Douglas Thmopson - Author and International Journalist

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A Life of Sex and Drugs, Not Me Says a Shocked Lesley Anne

The Mirror 15th August 1985

THE   glittering, hard-hearted town  of  Hollywood   has   done   it again. It has come up with a divorce and child custody tangle that is likely to be the dirtiest, bitchiest and most expensive since Rod Stewart split from his wife Alana.
Centre stage and under Divorce City's hardest spotlight is British star Lesley-Anne Down. And her fight to retain custody of her three-year-old son Jack has all of the worst Tinsel Town elements:

ACCUSATIONS of  sex and drug-taking. A MULTI-MILLION dollar estate to be fought over by Lesley-Anne and film -producer Husband William Friedkin. But yesterday Lesley-Anne denied a life of sex and drugs. Shaking her head, she said: "This is not me."

The 34-year-old actress was talking exclusively outside Los Angeles Superior Court, where earlier she had opened her fight for custody of her son.
She told me: "This is a difficult time, but my side of things will come out, I promise that."

Last night she faced her estranged husband, Hollywood big wig Friedkin in a court corridor. He has accused her of being an unfit mother1 because of her involvement with sex and drugs.

LAST night her son was staying with friends of Lesley-Anne as she said: "My son is the most important thing in my life at the moment.
"I'm fighting for him. I'll protect myself later."
Her lawyer, the celebrated "Mister Divorce" Marvin Mitchelson, was confident last night."
"We expect to get custody of her son," he said.
"And we expect to go ahead with a divorce.
"All this sex and drugs talk has to be put in its place. What matters is the future of an innocent boy."

The Californian court room drama is the latest— and possibly the biggest^-upset in Lesley-Anne's colourful love life. For more than ten years she lived with actor-turned screenwriter Bruce Robinson. But five years ago she suddenly married an obscure Argentine assistant film director, Henri Gabriel. They met and fell in love while making a film in Egypt. It didn't last. Lesley-Anne and Henri were divorced 18 months later. In 1982 she married William Friedkin. famous for The Exorcist and the Oscar winner French Connection. They were married in Malibu with Lesley-Anne seven months pregnant and asking to be photographed only from the waist up. In June this year they split.

Two of Hollywood's best known lawyers are on opposing sides. Lesley-Anne's Mitchelson. has fought many headline-grabbing cases. Friedkin has hired less-flamboyant Harry Fain, who once represented Six Million Dollar Man, Lee Majors in his divorce, from former Charlie's Angel Farrah Fawcett.

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