As it's revealed the Bond star was victim of domestic violence, why did Roger Moore's wives beat him up
00:28 GMT, 13 September 2012
01:23 GMT, 13 September 2012
On a sunny Sunday in the Seventies, my husband Doug Hayward and I, baby daughter in tow, turned up at Roger Moore's beautiful detached house in Stanmore, Middlesex, for lunch with him, his Italian wife Luisa and their three children.
We were looking forward to what we imagined would be a delicious English meal of roast beef and Yorkshire pudding.
After all, Roger had just become the latest James Bond, that archetypal Englishman who wore the sharpest suits — made by my tailor husband — and had the best of manners.
Roger Moore has never gone into detail about life with his third wife Luisa Mattioli everyone who knew them during their more than 30-year relationship has a tale to tell about her volatile behaviour
In the event, it was not Roger who opened the door to us but Luisa — his third wife — squeezed into tight jeans, looking splendidly tussled, her auburn hair all over the place. She started screaming: 'Roger, Roger!'
Then Roger appeared, suave and good-humoured, the perfect weekend gentleman in cashmere pullover. He welcomed us in while Luisa continued screaming in her accented English.
The gist of it was there was no lunch, she hadn't done the shopping, it was the staff's day off, she didn't want visitors, she didn't like cooking and we should all go and stuff ourselves.
As the kids cowered and we prepared to go to the pub, Roger took charge. Off he went to the kitchen where he found baked beans.
Then, with Luisa still screaming, he made the entire party baked beans on toast. He served them in the formal dining room as if it was the most delicious feast in the world, all the while holding court with the most entertaining stories and perfect delivery as if nothing was remotely out of the ordinary.
That's Roger for you. I have always found his behaviour difficult to fault. He makes the best of every situation, tries to soothe ruffled feathers and rounds it off with a witty remark. He is one of my favourite people and one of the funniest alive.
Roger Moore was a lady killer as Bond, but he recalls how he was scratched, punched and even hit over the head with a guitar during an interview with Piers Morgan
Yesterday, however, it emerged during an interview for Piers Morgan's television programme — to be screened at the end of the week — that both his two wives prior to Luisa attacked him, subjecting him to a string of batterings during their marriages.
He recalls how he was scratched, punched and even hit over the head with a guitar, as well as having a brick thrown through his window by a jealous spouse.
And though he has never gone into detail about life with Luisa — the mother of his children, and the only one of his previous wives still alive — everyone who knew them during their more than 30-year relationship has a tale to tell about her volatile behaviour.
So does Roger have an unaccountable fondness for opinionated women, or does he drive them crazy
The first of his four wives was the skating star Doorn van Steyn, who was six years older than him and divorced.
Roger met her at RADA and they tied the knot while he was on leave from the Army when he was only 19 in 1946. For all his good looks and charm, at that age he probably did not have much experience of the opposite sex.
The union was troubled from the start, largely because of money problems.
Moore earned a pittance as a film extra and knitwear model, and the couple were forced to share one room in the South London house of van Steyn's parents — her real name was Lucy Woodard, and she was the daughter of a taxi driver.
He put up with this because, as he remembers, she was a 'stunningly beautiful girl' and he was besotted, even learning to ice skate in order to be near her.
The first of Moore's four wives was the skating star Doorn van Steyn, who was six years older than him and divorced
But Doorn seems to have taunted him from the start, saying: 'You'll never be an actor. Your face is too weak. Your jaw's too big, and your mouth's too small.'
The rows were constant. On one occasion she was waiting for him outside the stage door where he was performing, and when he came out, she confronted him about something and ended up sinking her teeth into his hand.
When Roger tells that story, he makes a joke about it as if it was all his fault, 'I might have raised my hand to hit her,' he quips.
Roger claims she once hit his doctor as he dithered over treating him for a cut hand, adding: 'It made a change because normally she punched me.'
Another time, Doorn emptied a pot of tea over his head. 'I'd been sunbathing in the garden,' he remembers, 'I came up[stairs] and had taken off my trousers, and [when she spoke to me] I gave her some smart Alec answer, and this teapot came hurtling at me.'
