Penny Lancaster wept today as she told how she was the victim of a terrifying sex attack as a virgin young model starting out in the fashion industry.
The 46-year-old wife of rockstar Rod Stewart said a fashion designer spiked her drink after she went to his flat on the way to a modelling job.
In an emotional interview on ITV’s Loose Women, she recalled how she passed out and woke up to find the man lying on top of her.
She compared her ordeal to the recent TV drama series Liar and urged mothers to support their daughters if they too become victims.
She said: ‘Like with the series Liar, my drink was drugged and I can’t remember much of what happened, I just know that he was on top of me and enjoying the experience, but I certainly wasn’t. I don’t really remember much more. I was too afraid to tell anybody.’
Penny Lancaster told how a fashion designer attacked her when she was a young model
Penny was comforted by the show’s hosts Andrea McLean and Nadia Sawalha as she gave an emotional account of her ordeal
Penny, pictured before appearing on the show, spoke out following the #metoo campaign, in which women are sharing experiences of sexual impropriety in the workplace
She said she was a virgin at the time and ended up going to the man’s house after he promised to take her to an event with industry figures.
‘I was like “oh, someone will be interested, I might get some more work” and that’s what you’re out there doing the modelling for, so I went with him. And he said “oh, I have to stop at my apartment”.’
She said he poured her a drink while he went to collect his things for the event, adding: ‘Unfortunately the next thing I knew, which I don’t really remember doing the drink, I found myself face down on a bed with him on top of me.
‘I couldn’t tell my mum and dad because I thought they would be saying to me “what on earth were you doing going back to his house”.
‘But he was a guy that I had worked with and he promised me to meet other people and so I was naive and I trusted him.’
She added: ‘I had never had sex at that point so it was a frightening thing. You try to pretend it never happened… I was too afraid to tell anybody.’
Penny, now 46, had worked as a model before she met husband Rod Stewart in 1999
Penny pictured in 1993 when she was one of Britain’s most recognisable fashion models
She worked as a fitness instructor before becoming a model and met Rod through her work
The former Strictly contestant urged the mothers of teenage girls to support them if them go through a similar ordeal to her.
She said: ‘Mothers, if your daughter is able to come and talk to you about it, they have to know they won’t be told off, it’s not their fault they’re not guilty, the other person is.
‘As a woman, God forbid any man tries it on with me now as an adult, trust me. But as a child you don’t have the tools for it.
‘I don’t want to make my children frightened, I just want to make them aware, let them know they should come to you if anybody touches you .’
Penny said she fears models are at particular risk of becoming victims, as they face so much rejection when they first start out and are desperate to find work.
Viewers inundated the show praising the star after her emotional TV appearance
Model was attacked as a schoolgirl after choir
Penny has previously told how she was grabbed by a man as a 12-year-old walking home from school.
The Chelmsford-born model, who was 6ft tall as a teenager, managed to fight off the man in a subway and he fled.
Speaking on Loose Women two years ago, she said: ‘I had been at choir practice the day before. I was attacked under a subway.
‘Being tall and strong I managed to fight this man off who pulled my skirt off and wrestled with me.’
She added: ‘I normally would have travelled to school with a group of children. Girls and and boys just need to be educated of the dangers.’
Commenting on the fallout from the Harvey Weinstein scandal in the US, she added: ‘Until articles like this come out you are reminded and it is so important.
‘Whether they feel saying “MeToo” in a hashtag is a soft approach to talking about it but I think more importantly they need to be able to approach their parents, a school teacher, but not feel guilty.’
Penny was speaking about the ‘#metoo’ campaign, which has seen thousands of women share their experiences of sexual harassment and violence online.
Her tearful interview provoked a huge response from viewers, with hundreds tweeting the show to offer her support and praise her bravery.
Loose Women host Andrea McLean also revealed she’d also been a victim when she was starting out in her career.
She said she was groped by a senior colleague while bending over to put something in a draw when she was in her 20s while working at a different place.
Host Andrea McLean also told how she had been groped when she was in her 20s
Penny has modelled in a number of high-profile ad campaigns, including this one for Ultimo
The fitness instructor who married a rockstar
Born in Chelmsford, Essex in 1971, Penny was a fantastic dancer as a youngster and hoped to become a professional performer.
But she took up aerobics and followed in her brother’s footsteps to become a fitness instructor after leaving school.
She was spotted by a modelling scout however and embarked on a glittering career in which she has modelled for brands including Grattan and Ultimo.
She first met famous husband Rod at a Christmas party and they soon become romantically entangled.
Her fame has led to her producing a best-selling fitness DVD called Ultimate Body Workout and appearing on Strictly Come Dancing, where she was voted out in week 6.
The Scottish TV presenter, now 48, said she had slapped the man across the face after the incident.
Allegations of sex attacks against Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein have prompted an avalanche of testimony from women in showbusiness.
The likes of actresses Angelina Jolie, Cara Delevingne, Eva Green, Lea Seydoux and Rose McGowan are among those who have accused Weinstein of sexual harassment, while a number of Hollywood heavyweights have condemned his alleged actions.
Weinstein, who has ‘unequivocally denied’ allegations of non-consensual sex, is being investigated by the Metropolitan Police after women made five allegations against him spanning from the late 1980s to 2015.
He stepped down from the board of The Weinstein Company on Tuesday after the studio he co-founded more than a decade ago sacked him from his role as a chairman.
The producer has been ousted from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which hosts the Oscars, and The British Academy of Film and Television Arts (Bafta) has suspended his membership.
His British wife, fashion designer Georgina Chapman, announced she is leaving Weinstein as the allegations continued to mount up against him.
Similarities to harrowing ITV drama
ITV drama Liar featured two characters claiming the other was lying, after Andrew Earlham (played by Ioann Gruffudd) raped Laura Nielson (Joanne Froggatt).
It transpired during the series that Andrew had spiked Laura’s drink with the date rape drug GHB when she wasn’t looking, after going back to her house following a date.
There was a lack of evidence in the case, meaning her attacker was never brought to justice.
Penny’s ordeal was compared to ITV drama series Liar, starring Ioann Gruffudd and Joanne Froggatt