The rise and fall of Meghan and Jessica Mulroney’s friendship: How did the Canadian stylist go from being a royal BFF to airbrushed out of the Sussexes life?
- Meghan Markle and Jessica Mulroney became fast friends in Toronto, Canada
- But after 12 years, FEMAIL looks at the highs and lows behind suspected ‘rift’
- READ MORE: Duchess of Sussex’s ‘former BFF’ Jessica Mulroney pays tribute to the friends who ‘love and stand by her unconditionally’
She was once her ‘très cool and va va va voom pritaaaaay’ gal-pal – but it would seem the friendship between Meghan Markle and her stylist bestie Jessica Mulroney has cooled over the years.
The duo, who are thought to have known each other for just over a decade, were at one point joined at the hip.
Meghan, 41, and ‘Jess’, 43, took sun-soaked trips to Positano, gushed about one another on social media, and were pictured at a number of high-profile events together.
The pair were so close it’s believed Meghan phoned the stylist the night Harry proposed – before having her play a key role in her royal wedding.
However in recent years, their relationship appears to have become stilted.
In 2020, a ‘white privilege’ scandal saw Jessica lose her illustrious gig at Good Morning America (GMA) and be cut off by Canadian TV network CTV – and rumours began to swirl that her friendship had cooled with Meghan.
So how did the fashion savant go from seemingly being her first call after getting engaged to allegations of a rift?
Here, FEMAIL takes a look at the rise of friendship – and the 2020 influencer scandal thought to have caused its suspected fall…
2011 – 2015: BLOSSOMING FRIENDSHIP
Jessica is believed to have met Meghan in 2011, while the actress lived in Toronto to work on the hit legal drama Suits.
The McGill University graduate had worked in PR and as a wedding planner, and previously founded the Shoebox Project – a charity initiative that distributes shoeboxes full of gifts to women in need.
While she was still living in Toronto, the Duchess was regularly pictured at glamorous events with the Canadian mother-of-three.
Meghan was all over the stylist’s social media page years ago, and Jessica is even understood to have helped pick out the wedding dress for Rachel Zane – the Duchess’s character on Suits.
Meghan was all over the stylist’s social media page years ago, and Jessica is even understood to have helped pick out the wedding dress for Rachel Zane. Both pictured in 2016
Jessica is believed to have met Meghan in 2011, while the actress lived in Toronto to work on the hit legal drama Suits. Duo pictured in 2015
Royal expert Katie Nicholl told Cosmopolitan in 2018: ‘They went to the same yoga and Pilates and became firm friends.
‘Meghan really looks up to Jessica. She thinks she’s a talented person, a wonderful mother, and a great best friend.’
Jessica also helped introduce Meghan to some of her famous friends, including singer Michael Bublé.
In Finding Freedom, the authors write that Jessica and her husband Brian were the city’s ‘hottest young power couple.’
They explain: ‘After the women were introduced by a local fashion publicist, Jessica not only encouraged Meghan to follow the same path but also introduced her to an exciting, fizzy social scene filled with high-profile charity events, the openings of new hotspots, fabulous restaurants and fancy friends like Michael Bublé.
‘Jessica and Ben were good friends with the Canadian singer-songwriter and his wife, the Argentinian-born actress-model Luisana Lopilato, whose intimate parties at their home in Vancouver were a coveted invite.’
In 2013, Meghan founded her now-defunct lifestyle blog, The Tig – where she gushed about her bestie.
In a resurfaced post from December 2015, the Duchess said that ‘the room stops’ whenever her friend ‘shows up at an event’.
Referencing the 1980s US sitcom Out of This World, Meghan compared Jessica to the show’s heroine Evie (played by Maureen Flannigan) – who has the ability to freeze time.
Gushing about the effect Jessica has on people, Meghan described her as ‘savvy and fashionable and tres cool, and also va va va voom pritaaaay’ – in a post featured on a fan-run archive website of The Tig.
She continued: ‘And here’s the other thing – she also happens to be an incredible stylist, clothing the likes of Canada’s First Lady, Sophie Trudeau.’
The purpose of the post was to give Meghan’s readers some fashion advice over what to wear on that upcoming festive season.
