SHE HAD IT ALL – model looks, party lifestyle and a rock-star boyfriend. Except that Mandy Smith was only 13 when she met and started dating former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman. When the relationship between the teenager and the grizzly rocker hit the headlines, Smith became notorious as the original wild child.
She grew up in Tottenham, London with her older sister Nicola and her divorcee mum, Patsy, who came from a large Irish Catholic family. Smith always looked older than her age; she would dress up, put on make-up and go to discos with Nicola, passing for 18 or 19. One night, the sisters were given tickets to an awards party, and Mandy was introduced to Bill Wyman. The controversial couple married in 1989, when Smith was 18, but the marriage lasted barely a few weeks. Following the split, Smith suffered from a mysterious wasting disease, which caused alarming weight loss. She had also been trying to kickstart her music career, signing with hitmakers Stock, Aitken and Waterman. Her releases included I Just Can't Waitand a cover of Human League's Don't You Want Me, but although she had moderate chart success in several countries, at home she was still the wild child who had married a Rolling Stone.
Another disastrous marriage followed in 1993, this time to Dutch footballer Pat Van Den Hauwe. But her kiss and tell autobiography, It's All Over Now, was a bestseller. In 2001, she was briefly engaged to fashion model Ian Mosby, with whom she has a son, Max.
Disillusioned with her London life, Smith moved to Manchester where she lives as a single mum and runs a “boutique” PR company, Kiss PR, with her sister Nicola. Her official biography on the company’s website skips over her wild teenage years, focusing instead on her credentials as a pop and fashion icon, TV presenter and author. Among the company’s clients are the Five Stars Appeal, which is trying to raise money to buy an MRI scanner for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital, and Home Start, which sends volunteers – including Smith – into homes to help young families cope with the demands of bringing up young children. Smith has recently reconnected with her Catholic faith, and regularly counsels teenage girls.
"I'm trying to be a role model for young girls, which might seem strange, but I know the temptations and pressures they're under from an early age, especially about having sex and taking drugs," she told Sunday Timeslast year. "My parents brought me up a Catholic, but I was dating Bill when I should have been being confirmed."