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Anyone read this?

(19 Posts)
lou33 Sun 21-Mar-04 19:35:56

Not sure if this is the right place to put it, but , omg how depressing.

From today's sunday times:

March 21, 2004

Three babies at 17? So what
Teenage mother Courtney Cassidy has achieved notoriety but she tells Margarette Driscoll that at least she waited until she was 14 to have sex

The heavy wooden door is unvarnished and has a metal clasp for a padlock: the original was kicked down by the police, who mistakenly thought the flat belonged to a drug dealer.
It begins to open, ever so slowly, and a little voice chirrups: “Come in, come in.” Two-year-old Laina-Leagh appears. I ask where Mummy is: it turns out she hasn’t heard the door as she is out on the balcony smoking a cigarette and finalising arrangements for the Tonight with Trevor MacDonald programme.

The landline is ringing too. It’s probably This Morning or Trisha, or the Daily Sport, who want her to do some “glamour modelling”. Ever since Courtney Cassidy’s extraordinary sexual history became public last week — a first pregnancy at 14 and the mother of three children by three different fathers by 17 — she has become a cross between a national hate figure and a minor celebrity.

Middle-aged female columnists have been fulminating over her stupidity but there are plenty of people queueing up to hear her story. She admits she’s loving it and while the prospect of topless modelling is “scary”, it’s not out of the question. “I’d love to be like Jordan,” she says.

It’s probably the first time in her life anybody has paid Courtney any real attention, so it’s not surprising she is thrilled at the prospect of being whisked off by the television people to spend a night in a smart London hotel. Home is pretty bleak: a tatty flat on the top floor of a council block on the outskirts of Leicester.

To get there, the babies’ buggy has to be dragged up four flights of concrete stairs. Inside the flat there is more concrete, covered with a couple of grubby rugs in the hall and a stained carpet in the living room. But the children are friendly and nicely dressed.

“I know people look down their noses at me but they don’t have any right to judge me,” says Courtney defiantly. “I love my kids. There’s heroin addicts and all sorts out there who have kids and no one cares. I see older mums with kids with dirty hair and snotty noses. My kids are always clean and tidy.”

Courtney, now 18, doesn’t see anything wrong in what she’s done. Quite the opposite. She met her first boyfriend, Thomas Potter, just before her 12th birthday. They were taking part in a school Red Nose Day event, where you had to pay 20p for a kiss. She felt she was too young to have sex — though she knew girls of her own age who were sleeping with their boyfriends — so she waited till she was ready. At 14.

There is no point in talking sex education here. For one thing, it started too late — Courtney was already pregnant — and seems to have consisted mainly of a teacher demonstrating how to put on a condom, which Courtney says primly is “just encouragement to have sex”.

In any case, she wanted a baby. Laina was responsibly “planned”. Courtney got pregnant, as she wanted, the first time she had sex. “I’d always wanted a baby,” she shrugs. “I don’t know why, just always did.”

Potter didn’t feel the same. He was there for the birth but they split up two weeks later. “I told him I wanted a baby. He just said, ‘It’s up to you. Do what you want, but I’m not ready’.”

Julie, her mother, was angry when she found out but Courtney was by then 4½ months pregnant and Julie’s moral authority is — to put it mildly — weak. Courtney herself is one of four children by different fathers. Her older sister, Emma, also got pregnant at 14 and has a seven-year-old daughter, Jade.

“Mum kept changing her mind,” says Courtney. “First she said, ‘Have an abortion’, then ‘I’ll support you’. But she wasn’t happy about it. She wanted me to live my life.”

Courtney went to a special school for teenage mothers at Leicester Royal Infirmary. “I wasn’t the youngest, not by a long chalk,” she says. “There was a girl of 11. We used to go swimming together. We made friends.” When it was time to go back to proper school she lasted only a few weeks, then dropped out. “I hated it. I missed my little girl.”

Shortly after Laina’s birth, Courtney and her mother had a falling out and Courtney moved into a hostel.

But soon there was another baby on the way. Lennon, now 19 months, was fathered by a stranger. When Laina was six months old Courtney went clubbing with friends, got drunk and slept with a man whose name she doesn’t even remember: “When I woke up in the morning, he was gone.”

When she sobered up, she realised that having unprotected sex wasn’t such a smart idea. It’s a measure of just how ignorant she is about contraception that she borrowed “three or four” contraceptive pills — not even morning-after pills — from a friend, thinking that would be okay.

A couple of months later she bought a pregnancy testing kit in Leicester’s Haymarket shopping centre and headed for a toilet. The test was positive. “I was shocked for a minute or two,” she says. “Then I thought, ‘Hey ho, another baby’.”

She smiles at the memory. The weight of responsibility that bears down on any middle-class couple expecting a baby — already wondering how they’ll afford to get their child through university — doesn’t figure here. Another baby? More benefit. She and her boyfriend John King currently draw £620 a month. At the suggestion that she might feel guilty about living on other people’s money, she looks blank. It’s what everyone does.

The idea that a child might need a stable family, with a mother and a father, is outdated. “You don’t have to be in a long-term relationship,” she says. “If you’re ready to settle down and have a baby, just do it.”

