it. But ideally I want to be on my own for at least a few months before I even start talking to someone.’
Pained: Mark’s Lothario ways played out in TOWIE’s early series, as he was seen to split his time between his long-term girlfriend Lauren Goodger (right), Sam Faiers (left) and Lucy Mecklenburgh (centre)
On the up: After leaving the show, Mark went on to star on I’m A Celebrity, before scooping a career as a TV presenter and fitness mogul
After leaving the show, Mark went on to star on I’m A Celebrity in 2011, before scooping a career as a TV presenter and fitness mogul.
He presented Take Me Out: The Gossip alongside Laura Jackson however the show was later axed.
In 2018, Mark moved permanently out in Los Angeles to present US TV show Extra however he cut his stint short when he moved back to the UK the following year.
At the time, he said: ‘I’m no longer living in LA. I was there for nearly two years and had the most amazing time. It just feels like the right time to come back to the UK and live here with my wife and family. I’ll always be grateful to the show Extra for the amazing opportunity they gave me.’
In lockdown, he launched his Train Wright fitness programme with his footballer brother Josh.
In 2015, Mark married Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan in an idyllic ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Bury St Edmonds, where he arrived in a Hummer limo.
His love: In 2015, Mark married Coronation Street star Michelle Keegan in an idyllic ceremony at St Mary’s Church in Bury St Edmonds, where he arrived in a Hummer limo
He has previously gushed to Michelle: ‘You make me so happy and I’m so proud of you. You complete me.’
Mark has hit out at Lauren on a number of occasions when she has brought up their defunct romance in the public sphere. In 2015, he took to Twitter to write: ‘Endless mentions RE: me and us is embarrassing.
‘I really thought after lawyers being involved and polite pleas to stop mentioning me she … Would stop. Maybe not…
‘It’s hurtful to think one person needs to mention YOU every week to earn a living. Being married to another women… If your reading this, please PLEASE respect my wife and STOP.
‘Everyone has a past, get over it !! I really didn’t… Want to have to do this but enough is enough. I’m sure there is other ways…To make money’.
As TOWIE’s 10th anniversary aired on Sunday night, Lauren shared a picture with her ex.
Changing times: After marrying Michelle, he criticised Lauren for using his name in interviews
Lauren Goodger pictured in 2010 and 2019
Lauren nabbed her dream job during her time on TOWIE as she was recruited to organise Essex Fashion Week.
She turned down an oppurtunity to jet to Dubai for the role instead choosing Mark over her work.
She then opened her ill-fated beauty salon Lauren’s Way, which was petrol bombed after it opened.
Lauren turned author when she released her best-selling autobiography Secrets Of An Essex Girl. She lost a staggering amount of weight when she launched her fitness DVD in 2015.
Lauren’s anguish over her love of Mark dominated her storylines and she spoke at length about how she worked through the pain of their relationship and his Lothario ways.
Sweet: Mark proposed to Lauren in a pub car park in 2011
In 2013, Lauren seemed to have found her Prince Charming in boyfriend Jake McLean.
At the time, she was said to have called time on the year-long relationship after numerous bitter arguments, however they reconciled in 2015 before splitting the following year.
Lauren has a tattoo of Mark’s name removed from her bikini line after their split and had to go through the process again when she was inked with Jake’s name.
The stunner found love again with Joey Morrisson, who she ‘met’ while her was in prison serving a 16 year sentence for a string of drug-related offenses.
Lauren – who also had Joey’s name tattooed on her – said of the jailbird: ‘This is the weirdest relationship ever, but it’s exciting and I think that’s why I like it. A bad boy never cheats, a bad boy is very loyal. They’re strong family men, they’ve just got a bit of a naughty side to them.’
Lauren’s romance with Joey hit headlines in 2016, when she revealed having answered the phone at her friend Charlotte’s house she began speaking to the convict and their tumultuous relationship began.
In August 2018 however – shortly before his release – Lauren confirmed she and Joey had gone their separate ways after she had discovered he had been contacting other women during their relationship.
Lost love: In 2013, Lauren seemed to have found her Prince Charming in boyfriend Jake McLean (pictured in 2013)
Lauren has added many strings to her bow in recent months as she has become an adult content creator, trainee cosmetic nurse and fake tan mogul.
Lauren has joined X-rated subscription service OnlyFans, on which admirers pay a monthly fee to see explicit images of stars of the service.
She revealed the news in July, as she took to Instagram to share a snap of herself pouting as she posed for a close-up selfie, the erstwhile reality star wrote: ‘I’ve given in! To all my fans who want to see me on only fans the time is now… subscribe #dailycontent.’
She also sells own range of fake tan and endorses Boombod weight loss supplement.
Lauren has been largely guarded about her current relationship status yet she is working hard on herself rather than focusing her energy on men, as she has started going to therapy.
