Ann Corbitt, Seattle’s number two femme fatale
The woman at the council who slept with Cheryl Cole’s husband. Cheryl who?
The young American woman caught up in the putative divorce of Cheryl and Ashley Cole is a far cry from the girls who have featured in recent sex scandals involving sports stars such as Tiger Woods, John Terry and now Ashley Cole. She is not a nightclub hostess, nor a VIP party organiser, nor even a lingerie model.
Instead, Ann Corbitt is a legislative assistant to city councillor Tom Rasmussen in Seattle - a milieu into which Premier League soccer players in skimpy underpants rarely venture.
The Seattle.gov website, where citizens of the Pacific coast city can go to check on planning laws and get updates on solid waste policy, carries a typically down-home biog and photo of 28-year-old Ann.
"Ann Corbitt has been with Councilmember Rasmussen's office since 2005 after working for the Washington State Senate, United Way and a public-sector executive search firm," the biog reads.
"Ann was born and raised in Bellingham [a city north of Seattle, close to the Canadian border] and graduated from Western Washington University, but now fondly calls Seattle home.
"In her free time, she enjoys traveling the world and keeping up on the Seattle restaurant scene. Ann serves as lead policy staff and clerks the Councilmember's committee."
If the England left-back had read this before going out on the razzle in downtown Seattle during Chelsea's pre-season tour last summer, would he be in the trouble with the missus he's in now?
Intriguingly, while Ann's part in Ashley's downfall is a subject for discussion on Seattle blogs, there is little sign that the locals understand the tabloid status of the footballer's wife.
Caleb Hannan, blogging for Seattle.weekly, is most taken by what Corbitt might have been paid by the News of the World to spill the beans about her one-night stand with Ashley last summer. (When she discovered he was married and had cheated before, she said: "I couldn't believe it. I was so stunned I was hyperventilating.")
Hannan took as his benchmark the £300,000 reportedly paid by the Sunday tabloid to Rebecca Loos in 2004 to dish the dirt on David Beckham. But while Beckham was "transcendent", Cole was "simply a recognisable name" according to Hannan. So he assumed Corbitt would have received a mere £50,000 or perhaps £100,000... "plenty to soften the blow should Councilmember Rasmussen decide to go looking for a new aide".
What Hannan didn't take on board, of course, is that it's the lovely Cheryl Cole's humiliation British readers are interested in - not Ashley in his Y-fronts, about whom we care almost as little as Ann Corbitt did when she first met him in the Seattle Four Seasons hotel bar. ("When he started a conversation about being famous and claiming he was 'hounded by the press' I remember thinking 'You're no Brad Pitt!'" she told the NoW.)
"I'm afraid Seattle doesn't yet get who Cheryl is," a wised-up city resident told The First Post last night. "Seattleites have no idea how famous and loved she is back home. There may be talk in the UK about her being a judge when The X Factor comes to the States, but our media are more preoccupied with who the American judges will be."
And even if the people of Seattle did realise the significance of whose back she was going behind when she spent the night with Ashley Cole, it is unlikely Ann Corbitt would usurp Seattle's current number one femme fatale - 22-year-old Amanda Knox, the student convicted last year of murdering her British room-mate Meredith Kercher in Italy.
Knox's parents were due to appear on Oprah today, the subject of considerable speculation in Seattle, much of it gloomy. "Oprah ain't gonna help here, get real," writes one local blogger. "You think the Italians worship Oprah?" ·
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