Mandy and the angels

MANDY Smith, former wife of Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, would like to become a barrister. They are, she says, the ones up there doing it. She wants also to ‘do more journalism' and interview Princess Diana. ‘She's Cancer and Charles is Scorpion (sic),' explains television presenter Mandy, ‘and I'm Cancer and Bill's Scorpion.' She is keen to dispel the bimbo image, has dyed her blonde hair to thinking woman's chestnut and talked her life story into a book, It's All Over Now.

Mandy's mother Patsy, half a century old and in leggings, answered the door with an accommodating manner and the face of a victim. The house is obsessively spotless, with frou-frou curtains, Fantasia video, two Yorkshire terriers and 90ft garden. A silent pectoral type stands in the kitchen: Pat Van Den Hauwe, Mandy's husband and Millwall footballer. Mandy is running late, upstairs.

She was 13 and lived on a council estate when Bill, 47, seduced her. ‘It was like I was much older, not a 13-year-old in little socks and school skirt,' she says. It was a shocking pre-pubescent affair which led to her marriage at 19 and divorce at 21. After the marriage, she wasted to 5 1/2 stone and was close to death.

Now 23, she looks exceedingly pretty even in a track-suit and with seriously medallioned sunglasses for a hairband. She has a tan, healthy figure, big chestnut eyes framed with charcoal make-up and Cartlandesque lashes, veneers on her teeth and French-polished nails so long they could hold up a picture. But she has smelly breath. She ate millet and soya milk for breakfast.

She has pulled herself back from the brink, partly with religion. She was raised a Catholic and her book is dedicated to, among others, ‘the dear Lord God above'. ‘Yeah, He's important to me,' says Mandy, who speaks with a lazy norf London accent and drops her aitches.

‘I don't think He gets enough recognition for what he does. Look at all the lovely animals you can have.' She prays ‘up to 10 times a day,' normally for 10 minutes. ‘I don't even realise I'm doing it. Sometimes I'm watching telly and, if it isn't interesting, I'll go into a trance for 10 minutes and chat to God.'

What is her concept of the Almighty? ‘He's a busy person, but always finds a bit of time to talk to you when you need it. If He can't, He's got all these angels and saints. Saint Antony is always helping me out. I have a quick chat with him an hour before I go out. I say, ‘St Antony, you around? I'm going into town, need to park and you know what it's like'.' She always finds a space. It may, she says, be coincidence.

We're sitting in Mandy's white conservatory. She shares her Muswell Hill home with Pat and her sister Nicola. Patsy has moved out but works here, as Mandy's agent. A year ago, Patsy broke up with Stephen Wyman, 33, reportedly at Mandy's wedding. Mandy becomes cagey. Then lets slip that they're back together.

‘When Bill found out, he wouldn't talk to Stephen,' she says. ‘He sacked him from work about six months ago and said, ‘If you go out with Patsy, I don't want to see you.' He was going to take Stephen out of his will.' Now Bill and Stephen are reconciled and Stephen (‘he's very clever') works for his father, typing his next volume of autobiography.

How did Mandy feel when her mother started a romance with Stephen eight years ago? ‘It was like, ‘Oh God mum, how could you? He's so young, he's Bill's son and what will people think?' But before she went out with a man who drank a lot and lived with his mother.'

Isn't there something unnerving about such a rivalrous, competitive mother stepping on her patch? ‘Oh no, no. We're not like that at all.' How does Mandy feel about Bill being so horrid about possibly becoming her step-grandfather? ‘I'd ask him for pocket money,' she jokes, ‘a blank cheque.'

BILL gave Mandy a settlement of £580,000. ‘Take off the house and lawyers' bills, and I was left with £50,000 which went on a tax bill. If I wanted money I'd have stayed with him.'

But why did her mother ‘sell' her 13-year-old daughter? ‘She was really ill at the time and thought she was going to die - we didn't know what of...' (Mandy's temper rises) ‘and he looked after me.' Wasn't it because he was a rich celebrity? ‘No, no. We weren't impressed by people.' Why didn't Mandy help the police press child abuse charges? ‘I felt partly to blame, like it was my fault as well,' she says, with the classic guilt of an abuse victim. ‘I fell in love with Bill. I wasn't a little sex temptress. But I'd feel too guilty getting someone charged for sex abuse.' Unsurprisingly, Mandy's marriage to Pat hasn't run smoothly. ‘I didn't talk to Pat when we met because he was so shy. Now there can be a bit of a clash, two sensitive souls together. He becomes paranoid and aggressive,' says Mandy.

In addition, Pat's ex resents Mandy seeing their daughter. ‘Er, um, well Pat left her for me. I'm sorry, I'm not going to take the blame. It was his choice. I don't know the woman. But she's said a few stupid things on the phone to Pat about me. Like ‘I don't want my child going over to that house'.'

Did Mandy believe her marriage vows to be for life? ‘I thought ‘I just hope it lasts', but you have to be realistic. Who knows if it'll last forever, for a year or two?' Bill was unfaithful; how does she know that Pat is faithful? ‘Well, Bill wrote it down in his diary and Pat doesn't keep a diary.' Sex with Pat, she insists, is now all right. ‘I feel a bit more normal.'

Mandy has been helped by therapy. ‘Years ago a fan wrote recommending this woman. I thought ‘don't bother'. Then one day when I was really desperate, I phoned her.' Mandy went twice weekly for six months. ‘I felt better that it wasn't a journalist I was speaking to. We talked about sex, feelings and my Dad leaving when I was three. He was a gambler and used to spend all the money.'

Mandy has also improved physically. She reckons she suffered from premenstrual syndrome (a hormonal imbalance) and allergies. ‘I was ill from 11 years old, but really bad in 1988 when I was in the Cromwell Hospital for six months,' she says. ‘My self-esteem went down. Now I can get up and go out on my own every day. I used to need someone with me constantly. I always felt ill and faint. I thought I was going to die.'

She eats three tofu-style meals a day, plus starchy snacks, and spends ‘at least two hours' in the gym daily. ‘If I can't go to the gym during the day, I try to go at night.' Her food faddishness and compulsive exercising sound like anorexia. ‘In my doctor's and my eyes, it's PMS. I know many doctors thought I was just anorexic and a crank trying to hide it.' She's spent £20,000 on doctors in the last two years ‘on a Chinese herbalist, acupuncturist, doctor, counselling'. The court awarded her £100,000 for medical fees.