She revealed earlier this week: ‘I have just had my first therapy session. I’ve always been this girl on Instagram that shows a different side to actually who Lauren is…
‘But there’s so much more to me than what is written, the Instagram pictures… And I think that right now, for me, having these sessions and making it public and sharing it is going to be nothing but a good thing.’
Steamy: After proposing to Lauren, the relationship came to a heartbreaking close when he cheated on her with Lucy shortly before leaving the show for good
Lucy Mecklenburgh pictured in 2010 and earlier this year
Lucy was introduced to the show not only as Mark’s new love interest but also as a fashion buyer.
While Lauren engineered and organised Essex Fashion Week, Lucy was set to show her designs at the event. When Lauren learnt of who Lucy was, she stated: ‘Oh, I though she was really young, sweet and orange!’
Lucy went on to open her eponymous boutique as well as modelling for and endorsing various brands
Lucy’s love life was extremely well-publicised when she burst onto TV screens in 2010 which saw her lock horns with his long-time love Lauren over the Lothario’s affections.
A year later, Mark popped the question to Lauren in a pub car park however their engagement came to a dramatic close when Lucy and Mark enjoyed a dalliance in Marbella, despite Lucy being in the early stages of her romance with Mario Falcone.
In November 2011, history repeated itself again when Lucy cheated on her then-fiancé Mario, who had let her previous dalliance slide due to the infant stages of their love, with Mark yet lied about the latest hook-up for weeks.
Following the bitter dissolution of her relationship with Mario, Lucy later enjoyed a fleeting romance with co-star Dan Osborne, as it was claimed they made a sex tape on their first night together during The Only Way Is Marbs special in 2013.
Later that year, the clan headed to Las Vegas for another spin-off, during which she struck up a romance with Tom Pearce – as it was revealed they had enjoyed a liaison in the back of a limousine during their stint in Sin City.
Shock: A year later, Mark popped the question to Lauren in a pub car park however their engagement came to a dramatic close when Lucy and Mark (pictured in 2010) enjoyed a dalliance in Marbella, despite Lucy being in the early stages of her romance with Mario Falcone
Way back when: In November 2011, history repeated itself again when Lucy cheated on her then-fiancé Mario (pictured in 2012), who had let her previous dalliance slide due to the infant stages of their love, with Mark yet lied about the latest hook-up for weeks
Lucy has moved on from her fashion days to find a multimillion pound business by building her Results With Lucy fitness empire, having found love of exercise while on TOWIE.
Speaking about the idea behind the business, she said: ‘The idea was discussed between myself and Cecilia Harris, my friend, personal trainer and now business partner, during one of our training sessions. We both agreed there was a gap in the fitness market for people like me that were quite intimidated by a gym environment.
‘We wanted to help people who found it hard to stay motivated, train regularly and who struggled with time to get to and from the gym, attend a class or a PT Session. We also wanted to make sure there was a lot of variety and more motivation than a 1 hour kick-start at home fitness DVD”.
Happy days: Lucy has certainly found her happily ever after since leaving TOWIE
Lucy has certainly found her happily ever after since leaving TOWIE.
The brunette beauty met Corrie star Ryan Thomas on Celebrity Island With Bear Grylls in 2017, sparking romance rumours between the pair before they went public with a trip to Wimbledon later that year.
Following a well-publicised romance, with split rumours included, Ryan popped the question to Lucy in June 2019 during an idyllic trip to the Amalfi Coast.
After the engagement, Lucy told OK!: ‘At the start of our relationship, Ryan told me that he couldn’t see himself having any more children. It wasn’t something I pushed at the time because I wasn’t ready to have kids and I assumed that he would change his mind one day.’
Despite this, soon after Lucy and Ryan announced they were expecting their first child before Lucy gave birth to their son Roman in March.
Her love: The brunette beauty met Corrie stars Ryan Thomas on Celebrity Island With Bear Grylls in 2017, sparking romance rumours between the pair before they went public with a trip to Wimbledon later that year
Lauren Pope pictured in 2010 and last year
Long before TOWIE, Lauren was a star in her own right. Lauren was a lads mag favourite for much of the late noughties and her career led her to a rumoured romance with Prince Harry.
In 2007, she launched Hair Rehab London, a range of clip-in extensions she developed alongside Dragons’ Den star Peter Jones.
She has also enjoyed a lengthy career as a DJ, after launching her music in 2007 and becoming an international superstar. She was named Nuts Magazine’s ‘World’s Sexiest DJ’.
Tough times: Lauren started her TOWIE journey with nightclub worker and lead character Kirk Norcross
Lauren joined the show as Kirk Norcross’ love interest in 2010, when he shunned his on-off fling with Amy Childs in favour of the DJ. The couple dated for a year, in which they underwent ‘his and hers’ nose jobs before splitting for good in July 2011, after a tumultuous romance.