And why would she think otherwise? Her own father was in prison when she was born and “didn’t want to know”. The only father-figure she has known is Mark, the father of her younger sister, who was around the family until Courtney was about five years old. But he too drifted away and lost contact. “I know my kids will be okay because I am, and I was always brought up by my mum.”

John, 20, is the father of her third child, Layton, born five months ago. They met at midnight outside a branch of McDonald’s when Lennon was two weeks old. They went home together and have been together (barring a couple of arguments) ever since.

John apparently thought he couldn’t have children because of a childhood illness, so they didn’t use any contraception. But he, unlike the others, has stuck around. And though he too has a chequered background — he got involved with gangs in his home town of Shrewsbury, fell out with his family and ended up sleeping rough — this odd little group has formed an approximation of a traditional family.

“He’s loving, caring, funny, just my ideal man,” says Courtney. “He’s great with the children. I can’t fault him.”

So settled is she that she is even dreaming of getting a job. She has booked a part-time computer course at Leicester College, which she hopes will help her join the police. One of these days she might even get around to getting a coil fitted. Her family is complete: “Three’s enough.” Or so she says . . .

PipBeckett Sun 21-Mar-04 19:42:44

That's frightening and yes, very depressing.

suzywong Sun 21-Mar-04 19:46:54

anyone got any suggestions for names for any of her subsequent kids, they must start with L and be relatively new to the world of children's names ... anyone?

emmatmg Sun 21-Mar-04 19:48:46

Since having children myself and finding out how hard it is I actually admire anyone who can do it alone, especially young girls like Courtney.

Yes it is very sad that she hasn't had a good education but from what I've read here she really does do her best by her children and that's all anyone can hope for.

Hope I don't get shouted at now.

suzywong Sun 21-Mar-04 19:51:04

I agree, I was only saying today hats off to anyone who does it single handedly without losing the plot.

lou33 Sun 21-Mar-04 19:58:01

Still depressing.

PipBeckett Sun 21-Mar-04 20:01:23

Suzywong - what about Lashonda for a girl and Lekeke for a boy?

spacemonkey Sun 21-Mar-04 20:03:47


I always thought Labia was a lovely name for a girl ...

suzywong Sun 21-Mar-04 20:04:29

I like Lashonda, not certain about the other one, sounds a bit like a car starting (hope you have not named your child or any of your immediate family this name and I am causing offence)
Or how about LaJoniQua or Ludd

suzywong Sun 21-Mar-04 20:05:19

SPLUTTER@ spacemonkey
Lingus, Litoris, L'sex?

mummytojames Sun 21-Mar-04 20:35:00

sorry but imo kids having kids she is still to nieve to have children she might love them i dont doubt that but i dont thik the reality wich comes with haveing kids like the cost

Paula71 Sun 21-Mar-04 20:54:35

It is a sorry state when young girls feel their only contribution to their life will be having children. She should thank herself lucky it is three children she has and not three STDs.

Stupid yes, ignorant yes. I cannot believe with all the information out there that young ones (I am just over 30 I can say that now!) still don't realise using condoms is not just to prevent pregnancies!

I had two school mates who had babies (both boys) aged 14/15. Neither regret their boys and have done superb jobs in both cases but both regret not having a life outwith nappy changing. Regardless that one became a nurse and the other an office worker I have heard both of them say at some point or another that their life has to revolve around their boys, a tie they couldn't possibly break.

Just because you can be a young single mum doesn't mean you should.

JanH Sat 18-Sep-04 23:47:21

I just came across this looking for lou's celebrity plastic surgery website (no luck so far); anyway must mention that DD2 is currently working in a care home with a 23-yr-old mother of 3 boys, aged 7, 5 and 3, called Levi, Lachlan and Leighton...[mad smiley]

Courts85 Sun 28-Jun-15 11:08:33

Hi to all I'm Courtney the one with 3 kids well saying that had another 3 so now got 6 one was a cot death at the age of 9 months pls talk bk to me x

Courts85 Sun 28-Jun-15 11:09:38

And I still love adore every previous moment with my baby's and I really want to go on big brother because I will win it hahaha.

Garlick Sun 28-Jun-15 11:21:11

Courtney's 28 now. Your article is from 2004.

Here's another quote from the papers in 2004:

When her eldest child is 21, Courtney will still only be 35 - the age many women start fretting about babies. Which makes me wonder: in baby terms, is Courtney really in the worst situation (too young, too broke), or are there nastier things that can happen to a woman?

For instance, would you rather be a 35-year-old career woman worried that having a baby might result in you being dumped on the slow track? Or some woman wondering which one of the scary berks she's meeting at speeddating would make a nice 'Daddy'? Or maybe you'd prefer to be one of those women who spend their fertile years with a man who 'doesn't want children', split up, then watch destroyed from the sidelines as he procreates his chinos off with the next lady friend?

The point being that there are plenty of ways a woman can screw up, or be screwed up, when it comes to the vexed issue of babymaking.

Garlick Sun 28-Jun-15 11:22:58

Just seen your posts, Courts smile Blimey, you have six?! I'm sorry about the cot death - must have been awful.

Squidzin Mon 29-Jun-15 11:01:43

Big brother ?
Yes u could probably win it smile
Live and let live lol.

Squidzin Mon 29-Jun-15 11:03:21

So sorry for your loss.

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