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As TV star Annabel Giles accuses her ex of being a ‘deadbeat dad’, he hits back saying she uses their son’s disability for publicity
- Annabel Giles, 54, has repeatedly claimed a former lover walked out when their disabled son was only weeks old but has never publicly named him
- Paul Duddridge has outed himself as the father of Giles’s son but claims the reality is very different to her story
- He had even filed a lawsuit against her for defamation
- Agent and producer Mr Duddridge claims Giles threw him out of their home, forced him to move to America through a vicious whispering campaign and refused to let him be a part of his son’s life
- Ms Giles is now in a lesbian relationship and Mr Duddridge is married with two young daughters
It is a narrative the 54-year-old has returned to again and again in a slew of newspaper articles, blog posts and television appearances including, most recently, on Channel 5’s Big Benefits Row: Live, in which she told host Matthew Wright: ‘My son’s father left when he was two weeks old.
‘I struggled on as much as I could. I spent every penny I had. I then went on to credit cards. I did all that just to keep us alive whilst I was waiting to see if I was going to get anything back from this man.’
Annabel Giles, left, accuses Paul Duddridge, right, of being a ‘deadbeat dad’ but he says reality is very different
Who could not have been moved by the strikingly beautiful ex-model’s claims that she and her son Ted, now 16, were abandoned by the former lover she resolutely refused to name?
But 5,000 miles away in Los Angeles the allegations were met with disbelief and anger by Giles’s former boyfriend Paul Duddridge, a highly successful Hollywood TV producer.
Today, for the first time, he ‘outs’ himself as the father of Giles’s son and in an extraordinarily frank interview gives his side of what he calls ‘a very unseemly row’. He says: ‘Annabel has spent years dragging my name through the mud. She presents me as the devil incarnate; a deadbeat dad who walked out when our son was two weeks old. Nothing could be further from the truth.
‘I gave her tens of thousands of pounds in child support and spent thousands more on legal fees fighting for the right to be part of Ted’s life. The real tragedy is that he has lost out on the chance to have a relationship with me, his dad, because of the spiteful actions of his mother.
‘She wants to be seen as a victim and a martyr so she sacrificed my relationship with my son.
Duddridge, 47, who is planning a defamation lawsuit for what he calls Giles’s ‘unrelenting attacks’ on his reputation, claims she:
- Suffered ‘violent’ mood swings and threw him out of their house shortly after their son was born.
- Led a whispering campaign against him in London which forced him to flee Britain for America
- Froze him out of their son’s life while embarking on a series of ill-fated love affairs before finding happiness in a lesbian relationship.
It is, of course, impossible to know the messy truth of their two-year affair. But whatever Duddridge was back then – he is now happily married and the father of daughters aged two and ten months – the image he presents now could not be further from that of a ‘deadbeat dad’.
In his third-floor office in a prestigious Art Deco building in LA he fields phone calls about projects, including a new internet talk show with his close friend, British hypnotist Paul McKenna (which launches on website-streaming service Hulu next week), and a movie, ironically called Mother’s Day, starring Susan Sarandon and Sharon Stone.
Softly spoken and charming, he tells how he was ‘instantly smitten’ when he met Giles in 1996, after she turned to him for career advice. She was the former wife of 1980s Ultravox singer Midge Ure, with whom she has a daughter Molly, now 27.
Following a modelling career for Boots No 7 make-up and Max Factor, she gained a foothold as a TV host on shows including ITV’s Posh Frocks And New Trousers and a regular guest spot on Through The Keyhole.
Duddridge was a comedy agent who represented stars such as Michael McIntyre, Alistair McGowan, Phill Jupitus and Rob Brydon.
The former model and presenter is now facing a lawsuit from Mr Duddridge
He was raised on a Cardiff council estate, left school with no qualifications and was ‘besotted’ by the exotic Giles. He recalls: ‘She was strikingly beautiful but more than that she was intelligent, bright and very funny. I became her agent but also her lover.
‘Annabel was always highly strung. She was erratic and had massive violent mood swings. We were both partying, probably too much. She would physically attack me. She threatened me with a knife during one row.
‘At the start of our relationship, she was convinced Midge Ure had private eyes tailing us.
‘People kept warning me not to get involved with her because she was bonkers but I was trying to be a white knight. I thought I could “fix” her.’
The pair fought and made up – repeatedly. ‘We broke up but then she turned up on my doorstep, in floods of tears, and said, “I want a baby.”
‘I always dreamed of having a family. I thought it would stabilise her. She got pregnant straight away. I was ecstatic. I wanted to be a father.’
