As the beloved daughter of billionaire parents, and the heiress to the Topshop fortune (estimated at $4.92 billion), it’s not hard to imagine what Sir Philip and Lady Tina Green might think of their daughter’s new boyfriend, the “hot felon” Jeremy Meeks.
Meeks, attentive readers will recall, first came to prominence after his arrest in 2014 during a gang sweep in Stockton, California. Police posted his mug shot on Facebook and inadvertently created a media star after the picture of a smoldering Meeks went viral with the hashtag, “hot felon.”
Meeks was convicted on felony charges of possession of a firearm and grand theft and sentenced to 27 months in prison, but upon his release in March 2016 he parlayed his notoriety into a modeling career.
Green and Meeks have spent the summer, according to their Instagram accounts, hopping from one yacht to another.
This week, they took things a step further by posting a picture of Chloe with a large diamond on her ring finger.
Despite a quickly issued denial via her rep that they were engaged, the British media has been having a field day—not least because Meeks has only recently separated from his wife and mother of his 7-year-old son.
The billionaire Green family are familiar targets of British media ire.
Let’s start with Daddy Bear; Sir Philip Green, the Topshop founder, a hardworking, self-made London boy, who was rewarded with a knighthood by the queen for his wonderful services to the British economy via his revitalization of its once-moribund high street fashion sector.
As is often the way with apparently wildly successful businessmen, Green turned out to have feet of clay. Once the toast of the retail world, he fell from grace in 2015 after it emerged he had sold the once-venerable high street brand British Homes Stores to a dubious consortium of failed businessmen for £1, who promptly stripped it of assets and closed it down, leaving a huge black hole in its pension fund.
Frank Field, a Labour MP, told the BBC that Sir Philip—by now renamed “Sir Shifty”—was “responsible for the destruction of 11,000 jobs and putting 22,000 pensions at risk.”
Critics calculated that Green and his family had collected, quite legally, some £586 million from the company in dividends, rental payments, and interest on loans over their 15-year period of ownership of BHS.
Green, who was facing calls to be stripped of his knighthood, eventually ended up contributing £363 million—on a voluntary basis—to the BHS pension bailout, but this has done little to quell the disgust and revulsion in which Green is held in the U.K.
The media spent much of the summer running pictures of the tubby, sweating billionaire aboard his £100 million superyacht Lionheart, on which he entertains fashion royalty such as Kate Moss, contrasting his leisurely lifestyle with the hardship endured by BHS pensioners.
His wife, Lady Tina Green, fares not much better in the court of public opinion. Routinely described as a “shameless” billionaire businesswoman by the Daily Mail and other outlets, Lady Tina said to be worth a cool $5 billion, lives in an apartment in tax-free Monaco, but spends much of her time on one of the superyachts she owns with her husband.
Completing the game of happy families is Miss Chloe Green, the fashion retailer’s daughter, who has been teasing her followers on Instagram about the status of her relationship with Meeks all summer.
Meeks and Green reportedly met during the Cannes Film Festival in May, where Meeks was modeling for designer Philipp Plein.
It’s not hard to see the attraction: During 2017 fashion week, when Meeks made his runway debut appearance, Vogue called him a “buff bad boy.”
Meeks, 32, appeared to have made the jump from fashion plate to celebrity billionaire heiress’ boyfriend after pictures emerged of him kissing Green on a yacht in Turkey in June.
Two weeks ago, Meeks posted an Instagram of himself with Green, showing them at the Barbados carnival, and a string of other images followed, culminating, this week, in the picture of the two of them with Chloe sporting a large diamond on her ring finger.
The papers went mad; not least because Meeks is still married.
Despite the fact that Meeks filed for separation from his wife in July, and had been in jail for over two years before that, the moral arbiters of the British media could barely hide their delight that another member of the Green family could now be beaten with an entirely new stick: home-wrecker!
This is not to say that Meeks’ estranged wife Melissa, with whom he has a 7-year-old child, wasn’t pissed and upset.
She posted a message on Instagram which read: “I fed mouths that talked shit about me. I wiped tears from the same people that caused mine. Picked up people that tried to knock me down. Did favors for those who couldn’t do shit for me. Been there for the ones that left me. Crazy? Maybe.”
Any casual observer would suggest that the anger in Melissa’s Instagram message is directed at her reckless husband, but the Daily Mail uncovered a different angle when they got Melissa on the phone. Although she was quoted as saying: “I know it takes two to tango” the Mail majored on the home-wrecker angle, quoting her as saying: “She knew he was married. To me, that’s unforgivable. My whole world has been torn apart by this. What do I tell our children? My heart is broken.
“What sort of woman would do something like this to another woman? My marriage wasn’t perfect but I thought it could be saved, until this happened.
“Of course I’m angry at her. What she did is unforgivable. And I’m angry at him too. What they did destroyed my entire world.”
It’s a familiar take on a narrative as old as it is sexist: married men who sleep with unmarried women are thoughtless idiots, but unmarried women who sleep with married men are utterly beyond the pale.
It’s interesting to contrast the apparent apportioning of blame made by a Melissa-source to Hollywood Life, an American website without the same axes to grind against the Green family as the British media has.
“Melissa has major doubts about Jeremy’s sincerity or integrity in his current relationship with Chloe,” a source described as being “close to the former couple” told the outlet. “But Melissa has vowed to take the high ground. For the sake of their kids, Melissa will not speak ill of their father, despite her doubts about his current relationship lasting. Melissa fears Jeremy is just using Chloe but she hopes, for Chloe’s sake, she is wrong.”