We all know Meghan Markle was an actress before becoming a Duchess, but did you know she had a stint on the popular game show Deal or No Deal? That’s right: she was one of the show’s “briefcase girls,” opening boxes and reacting with either an exceptionally cheesy grin or an over-exaggerated look of heartbreak. And if you’re wondering what she was really like before all of the royal drama, her co-star on the show Lisa Gleave has spilled all the beans.
Meghan joined the American iteration of Deal or No Deal a year after its debut in 2005. At that point, the future royal was in her mid-20s and had already gained experience on the small screen as an actress. But those skills didn’t really come in handy for the game show.
As we know, Meghan was one of the show’s many briefcase girls. There were, you see, 26 of these numbered boxes that the contestants had to choose from. And each one contained different amounts of money. The aim of the game was to keep the highest figures in play, so that you’d be more likely to walk away with a life-changing sum. In fact, the largest prize on offer was a whopping $1 million, so the stakes were always extremely high.
Once the competitors had selected their respective suitcases, the girls overseeing those boxes would be filmed opening them up. From there, they’d unveil the hidden sum to the cameras. Meghan was assigned three different numbered briefcases during her stint on Deal or No Deal, but the future duchess’ job ultimately remained the same.
The format proved to be hugely successful in the United States, and Deal or No Deal earned nominations at both the Daytime Emmys and Primetime Emmys. It also picked up a People’s Choice Award for Favorite Game Show in 2008 as well. Despite this success, the program concluded a year later, only enjoying a brief revival back in 2018.
As for Meghan, she was only on the show for a short period and left the role in 2007, only a year after she’d joined. The future royal didn’t feature too prominently, either – only appearing in 34 episodes over the course of more than 200. But that wasn’t the end of her on-screen success, and not long after, the then-aspiring actress starred in programs such as ’Til Death and 90210.
In the summer of 2020, though, everyone was reminded of Meghan’s stint on Deal or No Deal thanks to a woman named Lisa Gleave. She was a briefcase girl at the same time as the royal, and it took her over a decade to share some details about her famous co-star’s attitude at the time.
Unlike Meghan, Gleave started her acting career very early on. Yes, she made her acting debut just three years after she was born on the Australian Gold Coast in November 1976. The film that she starred in was called Take Down. The actress then had to wait until 2002 for her next on-screen credit. And this time, she appeared on The Price is Right game show.
Gleave was named as one of the models on The Price Is Right that year and featured in 40 episodes. She also had the same role on The Price is Right Million Dollar Spectacular in 2003. And once she left those shows behind, an opportunity opened up for her on a reality TV program called Bikini Destinations.
In 2005 Gleave appeared in an episode of Reno 911!. And in the years that followed, the actress worked on several film and television projects. It could be argued, though, that her most famous role was on Deal or No Deal.
Gleave was one of the original briefcase girls when the show started back in 2005. And she became a regular fixture during its first run on the small screen – holding box number three. Plus, by the time the show ended three years later, the model had featured in just under 190 episodes.
Evidently, Gleave would’ve crossed paths with Meghan when the future royal joined the program in 2006. But the Duchess certainly wasn’t the only notable name on Deal or No Deal during that period. The multi-talented model Chrissy Teigen made her television debut on the show, too.
Teigen was given the role of “banker’s model,” though she left Deal or No Deal in 2008 to pursue other opportunities. Since then, the star has tried her hand at acting and producing. And her personal life took an exciting turn in 2013 when she tied the knot with music star John Legend.
Teigen looked back on the show during an interview in February 2018 – around a decade on from her first TV role. The actress was a guest on Watch What Happens Live when the subject came up, you see. And the host, Andy Cohen, had a very specific question regarding her royal co-star.
Cohen told Teigen, “I saw online that you and Meghan Markle were Deal or No Deal models around the same time. Did you ever work with her? And did you ever guess that she would be marrying into royalty?” And her response shed light on why her role differed so much from the one that Meghan took on.
Teigen replied, “I think [Meghan] came in the second season or so. I did from the pilot season to first, but then I got demoted because I couldn’t walk down the stairs. Like I literally was fired, well not fired, but I couldn’t be a ‘briefcase girl’ so they made me a ‘banker girl.’” The model then divulged what she remembers about Meghan’s personality at the time.
“It was a very blurry time,” Teigen continued. “But I keep telling John, ‘That could’ve been me!’ Everyone wants a good story [about Meghan], and I’m like, I just remember [she was] very quiet and sweet. I got nothing. [She was] really kind, and I don’t say that about anybody.”
