PRESENTER Lisa Snowdon has revealed that two of her former lovers were so violent that one left her with life-long injuries and another attacked her so badly it contributed to her suffering a miscarriage live on air.
Lisa says that another boyfriend was so unsupportive when she became pregnant that she made the difficult decision to terminate the baby and still feels “devastated” about her decision.
The 51-year-old was one of Britain’s top models who earned £100,000 a day but she would turn up to photo shoots with broken bones and bruises after being so badly attacked she thought she was going to die.
Lisa, who is still in constant pain from her injuries, says: “Admitting this now, I hope it may save the life of someone who is the victim of an abuser.
“If any of my family, my young and innocent nieces or nephews, ever experienced this kind of evil, I don’t think I could be held responsible for what I would do to their abuser.
“I know that’s not really what I should be saying, but I still have a lot of anger inside me, and I guess some regret.”
It is in her brave new book “Just Getting Started” that she shares her own life struggles – surrounding fertility to pregnancy and menopause – to help others.
Lisa was just 19 and breaking into the modelling world when her boyfriend, who was years older but had lied to her about his age, attacked her so badly that he broke her arm.
She writes: “He was chasing me and kicking me, and to protect myself from another of his kicks I used my arm to cover my backside.
“He kicked my arm with all his power, and I heard a crack. Sure enough, the damage had been done and my arm was in plaster for six weeks or so.
“The position of my arm being twisted around my back and broken caused me, and still causes me, so much pain. Over the years, I developed a condition called scoliosis, curvature of the spine, which can occur after an impact trauma.
“In my case, my left shoulder and scapula now pull forwards as a result of the injury, thus curving my spine to the left.
“He also headbutted me one day, knocking me unconscious, clean out, leaving me with a huge black eye. How I didn’t die in the flat, I will never know.
“I still feel such a huge sense of anger at how anyone could do that to a young girl. I am in tears, but I mostly feel sad, for my younger self – so lost, scared and alone.
“I was working as a model in those days, and would turn up to work, arm in plaster, with bruises and a black eye, having to come up with the most elaborate excuses to protect him.”
‘I thought I would die’
This Morning presenter and menopause campaigner Lisa has had an amazing career.
She was just 19 when she was first spotted dancing in a London club.
She graced the cover of Vogue and featured in FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women ten times before landing presenting jobs on MTV, Britain’s Next Top Model and then as co-host of Capital London’s Breakfast show.
She appeared on Strictly and I’m A Celeb and last year won Celebrity MasterChef. But behind closed doors her life was in chaos.
She says it started as “mental abuse” with “gaslighting” that went on for years.
Despite being an in-demand model she had “no self-worth” and was riddled with “insecurities”.
And as her career flourished and she moved from a small, independent modelling agency to a bigger, more established one her partner’s temper “got worse”.
He played “mind games” that she didn’t understand and he cheated on her while she was on shoots and gave her a sexually transmitted disease.
Every time she tried to leave he would attack her again.
She says: “He would hold me up against a wall, both of his hands around my throat, my feet dangling off the ground and squeeze my neck and strangle me until I thought I would die.
“This happened so many times I lost count. I never told a soul.
“Emotionally, I was broken. I felt unworthy of love, but he would also be so upset after all his angry violent outbursts, and so full of remorse, that I would have to comfort him and tell him it was going to be OK. I mean, how f***ed up is that?”
Although Lisa finally managed to get away from that situation, she suffered at the hands of another “loser boyfriend” when she was in her late 20s.
She fell pregnant but when he showed no interest she had an abortion – and ended the relationship.
“It truly broke my heart that he was so unconcerned about how I was,” she writes.
“I knew in that moment that I did not want to bring a child into this world and one day have to explain to them why I wasn’t with their father and what kind of man he was.”
But Lisa still wanted a baby. She even considered having one on her own after hearing about a sperm bank in Los Angeles where donors had Einstein-level IQs.
But at 41 her gynaecologist did tests that showed her chance of conceiving naturally was only three per cent.
She writes: “I felt as if I had been punched in the stomach.”
Lisa “parked the baby thing” and concentrated on her career at Capital but continued to date “inappropriate” men.
But “six to eight months later” she found out she was pregnant.
How you can get help
Women’s Aid has this advice for victims and their families:
- Always keep your phone nearby.
- Get in touch with charities for help, including the Women’s Aid live chat helpline and services such as SupportLine.
- If you are in danger, call 999.
- Familiarise yourself with the Silent Solution, reporting abuse without speaking down the phone, instead dialing “55”.
- Always keep some money on you, including change for a pay phone or bus fare.
- If you suspect your partner is about to attack you, try to go to a lower-risk area of the house – for example, where there is a way out and access to a telephone.
- Avoid the kitchen and garage, where there are likely to be knives or other weapons. Avoid rooms where you might become trapped, such as the bathroom, or where you might be shut into a cupboard or other small space.
If you are a victim of domestic abuse, SupportLine is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 6pm to 8pm on 01708 765200. The charity’s email support service is open weekdays and weekends during the crisis – email@example.com.
Women’s Aid provides a live chat service – available weekdays from 8am-6pm and weekends 10am-6pm.
You can also call the freephone 24-hour National Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 2000 247.
Although it was a “destructive” relationship she was excited about becoming a mum.
She said: “Even though the relationship wasn’t perfect, I saw it as a sign from the universe – maybe from God – that I had been forgiven and I was finally going to have a baby. I was going to be a mum.”
But scans showed the baby wasn’t growing as it should and the heartbeat was “faint”.
Then her partner violently attacked her and hours later, as she was presenting live on air, she started to miscarry.
She writes: “I rushed to the bathroom, full of panic. I didn’t know what to do. We’d only just gone on air, and I knew I had to keep working.
“I dug deep and tried to park the dread I felt in the pit of my stomach, praying that my baby would be OK.
“As soon as the show was finished and we were off air, I rushed to the hospital.
“When I arrived, my worst fears were confirmed – the scan showed that the heartbeat had stopped. My baby had died.
“To say I was devastated was an understatement; I was heartbroken, inconsolable.
“I am convinced the reason for my miscarriage was yes, partly due to the egg quality, but also because my partner had attacked me in the street the night before, shaking me violently and throwing me up against some metal shop-front shutters.”
Lisa still thinks about the pregnancy she terminated.
She writes: “I think about that baby, even more so now that I can’t have kids and have left it too late to start a family.
“In my darkest moments, I blame myself for choosing to end a life, which leaves me devastated.”
Just Getting Started: Lessons in Life, Love and Menopause by Lisa Snowdon is published by HarperCollins on May 25 at £16.99.
Leave a Reply