Twenty weeks into the pregnancy a scan showed the unborn child had a chromosome abnormality called ‘47,XYY syndrome’ which meant he had an extra ‘y’ chromosome. Sufferers are emotionally immature and can have learning difficulties. Giles has spoken repeatedly about Ted’s problems, including how he suffers from temper tantrums, needs special schooling and has mild Asperger syndrome which is on the autistic spectrum.
She once claimed she was preparing to sell her £500,000 home in Brighton to pay for Ted’s needs – a sale that was averted when an anonymous donor stumped up more than £30,000 for school fees.
Duddridge now claims she has turned their son’s medical condition into a publicity-seeking venture: ‘It’s like Munchausen’s by Publicity,’ he says bitterly, a word play on Munchausen’s by Proxy Syndrome which involves a parent misleading others into thinking a child has a physical or mental disorder.
‘I truly believe Annabel has exaggerated Ted’s condition for her own benefit. Over the years she has written endlessly about how I abandoned her and left her with a sick child. It makes her look more heroic.’
The pair split when Ted, who was born in February 1998, was just weeks old. Duddridge claims that, far from him ‘abandoning’ his son, it was Giles who threw him out.
He says: ‘We’d had a row earlier that night but I thought it had been resolved when we went to bed. I woke up at 4am to find her kicking me. She was threatening to call the police. I was scared.
‘I had several high-profile clients and I knew being led off in handcuffs for a domestic dispute would be highly embarrassing and damaging. So I left. I didn’t abandon my family. Annabel kicked me out. A few weeks later she registered the baby’s birth but didn’t put my name on the birth certificate.
‘She told me it would cost £10,000 to put my name on there. I refused. And so the court battle began.’
Clearly upset, Duddridge pulls up a series of documents and bank statements on his computer, which reveal payments totalling £95,000 to his lawyers during his decade-long fight to see his son.
‘She wouldn’t let me see Ted. I begged to be a part of his life, to spend time with him. She occasionally let me see him at her house but only on her terms. It was hell. I wanted to be Ted’s dad. But she thwarted me at every turn.’
Duddridge filed for a contact order in the family court and, for the first two years of Ted’s life, he was able to see his son for only 90 minutes, every two weeks in a village hall in Brentford, West London.
Giles with former husband Midge Ure. Mr Duddridge said that at the start of their relationship, Giles convinced herself Mr Ure had hired spies to follow her
‘Because Annabel refused to let me see Ted the court had to assess me to see whether I should be allowed contact,’ he says. ‘So I had to go to this hall and sit with other dads and social workers. It took away any chance for me to bond properly with Ted.
‘The trouble with the law in England is that it moves so slowly. I wanted to parent my son but the years dragged on and the contact was minimal and he grew further away from me. One day the social worker brought me in and Ted said, “Are you my daddy?” It broke my heart.’
In 2006, at the final family court hearing, it was agreed that Duddridge would pay £1,000 a month plus school fees of £15,000 a year in exchange for the chance to spend every other weekend with Ted. ‘I got to spend time with my son. Everything was great, or so I thought.
‘But my business opportunities in London had been badly affected. People had heard about my fight with Annabel and there was a feeling of “well there’s no smoke without fire”.
‘Annabel has constantly spoken about her ‘plight’ but never named me publicly, even though my name was eventually put on Ted’s birth certificate and everyone in our circle in London knew who I was. She blackened my name all over town.
‘I represented celebrities and people would say to them, “How can you have Paul as your agent? Don’t you know how badly he’s behaved towards Annabel?” It got so bad I eventually left Britain [in 2007] to start anew in Los Angeles. Her lies and defamatory statements about me cost me work.
‘Annabel was initially supportive [about the move to America]. Before I left I paid her £25,000 which was two years’ support and school fees.’ He twice paid for Annabel and Ted to visit LA. He says: ‘She wanted to do a book with me about how warring parents could kiss and make up.’
Instead Duddridge wrote his own book, entitled: Ever Dated A Psycho? You Don’t Have To Be Mad To Terrify A Loved One But It Helps.
Smiling, he says: ‘It wasn’t about anyone in particular. There are a lot of psychos out there.’
Duddridge has now stopped paying maintenance because of a series of angry outbursts from his son. ‘Ted has been poisoned against me by his mum.
‘After the last blowout, I stopped paying. By that stage I’d paid out nearly £100,000. I’d had enough. Annabel didn’t want me in their lives. My son was stolen from me.’
Giles now lives in Brighton and has been involved in a lesbian relationship for the past year.
Duddridge says: ‘If Annabel is in a stable loving relationship that’s a good thing all round.’
And he still longs for a relationship with Ted. ‘I am reaching out to him now to say, “I love you.” I want to be part of his life. I always have.’
Representatives for Annabel Giles said she was unavailable for comment last night.
- Paul Duddridge did not receive a fee for this article.