A few months after that interview, Teigen spoke about Meghan again when she sat down with the British newspaper the Daily Mail newspaper in November 2018. The model began to share her thoughts on the royal family before focusing on her former co-star and shedding more light on what she was really like.
Teigen informed the paper, “I am especially a fan of Meghan. I was on Deal or No Deal with her and she was lovely. Now everyone asks me what she was like and I say, ‘Sorry, no dirt. She’s gorgeous.’ I love the freshness she brings, and her cookbook Together is my only pre-order of the year.”
“It’s beautifully done, and you can tell how important [the book] is to [Meghan],” Teigen added to the publication. “You see how she interacts with people and gets down to eye level with kids.” And another of Meghan’s old Deal or No Deal colleagues shared their experience with the royal.
Yes, none other than the face of Deal or No Deal, Howie Mandel, revealed his opinion about the Duchess and his experience working with her back in 2006. He presented the show until its initial conclusion in 2009 – ahead of coming back for the revival nine years later. During that gap, Meghan married into the royal family – and Mandel humorously suggested that he wasn’t surprised.
Mandel told reporters during the Television Critics Association’s Summer Press Tour in August 2018, “[Meghan] was slightly duchessy.” But the host had some kind words to share, too. Yes, he believed that the other briefcase models on the show had the potential to follow in Meghan’s footsteps.
Howie noted, “[Meghan’s position] speaks to who we have now and who we had then. Not everybody will have the opportunity to meet royalty, but these are all accomplished people [who] have something substantial. They’re not just standing there holding a case. They have careers, they have hobbies [and] they have families.”
“[The briefcase models are] entrepreneurial – they’re all people,” Howie continued. “So, when somebody like [Prince] Harry meets somebody who just happened to be on our show, there’s a lot to offer.” And the executive producer of Deal or No Deal was also asked about Meghan during that same media talk.
Much like Teigen and Mandel, Scott St. John reflected on his experiences with Meghan when she was on the program. He reiterated the model’s views about the Duchess of Sussex, though the producer also admitted that he couldn’t have predicted her royal rise.
Scott informed the media, “[Meghan] was not involved in many episodes, but I did remember her. She was a very nice person. I can’t say that I saw anything – I actually think all the women on our show are special. [But] she actually developed a relationship with someone in the royal family.”
“And there were qualities that [Harry] saw in [Meghan] and she saw in him,” Scott added. “That’s all that mattered – it doesn’t matter what we saw.” But while his nice words lined up with Mandel and Teigen’s comments, someone else offered a slightly more detailed view of the actress’ time on the program.
That’s right: Lisa Gleave sat down to talk with Australia’s Gold Coast Bulletin newspaper in 2020. And over the course of their chat, the model felt the need to touch upon Meghan’s demeanor and attitude on the set of Deal or No Deal.
To begin with, Gleave seemed to echo some of the previous comments regarding Meghan. She told the publication, “[The duchess was] quiet but very sweet. I remember her being very focused on her acting career, and her role as a briefcase beauty – as we were called – was just a stepping stone in her career.”
Lisa went on to add, “[Meghan] only did a few seasons and then landed her role in Suits which took her away. I was so happy for her when I heard about the marriage.” Even though the hit legal drama didn’t start until 2011, it seems Meghan’s sting on Deal or No Deal had helped get her career to where she wanted to be.
After leaving the game show, Meghan scored a couple of roles and appeared in two different TV movies in 2008. She then featured in four more projects the following year – starting with an appearance in an episode of Knight Rider.
Meghan subsequently popped up in shows like Fringe and Without a Trace. And she then starred alongside Robert Pattinson, Pierce Brosnan and Emilie de Ravin in the romantic drama Remember Me, which hit the big screen in 2010. But she certainly wasn’t ready to part with the big screen yet.
Meghan, you see, followed up these appearances with some other film and television work, before she scored the part of Rachel Zane on Suits. And it turned out to be a defining role in the end, as the future royal featured in more than 100 episodes of the show. But her run eventually concluded in 2018 when she became the Duchess of Sussex.
Interestingly, Meghan opened up about her work as on screen to Esquire magazine prior to joining the British royal family. The interview took place in July 2013 – coinciding with the start of Suits’ third season. And during their talk, the future duchess made an interesting point regarding her character’s drive to succeed.