She continued: ‘So when I asked her what I should wear for Christmas parties and New York soirees, I thought you may enjoy the same sage and chic advice. You’re very welcome darling!’
2016 – 2017: BESTIES
In 2016 Jessica shared a slew of candid photos showing her and Meghan on holiday in Italy a month after her first date with Prince Harry
Meghan’s girls’ holiday to Positano was one of her last jaunts as a single girl before her engagement
The same year also saw Jessica take to social media to regularly support Meghan on a number of initiatives the star was involved in
The pair amped up their social media presence of each other in 2016 and 2017.
Posting in February 2016, Jessica teased a trip to the Cayman Islands with her gal pal.
She said: ‘Girls trip has officially begun with @meghanmarkle (which means don’t bother me unless you have to).’
That summer, Jessica shared a slew of candid photos showing her and Meghan on holiday in Italy a month after her first date with Prince Harry.
Instagram snaps showed the two women sipping cocktails at sunset and having fun in the sun on the Amalfi coast.
Meghan’s holiday to Positano was one of her last jaunts as a single girl before her engagement.
Sharing one snap, Jessica wrote: ‘Happy wife happy life #fakehoneymoon. #MJxItaly #positano #posivibes.’
The duo had also posed for fun pictures in a Soho House photo booth – showing that the Duchess had perhaps for a while been a fan of the luxurious members’ club chain where she and Prince Harry met up for a 2016 date.
The same year also saw Jessica take to social media to regularly support Meghan on a number of initiatives the star was involved in.
‘This woman is busy,’ she wrote in one upload. ‘She juggles more in a day than most do in a week.
‘And yet she still finds time to travel to Rwanda with @worldvision and creates global awareness for the water crisis.
‘She is a boss. And I adore her #worldvision #watercolorproject @meghanmarkle.’
And Jessica was there during the early days of Meghan’s romance with Harry.
The fledgling couple spent time with the Mulroneys, part of the Canadian political dynasty, before their relationship was made public in 2016.
A source years ago told E! News: ‘When Harry first started going to Toronto to visit Meghan, it was Ben and Jessica who had them over at their house for dinners because it wasn’t easy for them to go out in public without the risk of getting spotted.’
In Finding Freedom, the authors claim Harry and Meghan ‘hid out’ at the family home when the news first broke.
The authors write: ‘It was there that Meghan got a first-hand glimpse of how Harry might be as a father, falling hard as he expertly won over the Mulroneys’ then six-year-old twins, Brian and John, and three-year-old daughter Ivy.
‘Already experienced in charming little ones, he never turned up empty-handed, instead arriving with small presents each visit.
‘But it wasn’t just his generosity that endeared him to the kids. Harry was also willing to get on the floor with them to play or smush up his face against the window, his funny expressions never failing to earn a giggle.’
Jessica was also there for Meghan’s first royal appearance at the Invictus Games in 2017.
She continued to offer guidance as to what Meghan should wear for significant occasions.
Finding Freedom also discussed how Meghan would consult with Jessica over what to wear for important dates, including meeting the Queen.
The authors write: ‘Meghan and Jessica had discussed what an appropriate outfit would be for the all-important meeting with Her Majesty.
‘As they often did, they went back and forth over iMessage with photos and voice memos.
‘At one point, Jessica kept a second phone only Meghan had the number for – it meant they could chat safety and securely without any worries about hacks.
‘After reviewing dozens of ideas, they settled on a conservative pastel dress.’
And months later, it is thought that Jessica may have even been one of Meghan’s first calls to announce her engagement to Harry.
In never-before-seen footage of the romantic proposal shared in the Sussexes’ Netflix documentary last year, Harry can be seen getting down on one knee in the grounds of Kensington Palace, while ’15 electric candles’ surround him as he holds a ring.
Kneeling on a blanket in a garden with Meghan’s dog and a large bouquet of white roses at his side, Harry asked the former actress for her hand in marriage.
In the candid clip, Meghan can be heard phoning her friend Jess and excitedly whispering ‘Oh my God Jess. It’s happening. He told me not to peek,’ as the Prince prepared to to get down on one knee.’
