Freddie Starr’s widow on ‘hellish’ marriage, and how comedian's abuse left her suicidal

Danny Thompson
Contributor
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 16: Freddie Starr and Sophie Lea attend the British Comedy Awards at Fountain Studios on December 16, 2011 in London, England. (Photo by Stuart Wilson/Getty Images)

Freddie Starr’s widow has lifted the lid on their ‘hellish’ marriage, claiming the comedian abused her ‘mentally, emotionally and physically’.

Sophie Lea married Starr, who was found dead in his Spanish apartment earlier this month, in 2013, but was estranged from her husband at the time of his death.

In her first interview since Starr died, Lea told the Mirror: “He would wake up in the morning loving you to bits, go for a snooze in the afternoon and wake up hating you.

“He would throw every single bit of vile abuse at me.

“He abused me mentally, emotionally and physically until I broke.

“I would have much rather been hit than have to deal with the constant cruel words. He told me I was ­worthless, that I was absolutely nothing.”

Read more: Freddie Starr's daughter 'embarrassed' he is her father

Lea revealed Starr, who was 38 years older than his wife, was very paranoid and did not like her leaving the house without him. She said: “He was massively paranoid.

“I don’t remember half the things he said because it went from words to being noise. When you are on the receiving end of that abuse constantly every single day there is nowhere to escape.

Freddie Starr outside his home in Warwickshire. (Photo by PA Images via Getty Images)

"I had nobody to turn to. He stopped me leaving the house. I was only allowed to go out to go to Tesco to do the food shop.

“If I was a bit longer than he thought was necessary I would be getting accused of cheating, of s******g every single person. He wouldn’t even let me speak to my son Elliott unless he was present.

"He thought we were sending messages via our eyes. Whenever Elliott came into the room I would have to lower my gaze in case I would get accused of sending secret messages.

“He would get all my clothes and sit there with a knife and rip them all up.”

Read more: Russ Abbot leads tributes to comedian Freddie Starr

The 38-year-old said Starr’s abuse lead to a breakdown, and eventually a suicide attempt.

She said: “It was hellish. It’s hard to describe in its entirety of how bad it was. Mentally I was in a mess. I eventually had a breakdown. I was suicidal. I was also self-harming, cutting my arms and legs.

“When he found out he threw a pair of scissors at me and punched me in the thigh. His reaction was, ‘We’re all f*****g depressed but you don’t see me cutting myself.’

“He also said, ‘Go and get me a knife and I’ll f*****g do it properly for you.’

“I ended up thinking, ‘F**k you, you’re not doing it’ and went and slit my wrist. I was upstairs and he was downstairs watching telly.

“I wrapped it up and drove myself to hospital. He went to bed. He couldn’t be bothered to help.

“It was a genuine attempt to take my own life. I wanted out, away from him. The breakdown was because of Freddie’s abuse.”