Image: Instagram @ritaora

On Friday, Rita Ora celebrated her 30th birthday in her chic London home, wearing a custom look by Saint Laurent and enjoying a towering vanilla birthday cake. And that, as they say, should have been the end of it.  Only it wasn’t. In fact, Ora’s birthday has become a growing British tabloid scandal, as it was revealed that the singer had actually hosted a 30-person party in a West London restaurant, flouting London’s strict lockdown rules.

The news broke after the police were called to a restaurant in Notting Hill on Saturday night, with neighbours concerned that  a party was taking place. As it turned out, Ora had gathered 30 of her closest friends, including model sisters Cara and Poppy Delevingne, for an exclusive birthday celebration. The UK is currently in the midst of its second lockdown, and criticism for Ora’s breaking the Tier 2 rules came thick and fast.

Image: Instagram @ritaora

In fact, the backlash was so swift that Ora immediately issued a public apology on her Instagram Stories and revealed she had paid a £10,000 fine. In her statement, she apologised for the “inexcusable error of judgment,” calling it a “spur of the moment decision made with the misguided view that [as] we were coming out of lockdown, this would be OK.” London’s lockdown measures will be eased tomorrow, December 2nd, but the new restrictions still only allow members of the same household to dine in indoor restaurants together in groups of less than six.

“I feel particularly embarrassed knowing firsthand how hard people have worked to combat this terrible illness,” she continued, referencing her mother, Vera, who returned to her job as a frontline NHS worker when the pandemic broke out in March. “Even though this won’t make it right, I want to sincerely apologise.” Well, she’s certainly not the first celebrity to find themselves in hot water over a rule-flouting birthday, but here’s hoping she’ll be the last.