She also helped Meghan plan her ‘engagement outfit’ when her betrothal to Prince Harry was officially announced in November 2017.
2018: KEY ROLE AT MEGHAN’S WEDDING
At the wedding, the stylist was given a starring role as she entered St George’s Chapel alongside the Princess of Wales
Brian and John served as page boys, carrying Meghan’s breathtaking veil as she made her way into St George’s Chapel, at Windsor, on May 19
As well as being phoned the night of the proposal, Jessica is understood to have been close to Meghan throughout the planning process for the wedding.
From helping her choose her dress to coordinating plans, Jessica was a key player at Meghan and Harry’s 2018 wedding, and both her sons and daughter were even involved in the celebration.
Mulroney is said to have flown in to London four days before the big day to help her friend get fitted for her dress.
‘She is Meghan’s best friend and the person Meghan trusts with helping to plan every detail,’ a source told Vanity Fair.
‘She’s the one helping Meghan to make all the key decisions. They are on the phone daily discussing every element of the wedding, from the dress to the flowers to the canapés and the photography.
‘Meghan is very dependent on Jessica and Jessica has been totally indispensable. She’s helped Meghan and Harry with so much already.’
Meghan asked Jessica’s three children John, Brian and Isabel to be in her wedding party – while the stylist was given a starring role as she entered St George’s Chapel alongside the Princess of Wales.
Meanwhile reports have stated that Jessica was even present during a disagreement between Meghan and Kate about the bridesmaids dresses.
Writing in the biography Revenge: Meghan, Harry and the war between the Windsors, Tom Bower said Kate was ‘too fatigued to cope’ with a disagreement over whether bridesmaids should wear tights, however ultimately felt they should in order to follow protocol.
However he claimed: ‘Meghan’s insistence was supported by Jessica, the mother of Ivy.’
He also claimed: ‘Some would say that Meghan compared Ivy favourably against Charlotte.’
Brian and John served as page boys, carrying Meghan’s breathtaking veil as she made her way into St George’s Chapel, at Windsor, on May 19.
Brian threatened steal the bride’s thunder when he accidentally photobombed her as she arrived at the door of St George’s Chapel on her wedding day.
He flashed a gap-toothed grin as he popped up on screen behind the radiant bride.
Jessica’s daughter ‘Ivy’, then four, was also in the wedding as a flower girl – alongside Harry’s niece and nephew Princess Charlotte and Prince George – and both the couple’s godchildren.
The day of the royal wedding Jessica shared snaps captioned: ‘Proud friend. Proud mom.’
After the wedding, Jessica’s own star began to rise and she won an array of high-profile TV contracts.
She announced her new wedding reality show with CTV, I Do, Redo, which premiered on CTV and was also released internationally on Netflix.
The series followed Jessica as she helped couples move on from their disastrous weddings by giving them the nuptials they’ve ‘always dreamed of.’
Jessica also became a regular face presenting a fashion segment for ABC’s Good Morning America.
She also became the spokesperson for The Bay’s bridal brand, which launched in fall 2018.
The stylist was even understood to have joined Harry and Meghan on their overseas tour in an ‘unofficial’ capacity.
2019: ONE OF THE BABY SHOWER ORGANISERS…
A year later, Jessica was also among several famous faces who organised Meghan’s baby shower in New York City, which is understood to have cost a whopping $500,000
The lavish trip included a stay of at least two nights in the $75,000-per- night penthouse suite at The Mark Hotel, which is believed to have been rented for two nights, a roughly $420 dinner at The Polo Bar, over $14,000 for protection, and thousands of dollars in gifts
A year later, Jessica was also among several famous faces who organised Meghan’s baby shower in New York City, which is understood to have cost a whopping $500,000.
The lavish trip included a stay of at least two nights in the $75,000-per- night penthouse suite at The Mark Hotel, which is believed to have been rented for two nights, a roughly $420 dinner at The Polo Bar, over $14,000 for protection, and thousands of dollars in gifts.
Meghan also flew home via private jet paid for by Amal Clooney, which cost $125,000; she is also believed to have arrived in New York on a private jet, meaning her round-trip travel may have cost a quarter of a million dollars.