Meghan told the publication, “I think each of our personalities have really become peppered into our characters. I’m a foodie in real life, so the creator made Rachel a foodie. There are certain elements about my sense of humor that have started to become much more of Rachel’s character. We pride ourselves on being well-educated. And we don’t want to sell ourselves short.”
Meghan also outlined her relief when looking at the success of Suits at that time. She continued, “We’ve been really lucky that not only have we had a strong following from the beginning, but USA is the number-one [cable] network, and we’re one of their number-one shows.”
“I feel so fortunate because as an actor you spend so much time just trying to get a job,” Meghan noted. She then turned her focus to Deal or No Deal, covering similar points to those that are mentioned in Gleave’s 2020 interview.
Meghan, you see, also made sure to express a begrudging appreciation for the suitcase model role. She said that the job quickly opened her eyes about the direction of her career, and it strengthened the duchess’ passionate resolve to make it in the world of acting.
Meghan said, “I would put that in the category of things I was doing while I was auditioning to try to make ends meet. I went from working in the U.S. Embassy in Argentina to ending up on Deal. Definitely, working on Deal or No Deal was a learning experience, and it helped me to understand what I would rather be doing.”
To conclude, Esquire pondered if Meghan carried the $1 million box on the show. She responded, “I didn’t ever have it. I was the ill-fated number 26, which for some reason no one would ever choose. I’d end up standing there forever just waiting for someone to pick my number so I could sit down.” Of course, the duchess has no such problems now.
Now, as we know, Kate Middleton never set her sights on becoming an actress. Having said that, her public persona is always impeccably polished and poised. It’s very likely, therefore, that she acts somewhat differently when she’s able to let her guard down. And one person who spends a lot of time with the Duchess in a relaxed setting is her hairstylist, and he shed light on what she’s really like when she’s off duty.
Most people have no problem conjuring a mental image of Kate Middleton if they hear her name. Indeed, she and her husband Prince William have royal duties that keep them in the public eye. What we don’t know, though, is what the very private pair is like behind closed doors. But that all changed in 2020 after the duchess’ hairstylist Richard Ward gave a rare glimpse into her personality.
Richard has made a name for himself in the U.K. and beyond thanks to his hair-cutting connection to the royal family. He and his team work with Kate, as well as the Countess of Wessex, Sophie Rhys-Jones. Richard also has a list of celebrity clientele who visit the A-list stylist’s salon in London’s glitzy Chelsea neighborhood.
But it’s Richard’s relationship with the Duchess of Cambridge that gets people curious. What’s Kate like when she sits down in the chair for a haircut or style? Richard – who perfected her wedding-day coif – has kept much of that to himself. But now, he’s revealing what it’s like to deal with Kate and her husband, too.
Kate and William have kept much of their personal lives under wraps, but we do know some of the major plot points in their courtship, marriage and royal life. They met in 2001 as first-year students at the University of St. Andrews, where they both lodged in St. Salvator’s Hall residence.
Sparks didn’t really fly between them until the following year, though. Rumors claim that William paid around $240 to get a front-row seat at an on-campus charity fashion show. And one of the ladies strutting the runway was Kate, who stomped down the catwalk in a sheer dress.
The night of the catwalk may have been when sparks started to fly, but neither Kate nor William have confirmed the suspicions. In fact, in 2002 Hello! magazine even reported that the future king was moving off-campus and into an apartment with three co-ed friends. The publication even described one of the roommates as “a pretty 20-year-old brunette,” but it didn’t realize that she was actually the prince’s future wife.
It took two more years for the press to catch onto Prince William’s collegiate romance. At that time, he and Kate headed out for a ski trip in Switzerland – and the paparazzi captured the couple on film together. So, when it came time for them to graduate from St. Andrews in 2005, the world knew that Kate had stolen the royal’s heart.
Neither William nor Kate spoke out about the seriousness of their relationship, but the press began to speculate that they were more than just college sweethearts. That’s because the two went to Laura Parker-Bowles’ wedding together in 2006. The bride’s mother Camilla is Prince Charles’ second wife, so attending the event as a couple was seen as a big deal for them.
As their relationship got more serious, though, Kate and William had the press to contend with, and the private pair hated that the paparazzi followed them constantly. It got so bad that the future duchess had lawyers issue a warning to photographers in January 2007 that they would pursue legal action if their non-stop pursuit continued.
