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Casualty actress Leslie Ash has lived a rather wild life – and was forced to step out of the spotlight for a whopping 11 years after suffering a severe spinal infection.
The actress was warned by doctors that she wouldn’t be able to walk and would need a wheelchair to get around by the time she was 60 – but defied the odds and returned to acting in 2021.
From controversy with her botched lip fillers to a huge court battle which saw her scoop a £5million payout, Leslie really has done it all.
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On the anniversary of her suing the hospital in which she contracted MRSA, Daily Star takes a look into Leslie’s life now.
In 2012, Leslie Ash won a whopping £5million in compensation after she almost died from catching MRSA while in hospital.
It was the biggest payout in MRSA cases in a decade, which Leslie caught when an epidural needle came loose.
Leslie was left partially paralysed for months with the antibiotic-resistant infection, and to this day is still unable to walk properly – last seen out and about using a walking stick alongside her husband.
Her solicitor Janice Gardner said at the time: “This is a substantial sum which reflects what Leslie has lost in her life due to contracting this infection.
"She was a very commercially bankable actress with an enormously successful career in television, but she has done very little since. Obviously she has been cut down in her prime.”
Leslie said she had to be “hoisted in and out of bed” when she was at her worst, and had the “rug pulled from under” her.
'Broke ribs' during sex
As to what led to her hospitalisation in the first place, Leslie is candid about the fact that it was a rather “tipsy” sex session with her professional footballer hubby Lee Chapman.
In her autobiography, she blamed an energetic sex session with said hubby – which landed her with a punctured lung and two broken ribs.
She told MailOnline: “My husband and I do have a very passionate relationship. And, yes, we do argue, but that's how we always talk to each other.”
Leslie added: “But we don't have a violent marriage. We were having sex and it was a horrible, horrible accident. It can happen and it did happen.”
The star said she “fell off the bed” and couldn’t breathe when she tried to get up, explaining: “My lung had slightly torn and it was filling up with fluid. The pain was unbearable.”
Leslie blamed alcohol for the situation, confessing: “When I woke up in hospital, I realised at that moment I was never going to drink again.”
Leslie was seen out and about using a wheelchair after her infection, telling The Sun: “They said I’d be in a wheelchair by 60 because of my terrible hips and knees.
“I kept asking doctors, ‘What’s my goal? What can I aspire to?’ and they told me, ‘You’ll be able to walk with a stick but you’ll always be looking down at your feet’.
“That was my benchmark. I was determined to get past it, and I did.”
Her health problems first began more than three decades ago, when Leslie initially contracted parasitic disease toxoplasmosis just two months into her pregnancy with son Joe.
The MRSA complicated things, with Leslie eventually losing feeling in both her legs.
Botched lip filler
As if that wasn’t enough, Leslie has been through it with her lip filler – admitting she went too far with her ‘trout pout’.
The TV pin-up had a severe reaction to her fillers, with her lips swelling to an alarming size.
Issuing a stern warning to people intent on getting fillers, she told The Sun: “The only thing I’d say to people is: Do your homework.”
She previously admitted on This Morning: “When it happened to me, I did not do my homework.
“I thought it was a dermal filler that my body would just break down. But unbeknownst to me they used an industrial filler which got mixed up with my muscle.
"Those are the complications that can happen."
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Last November, reports emerged that Leslie was closing the bar and restaurant business that she runs with husband Lee – with the company almost £1million in debt to creditors.
Her company Souk, MailOnline reports, owed £974,107 to 12 creditors including HMRC and BT.
Meanwhile, the company’s assets only added up to £186,999 – meaning it was unlikely the creditors could be paid back in a timely fashion.
Papers filed at Companies House confirmed Leslie, now 62, had called in liquidators to close her business.
Souk initially fell into debt in 2014 and continued to lose money, with bosses eventually volunteering to close it down.
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