And Jessica wasn’t afraid to bat for her friend, seemingly sending some encouraging words her way on Instagram after the royal came under heavy criticism for the flashy getaway.
‘It’s exhausting being strong, let no one tell you otherwise,’ a mysterious, and seemingly pointed post from the stylist read.
‘There are a million ways to heal, every single one will wear you down.’
‘Keep your capacity for joy,’ the quote continued. ‘Guard it with the rest of your life.
Jessica didn’t give any more context for the positive quote beyond a simple caption reading, ‘Guard your joy.’
2019: …AND HITTING OUT AT BAD PRESS
After the pair, thought to have met in 2011, became friends, their fondness for one another was apparent. Pictured in Toronto, in 2015
Meghan and Jessica’s relationship continued to go from strength to strength.
In an interview, she said her life is an ‘open book’ but when it comes to a certain few things – such as her friendship with Meghan – her lips are completely sealed.
‘This is my first interview that I’ve done since the wedding or anything,’ Jessica told Harper’s Bazaar.
‘Listen, every person has to have a bit of privacy in their life. There are certain things I hold very dear and secret… There are things I’ll never talk about for sure.
‘My life is an open book, but there’s always a few secret pages in the back that nobody will be able to read.’
Meanwhile she also travelled to London to visit the Duchess after she welcomed her son Archie in May 2019.
Jessica was spotted at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport before boarding a flight to London with her five-year-old daughter Ivy in tow to visit the royals.
‘Packing for our first Mother/Daughter trip and I’m screaming with excitement. Are matching shoes too much.’
She also ramped up her defences of Meghan on Instagram, often posting cryptic messages which appeared to be directed at critics of the Sussexes.
She said Meghan had been the target of ‘racist bullies’ after she and Harry were heavily slammed for their private jet jaunts.
Taking to Instagram, she argued that the Duchess had been unfairly criticised and suggested that race was a factor.
‘When someone faces unfair criticism, you call it out. When that person is your friend and your family, you call those critics what they truly are.
‘Shame on you, you racist bullies,’ Jessica wrote.
She added: ‘Three years of undeserved hate and abuse. It’s enough.’
2020: INFLUENCER SCANDAL
Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, Sasha (pictured) posted on her Instagram Stories and encouraged her followers and fellow influencers to speak out about the Black Lives Matter movement
Following the blogger’s claims, Jessica issued three public apologies, however she still faced consequences and was dropped by numerous television networks. Pictured, a grab of one of Jessica’s statements
At the start of 2020, the stylist was vocal about her support of Harry and Meghan amidst Megxit.
The Canadian stylist posted a defiant quote on her Instagram account, saying: ”A strong woman looks a challenge in the eye and gives it a wink.’
She also responded with a heart emoji to a post by journalist Katie Couric about the dramatic decision by the Sussexes.
At the time, it was reported that Jessica had been deeply involved with the couple’s decision to step back.
A source told Mail on Sunday: ‘Jessica was more influential on ‘Megxit’ than anyone really realized.’
However months later, it appears as though the pair became distant, when Jessica became embroiled in a ‘white privilege’ row with lifestyle blogger Sasha Exeter.
Following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020, Sasha posted on her Instagram Stories and encouraged her followers and fellow influencers to speak out about the Black Lives Matter movement.
However, the blogger claims Jessica ‘took offence’ from her ‘generic call to action’ post.
In a follow-up video, Sasha said: ‘What happened next was a series of very problematic behaviour and antics […]
‘I’m by no means calling Jess a racist but what I will say is this: She is very well aware of her wealth, perceived power and privilege because of the colour of her skin and that, my friends, gave her the momentary confidence to come for my livelihood in writing. Textbook white privilege really, in my personal opinion.’
Following the blogger’s claims, Jessica issued three public apologies, however she still faced consequences and was dropped by numerous television networks.
DailyMail.com exclusively revealed that ABC severed ties with her, confirming that Jessica would not be returning to her occasional role as a fashion contributor on Good Morning America.
