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Aug 5 2003

By Helen Cook, Chris Hughes, Nicola Methven and Fiona Cummins


JOHN Leslie told for the first time last night about his passionate fling with “lovely” Catherine Zeta-Jones.

The former TV presenter said: “I was in love with her and she was in love with me, no question. It was the real thing all right.”

Leslie, 38, also told of a three-in-a-bed sex session and of wanting to remain intimate with women after sex.

LOVER: Leslie says relationship with Zeta was the 'Real Thing'

Saying he never mistreated his lovers, he declared: “I’m no pervert. I don’t do S and M or bondage.”

His revelations came as old flame Ulrika Jonsson prepared to fly to Sweden tomorrow to escape fresh frenzy over her involvement with the 6ft 5in Scot.

She leaves as Leslie’s girlfriend Abi Titmuss, 26, is expected to lash Ulrika for not confirming or denying Leslie is the man who allegedly raped her 16 years ago.

Leslie – cleared last week of indecently assaulting a woman – romanced Catherine in the early 90s after meeting her at an after-gig party in London’s Berkeley Square. They were together for 18 months.

But he is keeping the reason for their split secret, even though they have remained in touch.

He said Catherine, now 33 and married to Michael Douglas, even sent him champagne after he walked free from a London court “without a stain on his character” last week.

He said: “It was a touching and generous gesture. But Catherine is a very decent person. We live different lives in different places. It would be so easy for her to ignore her old life – but she didn’t forget.”

Amazingly Leslie, who has a reputation as a womaniser, claims he was “shy” and “awkward” with girls. He said he was “totally clueless,” blaming it on his height, even though he lost his virginity at 17.

Talking of his sex life, he admitted: “I have experimented. I am a passionate man and I love passionate sex.”

But he denied enjoying rough sex of which he has been accused.

He said: “Does it mean beating a woman up during sex? I don’t do that. Inflicting pain is not in any level passionate...I don’t throw women about the room. I don’t do S and M or bondage.

“Ask any man if he has fantasies – of course he does. Well, I’m a red-blooded male and I have the same fantasies as other men.

“Yes, I’ve been in a threesome but not group sex or any orgy type situation. Once, a girlfriend and I shot some home videos for a laugh. But I’m not into being watched.”

The former This Morning and Blue Peter host admitted he has watched porn. But he added: “I am not kinky. I just like normal sex. Over the years I’ve taken a lot of women to bed.”

DENIAL: I'm not into rough sex, claimed Leslie

Leslie described wanting to remain intimate with women after sex.

He said the whole point of sex with women was to have someone to wake up next to in the morning.

Leslie said: “I’ve never gone to bed with a girl at her place and then left after the sex. I want to hold and be held and wake up together. I want intimacy.”

Confronted with the names of women who have accused him of being a sex pest, he said: “I can’t swear that I’ve never met them in my life. But if I did, I don’t remember them.”

Asked about the phrase “You know you want it” – which many women claimed he used when allegedly assaulting them – he said: “I know that phrase came up again and again.

“All I can say is that it’s a useful catch-all. But I don’t use it. It’s not my kind of language.” However, he added: “I will say this – if they believed I behaved badly, they’ve a right to complain...I’m no sex fiend, I’m no pervert.”

He added: “I’m no better with women than your average bloke. I just get more chances.”

Leslie paid tribute to girlfriend Abi, calling her his “wonderwall”. He said the 26-year-old nurse had plastered a wall at his home in Sheen, South West London, with messages of support from friends, fans and colleagues.

Leslie said: “The wall has probably been the most important thing along with all the people coming up to me in the street and saying ‘Keep going’.”

Leslie is due to meet lawyers tomorrow to discuss whether to take action against those he believes wronged him.

But he is unlikely to sue Ulrika because she has never named him as her alleged attacker.

Instead, he was linked to the claimed assault by Matthew Wright on his Channel 5 chat show.

Meanwhile, Ulrika flies to Sweden.

Insiders say her trip is a long standing arrangement to prepare for her wedding to Lance Gerrard-Wright in a 14th-century church on the island of Varmdo on August 16.

But a friend of Leslie said: “We’ve heard she’s going earlier than planned. On Wednesday it’ll be ‘Abi: My

Story’, and Abi is going to say exactly what she thinks of Ulrika.

“Ulrika has responded by making plans to leave the country.”

The mother of two has admitted she is concerned that the Leslie furore will overshadow her wedding – the day of her 36th birthday.

But a loyal friend insisted: “Any suggestion that she’s running away is nonsense. She’s not leaving because of Leslie. This was all booked ages ago.

“It’s not unusual for a bride to allow herself plenty of time to get things organised.”

Other friends were more cagey neither supporting or condemning her.

Former husband John Turnbull – father of Ulrika’s son Cameron, eight – ex-Gladiator lover Hunter, James Crossley, and showbiz colleagues

Vic Reeves and Bob Mortimer all refused to comment.

Ulrika spent yesterday lazing round the swimming pool at her mother’s home in Farnham Common, Bucks.

Basking in the 33C heat, she relaxed with mum Gunn, daughter Bo, two, and stepfather Michael Brodie. Later, fiance Lance, 35 – who Ulrika met while hosting a gameshow – arrived.

Quizzed about Ulrika’s departure, her agent Melanie Cantor said: “We are not commenting on this.”


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