Samantha Fox: ‘I did all kinds of things page 3 girls weren't supposed to do

The actor and former model, 51, talks about sniper fire, desperate teenage boys, last chance raves and playing on the wing for Arsenal Ladies

I was lucky to grow up with all my fingers. When I was two years old I opened up a table lamp and ended up blowing up my hand. I had to have various skin grafts and operations until I was 16. I still remember the smell.

I never got to ride my first bike. Straight after my dad bought me it I was diagnosed with Perthes’ disease. I had to wear callipers for two years, but when they came off I went into sports in a big way – I swam for the school, won gymnastics awards and ended up playing as a winger for Arsenal Ladies.

I helped give Page 3 a voice. I was the youngest-ever Page 3 girl and I did all kinds of things they weren’t supposed to do – I was on Terry Wogan and presenting The Six O’Clock Show. People assumed all we could do was pose.

Some boys would change their names to Sam Fox. And older guys would get tattoos. One time, a skinhead asked me to autograph his forehead. A week later he sent a photo to my fan club – he’d had it made permanent! That was about 32 years ago, so what must he think now?

I had bodyguards at the peak of my fame, mainly for the teenage boys desperate to see me. They’d push up against the shop doors before they’d opened and they’d be crushed up and going through the glass windows.

My dad taught me the quickest way to disarm a man. It certainly came in useful with David Cassidy when he attacked me in a toilet. There was the knee first, then an elbow to the face.

I knew the 1989 Brit Awards were going to be a disaster from the start. Even in rehearsals everything was going wrong. What was I supposed to do? If it says on the autocue “Ladies and gentlemen, The Four Tops!” and Boy George walks out, that’s not my fault. It was the most memorable Brits ever, though, and definitely the most rock’n’roll!

Sniper fire sounds a lot like hail. I got caught in it while in Bosnia with the troops. I was told I was in a bullet-proof car, but there’s nothing scarier than hearing bullets flying off the roof. I had to decide whether to lie down or sit up. I decided I’d sooner get a bullet in my bum than my neck.

I never imagined in a million years that my partner would suddenly be told she had terminal cancer. We made sure Myra [Stratton, who died in 2015] did everything she ever wanted to in the time she had left. The one that tickles me is that she always wanted to go to Ibiza, so we flew out to a proper rave three weeks before she died.

Sex matters to me if I’m in a relationship. But if I’m not then it’s not really important.

Making peace with my dad was important. We hadn’t spoken for a decade because he’d stolen from me [she sued her father and former manager Patrick for embezzlement]. But Myra told me to go and see him in the morgue, because she knew in my heart I’d forgiven him. I kissed him goodbye, slipped him a little letter and told him I still loved him.

I still feel very kiddish. If I take my mum out to a hospital appointment and I’m in my baseball cap and tracksuit, the staff can’t believe I’m 51. I think it’s because I’m generally a happy person. Being miserable makes you older.

Forever by Samantha Fox, Martin Svensson and Leif Eriksson (Backbeat Books, £20) is out now. To order a copy for £17, go to


Tim Jonze

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

Article image
Emilia Fox: ‘I am weirdly obsessed with cleaning products’
The actor, 42, on being part of an acting dynasty, what makes her angry and why she finds painting garden furniture so satisfying

Mark Bailey

27, May, 2017 @1:00 PM

Article image
Bob Odenkirk: ‘All people are sad clowns. That’s the key to comedy’
The actor and comedian, 54, who made his name in Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul, on the joy of being older, why he’s way too responsible and what he owes Monty Python

Rebecca Nicholson

15, Apr, 2017 @1:00 PM

Article image
Ross Kemp: ‘People still think I’m Grant Mitchell’
The actor and documentary maker, 52, on talking posh, supporting the Labour party and why he’ll never have a midlife crisis

Candice Pires

18, Feb, 2017 @2:00 PM

Article image
Stephen Poliakoff: ‘I write about the past. It’s not a nice place’
The playwright, 64, on guilty memories, cheating at maths and what he chose to ask Tony Blair

Emma Cook

28, Jan, 2017 @2:00 PM

Article image
Miranda July: ‘I always jump in when there’s an injustice’
The artist, writer and director, 42, on her fear of dogs, marrying a man she didn’t mean to and why she’s always ready to step in to right a wrong

Rebecca Nicholson

11, Feb, 2017 @2:00 PM

Article image
Kim Cattrall: 'I don’t want to be in a situation for even an hour where I’m not enjoying myself'
The actor, 62, on losing her brother, awful things directors have said, and having enough of Sex and the City

Ruth Huntman

10, Aug, 2019 @1:00 PM

Article image
Andrew Marr: ‘I’ve had an incredibly good decade since my stroke’
The journalist, 63, on his excellent recovery, Maoist youth and the increasing mendacity of politicians

Nick McGrath

01, Apr, 2023 @1:00 PM

Article image
Melvyn Bragg: ‘My daughter conducted my marriage service’
The writer and broadcaster, 82, talks about his childhood, Dennis Potter, writing and why he didn’t think he was good enough for the House of Lords

Vicki Power

11, Jun, 2022 @1:00 PM

Article image
The Sun sets on page 3 | Katharine Whitehorn
As the women of page 3 cover up, Katharine Whitehorn wonders if it’s too little too late

Katharine Whitehorn

02, Feb, 2015 @11:00 AM

Article image
Willem Dafoe: ‘I’ve thought about murder many times’
The actor, 62, tells Johnny Davis about actors’ fear, being happy in nature, the false freedom of technology and being mistaken for Mick Jagger

Johnny Davis

21, Oct, 2017 @1:00 PM