It started out innocently enough (ahem) with an affair. Okay, it appears that this part actually happened. And the truth is that the media at large would not have batted an eye if not for the fact that the married man in question was none other than Ryan Giggs, a footballer that has been with popular club Manchester United for twenty years…oh, and he’s cited as the most decorated footballer in not just the club’s history, but the history if football in England. So yeah, he’s kind of well known. Unfortunately for Thomas, he also happens to be married (not that he seems that invested at this point).
But when the story broke, outing Thomas’s affair, it failed to mention Giggs by name, saying only that she was seeing a famous footballer. At the time, she had just hired herself a well-known publicist, Max Clifford. Fearing that she was trying to sell the story of her romance, Giggs (filing under a pseudonym) sought an injunction against The Sun (which had run the original story) and against Thomas herself, claiming that she was trying to blackmail him in order to keep the story out of the press. He alleged that she had asked for money to purchase a flat just before the story ran, which made him suspect that she had ulterior motives and that she was, in fact, the source for the story. As it turned out, he was wrong, but the injunction stuck.
Of course, the media went wild. The tidbit in The Sun might have gone virtually unnoticed if not for the fact that Giggs basically gave it credibility by trying to quash it. But once the media was aware not only that Thomas was actually seeing a “high profile” baller, but that he had accused her of blackmail, there was no stopping the train. And rather than reporting that the former beauty queen was allegedly blackmailing her former flame, or that she had only been accused of such, the media treated her as though she had already been tried and convicted (while continuing to speculate on the identity of the mystery man, although in truth, Giggs’s name was at the top of the list all along). So what happened?
Ultimately, Thomas was exonerated. She was able to prove that she wasn’t responsible for the story and that she had in fact hired a publicist with the intent of keeping the story out of the tabloids. Further, she claimed that Giggs had actually offered to help her get a flat. So the blackmail suit was dropped, along with all pretense of protecting Giggs’s identity. Ouch. In a statement following the hearing, Thomas stated that she was happy to be vindicated, but kept a tight lip regarding the relationship. Apparently she’s got more class than anyone (including Giggs) gave her credit for.