In 2012, Lauren hooked up with fresh-faced city trader Tom Pearce in a series of episodes however he later moved on with her pal Lauren Goodger. Lauren was left baffled by his subsequent relationship.
Her next romance came in 2014 with Lewis Bloor, with whom she enjoyed a fleeting fling however things reached a bitter end when she discovered he cheated before they had an explosive row, in which he smugly confessed to sleeping around during their three month relationship but then began to spitefully blast the DJ over her age.
In 2017, Lauren got together with Jon Clark, Lauren enjoyed a brief romance with the hot-headed Love Island winner. At the time, he said: ‘Lauren is unlike any other girl I’ve ever dated – in a good way and I know a lot of people have said our relationship is crazy or strange but maybe that’s the best type.’
Dan Edgar was her next romantic interest, as later that year she and the handsome star were embroiled in a casual romance early, during which he said: ‘Lauren is gorgeous, it’s just one of those things at the moment. It’s really casual and I’m definitely single.’
In 2018, Lauren hooked up with show newbie Sam Mucklow, however their romance was fleeting and they had split up within weeks. Last year, Sam revealed he ‘ghosted’ Lauren after a string of dates.
Oh dear: Lauren has an array of romances on the show (left-right: Lewis Bloor, Dan Edgar, Sam Mucklow)
CAREER Hair Rehab London has only continued to grow for Lauren, as she has soared to further prominence and expanded the business further.
Since becoming a mum, she has also launched The Mum Space By Lauren Pope, an online forum designed to be a safe space for parents’ to chat whenever and about whatever.
Like many reality stars, she also enjoys a string of lucrative endorsements and collaborations.
LOVE LIFE Like her co-star Lucy, Lauren has found bliss after giving birth to her first child, a baby girl, with millionaire boyfriend, Tony Keterman in July. Taking to Instagram to reveal the happy news, she posted a snap of the tot a Polaroid snap of herself and Tony cradling the tot,
Announcing the child’s name and gender, Lauren penned alongside the snap: ‘Our little lady has arrived! Raine Anais Keterman 11/7/20. ‘You really are so perfect little Raine, thank you for choosing me to be your Mummy. We love you so, so much.’
Lauren surprised the public when she announced she was expecting with millionaire boyfriend, Tony Keterman, 33, in March. The former reality star revealed that she still had lots of things to tick off her to do list before the little one arrives and was ‘feeling a bit overwhelmed’.
Hunk: In January, Lauren confirmed her new romance by sharing a sweet snap of her kissing a hunky man
James Argent pictured in 2010 and earlier this year
CAREER Arg shot to fame as the bellowing baritone who performed at every single TOWIE party.
During his time on the show, he formed The Arg Band, where he would perform at weddings and parties.
LOVE LIFE James’ first love on the show was Lydia Bright, with whom he had an extremely tumultuous romance which was fraught and broken by his infidelities.
His rise to fame seemed to impact their relationship and early on in the show’s success he reportedly engaged in a sex act in a club toilet with a fellow reveller.
After year’s of heartache, the couple broke up and he set his sights on Gemma Collins.
The couple had an equally tumultuous time and were fraught with rows throughout their time on the show before they both bowed out.
Happier times: James’ first love on the show was Lydia Bright, with whom he had an extremely tumultuous romance which was fraught and broken by his infidelities
Lovable: Arg shot to fame as the bellowing baritone who performed at every single TOWIE party (pictured in February last year)
CAREER Arg’s career has remained the same following a number of bumps in the road.
After struggling with addiction, he is now in recovery and has a residency at former co-star Elliott Wright’s Marbella restaurant Olivia’s.
LOVE LIFE The star hit headlines in July when it was revealed he and Gemma had ended their relationship after she revealed a string of abusive messages, purportedly sent to her by the TV personality prior to their split.
It’s understood James had made derogatory remarks abut her weight after she suggested that he had bought another woman dinner. The series of texts began with Gemma saying: ‘What man pays for another woman!!!’, while Arg responded by saying: ‘Insensitive.’
Clearly riled, the blonde said: ‘And the woman that saved your life has to pay for herself!!!’ Her next message was masked, but her now-ex responded: ‘You are supposed to be treating me you hippo.’
Moments later, Gemma uploaded another series of messages, where he sent her a plane emoji in reply to a picture of flight details.
‘I’ll take a mate, I’m not booking it. You said you would be a gentleman!’, she penned, before he shockingly said: ‘YOU FAT F**K. IVE JUST LOST ANOTHER 2000’ (sic). He didn’t refer to what he had lost 2000 of.
The self-proclaimed diva has decided to take some time off social media, citing that she was ‘devastated’ and ‘heartbroken’ by the exchange.
Now: Arg has split up from Gemma (left) and has a residency Elliott Wright’s Marbella restaurant Olivia’s (right last month)