His reaction was to say: 'Right, that's it, I'm leaving,' at which point Doorn stormed out of the room and started running a bath.
On one van Steyn was waiting for Moore outside the stage door where he was performing, and when he came out, she confronted him about something and ended up sinking her teeth into his hand
'I thought “what a cow, I'm leaving her and she's having a bath,'” he recalls. 'So I smashed the bathroom door open, and there she was with all my clothes in the bath saying, “Now leave me”.'
He adds: 'I waited for them to dry. The marriage was doomed.'
But after he left van Steyn in 1953, it was a case of out of the frying pan into the fire.
His next wife was singer Dorothy Squires, who was 13 years older than him. Squires, who was 37 when they met had dragged herself up into the limelight, having been born in Wales in the back of a van from which her parents sold fish and vegetables.
She began her working life in a tinplate factory earning 2 a week. But it was her partnership on and off stage with songwriter Billy Reid that set her on the road to settling differences with physical blows.
Singer Dorothy Squires, was 13 years Moore's senior. On one occasion she smashed a guitar over his head
Reid was pathologically jealous and used to put a ladder up to their bedroom window to check his famous wife was alone in bed.
Cue, according to one friend, the 'most wonderful rows, with broken chairs and flying records — something I'd never witnessed before in my life'.
When Squires met Roger at a party, after she walked out on Reid, they fell for each other in an instant.
They were married in New York and his career under her tutelage started to flourish.
But when they reached Hollywood, the marriage started to fall apart, especially when Dorothy Provine, Roger's younger blonde co-star in the TV series The Alaskans, caught his eye.
Friends recall there were some terrible public scenes, and by the time the couple came back to Britain the rows became even worse.
Roger, now 84, recalls one row when he was plucking a guitar to avoid confrontation.
'I was sitting on the edge of the table strumming and she was ranting on about something and I wasn't taking any notice. Next thing I know it was like slow motion, I could feel the guitar coming out of my hands and see it up above my head and . . . bash, it came down. She ruined the guitar. She had a great temper.'
That marriage came to an end after Luisa Mattioli came on the scene. Moore, now a star in his own right, met Luisa in Rome where he went to make the film The Rape Of The Sabine Women. Luisa, then a luscious 28 — nearly 20 years younger than Squires — played one of the women.
Roger says: 'Dorothy was not happy to find out I was having an affair.' He remained fond of his ex-wife — who died in 1992 — despite her uncontrolled passion.
'She threw a brick through my window, reached through the glass and grabbed my shirt, and cut her arms doing it. The police came and they said “Madam, you're bleeding.” And she said “It's my heart that's bleeding.”'
She was still so much in love with Roger that she refused to give him a divorce for seven years, and as a result his first two children with Luisa were born out of wedlock.
Roger says: 'Dorothy was not happy to find out I was having an affair.' He remained fond of his ex-wife who died in 1992 despite her uncontrolled passion
But that was not the end of the saga. Dorothy sued Roger for restitution of her conjugal rights. The judge ordered Roger to return to her, but he didn't. She then tried to publish her autobiography, detailing secrets about Roger. Both he and Luisa won injunctions and the book never saw the light of day.
By 1969, Roger was free to marry Luisa, but as I was to witness that Sunday lunchtime, he had picked another woman who was not afraid to speak her mind.
He divorced Luisa in 1996, and is now married to Danish-Swedish socialite Christina Tholstrup. He says their relationship is tranquil.
So did Roger bring out the worst in them He once described all three of his exes as 'lovely ladies with bad taste in men'.
Perhaps he is more difficult to live with than he seems, perhaps his throwaway comments get under their skins. After all there is nothing some women like more than a blazing row to prove at least her man is paying attention to her.
Roger explains it by saying he is selfish, but how does that make him different from most men — whose wives don't beat them up.
From everything I know about him I can't believe he is the real villain, but then I'm not married to him.