Canadian TV network CTV also cut off ties with the stylist, revealing that it would be pulling all episodes of her wedding-themed reality TV show I Do Redo from its platform.
In one instance, commenting on a video clip shared by Sasha, Jessica said she was ‘unequivocally sorry’, writing: ‘As I told you privately, I have lived a very public and personal experience with my closest friend where race was front and centre. It was deeply educational.’
Despite their close relationship, insiders claimed that the Duchess had permanently cut ties with Jessica after she became embroiled in a race row with the influencer.
An insider told Page Six that the duo’s relationship was already on the rocks because Meghan felt that Jessica was trying to ‘make a career out of the friendship.’
‘The white privilege row has really given Meghan the excuse she was waiting for to cut Jess off for good,’ the source said. ‘I don’t know what the tipping point was, but Jess has been on the outs for some time.
‘Their friendship is definitely not what it was. And really, how can you have such a close friendship when one person is basically making a career out of the friendship?’
DailyMail.com exclusively revealed that Meghan had been left ‘absolutely mortified’ by Jessica’s ‘tone-deaf’ threats to Sasha, and told close friends that she can ‘no longer be associated with her’.
‘Meghan is absolutely mortified that she’s been dragged into this complete mess. She said Jessica is in no way a racist, but the way she handled the situation (with the fashion influencer) was tone-deaf and heartbreaking,’ a close friend of Meghan’s said.
‘Meghan said friends reflect friends and because of what’s at stake she can no longer be associated with Jessica, at least not in public. She has to do what she has to do in order to preserve her dignity and her own reputation,’ they added.
Meanwhile reports emerged that Meghan’s friends were ‘concerned for some time’ that Jessica had been ‘profiting’ from her relationship with the royal.
An insider has now revealed how Meghan’s closest pals had long held worries about the stylist, telling Entertainment Tonight: ‘[Meghan’s friends have been] concerned for some time that Jessica has been profiting from her relationship with Meghan and using it to further her brand.’
The source said that Prince William and Prince Harry would ‘never accept’ behaviour like Jessica’s from their own friends and loved-ones.
However they added that Meghan had valued the stylist’s friendship over the years, saying: ‘Jessica has been a source of strength for Meghan in the past during some of her most difficult times.’
hey also said that Meghan cannot publicly defend Jessica in this case or help salvage her career.
‘It’s not like Meghan can just call up ABC and defend Jessica,’ the source said. ‘There was a reason Meghan waited to so long to make a statement. She wanted to get it right. She said she urged Jessica to do the same thing from the get-go.’
A source claimed to The Post that Jessica battled ‘severe depression and suicidal thoughts’, after the incident.
They alleged: ‘Jess couldn’t talk without crying. She could barely respond to a text message.’
But Jessica insisted she was ‘constantly’ in touch with Meghan, saying the royal was often ‘checking up’ on her.
Posting a statement on her Instagram stories, she wrote: ‘I’m going to tell this once and for all. Meghan and I are family.
‘She is the kindest friend and has checked up on me every day.’
2021: HIGHS AND LOWS
Jessica later faced accusations that she had used Meghan as her ‘superpower,’ though denied this was the case and refused to speak about the Duchess in interviews. Both pictured in 2016
Following the influencer scandal, rumours of a Meghan and Jessica fallout kept brewing, going between hot and cold.
Jessica sent social media into overdrive after posting a cryptic message about her ‘true friends’.
‘Thank you to our true friends for sticking by us. We could never have made it without you,’ she wrote on Instagram.
‘Silver lining: we finally know the a******s who we thought were our friends. Best gift we could have ever been given.’
Since then, Jessica has not commented on allegations of her drifting apart from Meghan.
Meanwhile, as the backlash against Jessica began mounting, Meghan remained quiet and distant on the matter and has not publicly spoken about her friend in years.
One source told Daily Mail their friendship is no longer ‘what it once was,’ adding that this was due to the pair having ‘just grown apart’ and not because of the fallout between Jessica and Sasha.
The insider added: ‘Of course, Meghan has been worried about Jess. She’ll always have love for her.’
