X Factor UK Lucy Spraggan Opens Up About Rape During Filming

Lucy Spraggan

Lucy Spraggan opens up about the horrific rape that led to her abrupt X Factor UK departure, and how Simon Cowell helped heal her heart

When 20 year old Lucy Spraggan abruptly left The X Factor UK in 2012 after four weeks of live shows, rumors began immediately swirling that the reason that she departed was much more serious than “illness.”

British tabloids, like The Sun, began reporting that a reality TV star had been raped by a hotel porter sometime during the previous month. “People on the internet are speculating that the unnamed telly star is X Factor’s Lucy. She hasn’t been seen in public since Rylan Clark’s birthday party last week and X Factor didn’t show any footage of ill Lucy in bed or at the doctor’s office (That’s what they usually do.).”

After Lucy left the show, she never addressed her abrupt departure again, even as the porter plead guilty and was sentenced to 10 years in prison. Laws protected Lucy’s privacy. But that didn’t keep the public from gossiping. But now, ahead of a July 20 release of her memoir, Process: Finding My Way Through, Lucy opens up about the horrific rape to The Guardian.

It is worth noting that while she was very angry at X Factor UK producers for NOT protecting her and owning up to negligence, Simon Cowell reached out to her in 2020 to apologize. He signed her to a publishing deal, and the two have grown close. While executive producer of X Factor, Simon did not sit on the judges panel Lucy’s season, as he was in the U.S. working on The X Factor USA.

“They encourage you to be a caricature of yourself”

During the competition, Lucy quickly became known as “the party girl.” That was the angle producers crafted for her. She admited that she didn’t want family strife to be divulged on camera. So, being the girl who gets “pissed out of my head” felt harmless and somewhat authentic. “You tell producers things about yourself, and they say, ‘The public is going to love that.’,” Lucy said. “They encourage you to be a caricature of yourself.”

However, it turned out to not be so harmless, as the personna involved her and fellow contestant Rylan Clark creating drunken mischief off camera, which the show tacitly endorsed and the public lapped up. The two not only bonded over raising hell, but competing as queer contestants on a TV talent show. Producers eventually kicked them out of the hotel where the contestants were staying. Lucy and Rylan figured out that the expulsion was part of their bad kids “storyline.” But unfortunately, the two were isolated at their new digs, where security was not as stringent.

“I knew my role: get drunk, do something funny, appear in the headlines the next day,”

Soon after, Rylan celebrated his 25th birthday at Mayfair nightclub Mahiki. X Factor crew, journalists and paparazzi were all there to capture the ensuing chaos. “By this stage, I knew my role: get drunk, do something funny, appear in the headlines the next day,” Lucy said.

Eventually, Lucy passed out. She was escorted back to the hotel by a production assistant, where a hotel porter offered to help get Lucy back to her room. As they left, the porter flipped the security latch on her door to prevent it locking behind them. Some time later, Rylan checked in on a still unconscious Lucy. He was careful to lock the door behind him.

That meant that when the porter returned to Lucy’s room later to attack her, he had to use a traceable key card. “I woke up the next day with this sense of sheer dread,” she said. “I don’t think I’ve ever felt that level of confusion since. I knew that I’d been raped, but I could not process that. So I put my clothes on and went into autopilot.”

Lucy wanted to share what happened, but people said to her “You have your whole career ahead of you and you can’t retract this.”

X Factor production reported the rape to police, and the porter was quickly apprehended. After the assault, side effects of Pep, a drug to prevent HIV, made Lucy too sick to continue on the show. Initially, Lucy wanted to share publicly the reason why she departed. “At first I said, ‘Just tell them what happened.’ But I realised straight away that it wasn’t going to be so simple. I remember various people saying, ‘You have your whole career ahead of you and you can’t retract this.’”

Lucy’s X Factor mentor, Tulisa Contostavlos spoke with her afterward. “I was grateful that she’d come to see me,” said Lucy. “but I felt like I had no independent advice.” She added, “I got the impression that she was saying that it would be a stain. But I don’t know if she was regurgitating something someone else had told her to say. I had no idea until I started writing the book that she was only a couple of years older than me.”

While the show offered Lucy assistance in the immediate aftermath of the rape, after the trial, they didn’t step in to help. “No one ever contacted me to ask if I was OK,” she said.No one called or emailed when the trial was over and he was convicted. No one offered me rehabilitation or ongoing mental health treatment. I was on my own.”

X Factor producers did not believe they were negligent

After the competition, Lucy threw herself into work, where she found chart success. However, she drank, drugged and struggled with suicidal thoughts. After the label dropped her in 2014, she attempted suicide. Later that year, Lucy met her ex-wife Georgina who nursed her back to health She continued to drink, but managed to pick up her career again.

It was the death of X Factor UK host Caroline Flack in 2020 that finally persuaded her to go public. Eventually, she began writing what became her memoir. Her research led her to reach out to ITV, Fremantle and SYCO. ITV eventually responded. They apologized that her experience on the show had been “an unhappy one,” but disagreed that X Factor UK producers and the network had been negligent. “After 10 years of healing, I then had a huge corporation say, ‘We never gave a s— about you in the first place,’” she said, “It cracked me. For a second I thought, ‘Oh yeah, I am a piece of s—. Nobody ever did give a f—. I’m not worth anything. I’m not even worth a proper apology.’”

Simon Cowell reached out with a heartfelt apology. “Instead of breaking my heart, he helped put it back together again.”

But then, soon after, Simon Cowell reached out. At first, Lucy didn’t want to speak with him. But then she felt it might be worth telling him off. Surprisingly, Lucy said, “instead of breaking my heart, he helped put it back together again.”

“I have thought about you many, many times over the years, about what happened to you, about how I should’ve been there for you,” he told her. “I want you to know that I am truly, truly sorry.” Now, signed to a publishing deal with his company, Lucy added, “The ‘sorry’ that Simon chose to give me closed one of the most uncomfortable chapters of my life.”

Simon told the Guardian that what happened to Lucy was “horrific and heartbreaking” and that, “when I was given the opportunity to speak to Lucy, I was able to personally tell her how sorry I was about everything she has been through. Although we met under tragic circumstances, a genuine friendship and a mutual respect has developed between us. Lucy is one of the most authentic, talented and brave people I have ever met. I have always supported her wish to tell her story as well as her efforts to bring about positive change.”

“Once you feel worthy, you see things for what they are”

Lucy has been sober for several years, in a relationship and getting ready to release her 7th album. She will support Robbie Williams on his next tour.

“Once you feel worthy, you see things for what they are,” said Lucy. “You see success for what it is, because it’s so subjective. At one point, success for me meant getting out of bed. Then it was playing Glastonbury. Now it’s being a lesbian succeeding in the music industry. I’m really happy with the things I’ve achieved, and I have to attribute my successes to me. I’m not just ‘that girl’.”

About mj santilli 34998 Articles
Founder and editor of mjsbigblog.com, home of the awesomest fan community on the net. I love cheesy singing shows of all kinds, whether reality or scripted. I adore American Idol, but also love The Voice, Glee, X Factor and more!