by -
Tom Knight


At Sell My Story, we can’t get enough of must-read, drop-everything stories. We love reading them almost as much as we love writing them!

Here’s an insider’s view of some of the most sensational real-life, tell-all stories from recent memory.

1: Amanda Knox

In October 2011 the eyes of the world were on a Perugia courtroom as Amanda Knox stood in the dock, waiting to hear whether she would be exonerated. Four years before, she had been arrested for the murder of British student Meredith Kercher. Even as she was led out of the courthouse in shocked tears following her acquittal, we were already curious to know how and when we would hear the full story of her “terrifying” experience. Major publishing house HarperCollins eventually won the right to share her memoirs, agreeing to pay the 24-year-old £2.5 million in return for an “unflinching account”.

2: Kate McCann

Not many stories have had a greater effect on the public than the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, who vanished while on holiday in Portugal in the spring of 2007. In those upsetting first weeks, everyone had their own thoughts, ideas and observations to share. As the months rolled by and the nightmare scenario came true, curiosity gave way to simple and heartfelt sympathy for the parents, Kate and Gerry, who came to be admired by millions for their bravery and dignity. Kate’s 384-page book, simply titled Madeleine, was published after she signed a multi-million-pound deal. All proceeds from the sale of the book, which underlines Kate and Gerry’s belief that their daughter is still alive, go straight into the fund to find her.

3: Alastair Campbell

New Labour’s famous spin-doctor threatened to blow British politics wide open with his memoirs, The Blair Years. It was the first diary from an insider at the heart of Tony Blair’s government to be published and, for that reason, attracted a huge amount of interest from news organisations and the general reading public. The book, published by Random House, became an instant best-seller, spawned a BBC2 series, and won a string of top awards.

4: Amanda Holden

The Britain’s Got Talent judge went through an experience which resonates with lots of women – a pregnancy nightmare. On January 23rd 2012 the celeb gave birth to her daughter, Hollie, by c-section. But in the course of the procedure the star suffered a catastrophic hemorrhage which saw her lose 15 litres of blood – and very nearly  her life. Once the family was safe, thoughts turned to the inevitable deal. So, here we had a high-profile personality, with a gripping real-life story to share, on the weekend The Sun was launching its new Sunday edition. Although we can’t say for certain, some bloggers have estimated that she earned £400,000 for her story. Wow.

5: Diana, Princess of Wales

As tell-alls go, they don’t come much bigger than this. The famous 1995 BBC Panorama interview marked the first time Diana Princess of Wales spoke openly about her marriage to Prince Charles, his affair with Camilla Parker-Bowles and her own affair with her riding instructor, James Hewitt. Little details revealed to reporter Martin Bashir – her battle with bulimia; her desire to be the “queen of hearts” and her relationship with the rest of the royal family – have since become central to her legacy. An estimated 15 million people watched the interview, which was conducted without the knowledge of the Queen. The fallout was explosive. The BBC chairman was said to be furious and the head of the press complaints commission, Lord Wakeham, suggested that Diana would only have herself to blame if she was hounded by the tabloids – a startling thing to say, in hindsight.

6: Faria Alam

In the summer of 2004 it was revealed that Sven-Göran Eriksson, who was manager of the England national football team at the time, had an affair with Faria Alam, a secretary working for the Football Association. In what has since been described as the “most embarrassing scandal in the FA’s 140-year history”, it was claimed that she had been offered money to reveal the affair as a way of distracting journalists from another story – her fling with FA chief executive Mark Palios, who eventually resigned. She made £500,000 through a package deal with the News of the World, the Mail on Sunday and ITV before appearing on Celebrity Big Brother in 2006.

7: Jade Goody

Her image in the wake of the Big Brother racism scandal was repaired over the course of her battle with cervical cancer and her final days were met with an outpouring of sympathy and admiration. Jade agreed to the publishing of a “love letter” from her to her sons Bobby and Freddy in exchange for a “substantial” payment to her estate, to make sure her family had enough money after her death. Forever in my Heart, published by HarperCollins, was a best-seller and also raised funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care.



What do you think of our list? Have you got any memories you’d like to add? Let us know in the comments below!

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