But Kate’s legal threats fell on deaf ears. Instead, photographers captured pictures of her grabbing a coffee on her way to work, and the Daily Mirror published them. This pushed the St. Andrews graduate to file with the Press Complaints Commission, and the tabloid apologized for its decision to use the photos. Clearly, though, the non-stop press attention had riled Kate up.
Media pressure was believed to have been one of the reasons why Kate and William pulled the plug on their relationship in 2007. Since then, the duchess has noted the importance of their brief split. She told Sky News in 2010, “I think I at the time wasn’t very happy about it, but actually it made me a stronger person…”
Kate continued, “You find out things about yourself that maybe you hadn’t realized. Or I think you can get quite consumed by a relationship when you’re younger. I really valued that time for me, as well, although I didn’t think it at the time, looking back on it.” Of course, as we know now, a reconciliation was on the horizon.
The reconciliation rumors started when Kate went to a July 2007 tribute concert in honor of Princess Diana, and she sat a couple of rows behind her ex-boyfriend William. The prince didn’t say much about his college sweetheart’s appearance at the show. According to Hello!, he only said, “I’ve got lots of friends coming. Everyone’s going to be there on the night and it’s going to be a very good night.”
Even though they tried to keep their rekindled romance under wraps, rumors swirled about Kate and William after the concert. Someone even claimed that the future king had given his college girlfriend a key to Clarence House – his official royal residence. Then, the pair jetted off to the Seychelles and booked out an entire resort to maintain their privacy.
Kate and William reportedly checked into the hotel under faux names – Martin and Rosemary. According to Hello! magazine, a Seychelles-based source said at the time of their trip, “They thought it would be fun to use joke names. They are enjoying pretending to be an ordinary young couple in love on a romantic holiday.”
To safeguard William and Kate’s privacy even more, the son of the Seychelles’ president even stepped in. He created an exclusion zone around the island on which the pair stayed, keeping outsiders away. As such, people wondered if this might be it – perhaps the couple would come back engaged or even married.
But it would be some time longer before we’d be hearing wedding bells. First, Kate and William hit the slopes in Switzerland again, this time with a so-called Royal Protection officer for the Prince’s girlfriend. According to the lifestyle publication, a source said, “It speaks volumes about the seriousness of the relationship she has with the royal family… They are very much together.”
The pair finally solidified their relationship with a ring in October 2010. William popped the question to Kate on a trip to Kenya, he confirmed in an engagement interview with Sky News at the time. The prince went on, “We had a little private time away together with some friends, and I just decided it was the right time, really. We’d been talking about marriage or a while, so it wasn’t a massively big surprise, but I took her up somewhere nice in Kenya.”
The big day came on April 29, 2011, and the world tuned in for a rare glimpse at royal life. A whopping two billion people reportedly watched live as Kate and William exchanged their vows in London’s Westminster Abbey. And after the couple became husband and wife, the church bells then rang out for three solid hours.
Perhaps the bells were a signal that the party for William and Kate had just begun. Of course, few details about the celebration are known. But Queen Elizabeth held a luncheon for 600 people, and Prince Charles held a night time reception for 300 guests complete with food, drinks and dancing the night away.
For her part, Kate looked effortlessly beautiful, and her beauty routine on the big day was more hands-off than you’d think. She donned a pair of Alexander McQueen dresses, changing into something more manageable for the party portion of the day. But the duchess did her own makeup, although she did opt for help with her hair, which she also changed midday.
Since her wedding, the duchess has become a style icon, but her royal appearances shed little light on the life that she and William lead when the cameras stop rolling. And, of course, it’s not just the two of them; as of 2020 the couple have three children. George came first, and his parents stepped out for photos on his birthday in July 2013.
Next came Princess Charlotte, who joined the Cambridge clan in May 2015. Interestingly, she became the first royal baby to earn the “Princess” title in a quarter-century. And she remained fourth in line to the throne even after the birth of her brother Prince Louis in April 2018. A law passed five years prior – the Succession to the Crown Act – changed the age-old custom that baby boys hopped ahead of their sisters in the queue to become king or queen.
In April 2020 William and Kate took to their official Instagram page to commemorate their ninth wedding anniversary with a photo of them on their wedding day. The post garnered love and support from their family members and fans alike. For instance, Princess Eugenie – William’s first cousin – commented with a heart-eye emoji.