That same summer, Jessica appeared to send mixed signals when she deleted a throwback snap of one of her twin sons at Meghan’s wedding, after initially posting it with the caption: ‘When I feel dark and grey, I see this and it all goes away.’
She later amended the caption, changing it to: ‘I see this and pure joy.’
However, according to US Magazine, she explained her decision on Instagram Stories a month later.
‘People often ask why I delete certain posts,’ she told viewers.
‘The amount of bullying and hatred I’ve had to put up with for 3 years…. I’m tired of looking at it.
‘Be kind. Be gracious. We are grown ups… stop acting like teenagers. Real women don’t put down other women.’
Elsewhere, the stylist and her husband Ben (pictured in 2012) were said to spend a lot of time with happy couple during their early days, according to an insider
Despite allegations of a rift however, Jessica once again came out in support of the Duchess ahead of her and Harry’s broadcast of her bombshell CBS interview with chatshow legend Oprah Winfrey.
The Canadian stylist said no one ‘has ever had to deal with the pressure, the politics and the press’ like Meghan in an Instagram post.
Uploading a photo of the pair of them, she added: ‘In the face of it all, I have never seen her wave from kindness, empathy and love.’
Meghan that year also sent Jessica a huge bouquet of flowers to mark her birthday.
Jessica shared a snap on her Instagram page of a large bunch of pink roses in a glass vase, penning: ‘Luckiest friend, thanks MM.’
But by the summer, social media suspected that the duo had hit yet another rough patch when Jessica shared a cryptic post about ‘losing friends and finding better ones’.
She posted a lengthy quote on Instagram, which read: ‘Life changes. You lose love. You lose friends.
‘You lose pieces of yourself that you never imagined would be gone.’
The quote continued: ‘And then, without even realizing it, these pieces come back.
‘New love enters. Better friends come along. And a stronger, wiser you, is staring back in the mirror.’
2022: SNUBS FROM HARRY AND MEGHAN
Meghan did share footage of the night Prince Harry proposed in 2017 – where she FaceTimed her friend ‘Jess’ as she walked the grounds of Kensington Palace. The couple pictured in their Netflix documentary
After years of cryptic Instagram posts and publicly supporting Meghan, Jessica appeared to go quiet in 2022.
Despite publicly supporting Meghan as she adapted to life as a Royal, the stylist was not among the women featured on the Duchess’ Archetypes podcast.
And Jessica was also noticeably absent from the Duke and Duchess’ Netflix six-hour Netflix series – which landed on the streaming platform in December last year.
However, Meghan did share footage of the night Prince Harry proposed in 2017 – where she FaceTimed her friend ‘Jess’ as she walked the grounds of Kensington Palace.
2023: NO MENTION IN SPARE
In January, Jessica Mulroney shared a picture of her at Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s 2018 wedding, acknowledging the couple’s Netflix docuseries, where she is mentioned by name, for the first time ever. Pictured from left to right: Jessica with the Suits actress Abigail Spencer and other friends at the wedding reception
Jessica has not commented on the tell-all release, despite reportedly playing a key role in helping the royals with their Megxit plans
In January, Jessica broke her silence on Harry and Meghan documentary by sharing a black-and-white photo of her attending the royal wedding on Instagram – which noticeably didn’t include Harry or Meghan.
Jessica shared the picture on her Instagram without a caption and disabled comments on the post in a cryptic move.
It was the first time the stylist has acknowledged Harry and Meghan’s docuseries, where she was mentioned by name.
As the new year came in weeks after the Sussexes’ Netflix documentary, it also became apparent that Prince Harry made no mention of Jessica in his explosive memoir Spare.
She has not commented on the tell-all release, despite reportedly playing a key role in helping the royals with their Megxit plans.
Most recently and amid the rumours of the pair’s estranged relationship, Jessica paid tribute to the friends who ‘love and stand by her unconditionally’ on social media.
She celebrated her 43rd birthday earlier this month and spent the weekend partying with friends.
The post included photos of Jessica cuddling up with makeup artist Rachel Renna and others of the group gathered around a table and drinking champagne.
Other guests invited on Jessica’s night out included Joanna Griffiths – the CEO of the underwear brand Knix Wear.
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