And fans chimed in to comment on the wedding Instagram picture, too. One excitedly wrote, “That’s our future king and queen.” Another said that she was also celebrating on April 29, commenting, “Congratulations to this beautiful couple, best wishes for many more healthy and happy years to come! My husband and I share our wedding anniversary with you, for us this was 31 years!”
Another voice who chimed in on Kate and William’s anniversary was Richard Ward. The well-known hairdresser has long looked after the duchess’ hair. Perhaps most notably, he served as the duchess’ stylist on her wedding day – helping her transition her hair from a half-up, half-down chignon to an enviable blowout later in the day.
Richard’s April 2020 interview with People wasn’t the first time he had spoken out about working with the Duchess of Cambridge. In the past, though, his disclosures have been more style-centric than anything else. In March 2018, for example, Richard spoke to the Evening Standard about how he’d managed to get the future queen’s hair so bouncy and shiny.
Richard explained that the duchess’ signature style “is all about bounce and lashings of gloss, with lots of volume and movement through the ends.” To mimic it at home, he said that “having hair that’s in good condition thanks to regular trims, as well as a decent hair dryer with a nozzle and real bristle round brush are essential to making it look fabulous.”
Still, this People interview – and many of Richard’s other press pieces – focused more on hairstyling than the duchess herself. But in 2020 the celeb stylist divulged some details about what she’s like behind the scenes, and she’s quite different to what her public persona might suggest. First, though, he spoke about Kate’s wedding day.
As the duchess’ hairstylist, Richard spent the morning of April 29, 2011, with her. But even that time together did little to prepare him for seeing her arrive at Westminster Abbey. He said, “When [Kate] got out of the car and I saw her properly in the dress, the whole thing. I couldn’t even speak, she looked so unbelievable.”
Richard also recalled styling the duchess’ hair before she went to her wedding reception in 2011. At that time, of course, she wanted to wear her hair in her signature bouncy blowout. And the hairdresser got a little help on the job from an unexpected royal – Prince William himself.
William lent a hand because Richard had a problem – one very specific to a wedding thrown by the storied royal family. He explained, “I wanted to show Kate the back of her hair [getting ready at Clarence House for the evening party] and I was struggling to walk with this 500-year-old mirror.”
As Richard attempted to carry the priceless mirror, William stepped in to help. The hairdresser recalled to People, “He just said, ‘Let me give you a hand,’ and I said, ‘No, no, honestly.’ But he took one end and I’ve got the other and we’re shuffling along with this mirror – he’s great, he really is.”
Richard got to know both Kate and William in the lead-up to the wedding, and he told People how grounded the royals really are. He said, “The first time I went ‘round to their house, it was actually William [who] made me a cup of tea! That was very nice.”
And the hairdresser had only nice things to say about Kate, too. Perhaps surprisingly to those who see her polite, poised side, he revealed that the Duchess has a “wicked sense of humor.” He went on to say, “It’s quite dry, there’s no airs and graces – you can have a good joke with her.”
Since Richard’s interview, the public has had a closer look at Kate’s humble nature. In May 2020 Vogue lauded the duchess’ “down-to-earth glamour” as she maintained her royal duties remotely. She logged onto one webchat wearing a cozy cardigan with her hair casually pulled back – an undoubtedly relatable style for others on the call.
Kate and William later recorded a message for the U.K.’s Mental Health Awareness Week, which kicked off on May 18, 2020. Their address broadcasted across the country’s radio stations at the same time, and it told listeners that they had support available to them if they felt alone.
Both the duke and duchess delivered important messages during the radio broadcast. William said, “We’re all connected. And sometimes just talking about how you’re feeling can make a big difference. So right now, let’s join together across the U.K. and reach out to someone.” Kate added, “If you’re struggling, it’s important to talk about it. Or if someone you know is acting differently, it’s okay to ask how they are. Use this moment to send a message.”
Royal expert Katie Nicholl has lauded this and other recent efforts by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge. She told ET in May 2020 that the pair have been “stepping up to the plate.” Plus, Nicholl said, “We’re seeing them letting their guard down.” The couple not only made themselves more visible but had recently shared lots of videos and photos of their kids, too.
Nicholl said this boded well for the future of the U.K. and its relationship with William and Kate, who’d one day be king and queen. She concluded, “It’s uplifting for Britain, particularly for royalists, to see what the future of the royal family is going to look like. The royal family has gone to great lengths not to be seen to be aloof or distant or unrelatable.” And that’s precisely the type of person the duchess is, according to her longtime hairstylist.