Actress Leslie Ash insisted her husband Lee Chapman was “not a wife-beater” in their first joint interview since she was admitted to hospital amid claims of domestic violence.
The Men Behaving Badly star suffered a collapsed lung and broken rib in April and said it happened during a bout of “energetic sex” with her husband.
Police arrested ex-footballer Chapman following the incident at the couple’s penthouse in Chelsea, west London. He was later released without charge.
In an interview for ITV’s Tonight With Trevor McDonald, Ash, aged 44, dismissed Chapman’s accusers and talked about the trauma of being portrayed as a victim of a violent marriage.
At one point Chapman says: “I think Leslie will say categorically she explained the situation that no assault took place.”
To which Ash adds: “No assault took place.”
Ash’s sister, Debbie, is among those to say Chapman is violent and the actress expresses her sorrow at the claims.
“I mean how worse can it get than your own sister selling her story, selling her story about you?” she says.
Chapman admits the couple have a “tempestuous relationship” and says things went too far when Ash got a restraining order against him in 1997.
Ash says at that time she “stormed out of a taxi” during an argument and Chapman later kicked co-star Caroline Quentin’s door down after she was found to be staying there.
Assault charges against Chapman were eventually dropped
Chapman says : “The charges were dropped because Leslie dropped the charge. I think I was charged with assault. Leslie dropped the charge when we got back together and that’s what we always wanted.”
Ash says: “Of course they’re dropped because he isn’t a wife-beater. He’s not.”
She insists the couple have a “very happy marriage” and a “great life”.
“To be continuously told that I am having to stay with Lee and that he is a violent man, is very traumatic actually, it is traumatic.”
In the programme Ash also talks about her recovery from a life-threatening infection.
She required emergency surgery and spent two months in Charing Cross Hospital after apparently contracting the MSSA (methicillin-sensitive staphylococcus aureus) bug while being treated for her initial injuries at Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
She admits she had thoughts about saying goodbye to her husband and two sons and breaks down at the memory.
Despite being on crutches she believes she will make a full recovery.
“I believe, and that’s what matters, I believe I will make a full recovery.”
The couple are taking legal action against Chelsea and Westminster Hospital.
:: Tonight With Trevor McDonald will be shown on Monday, September 27 at 8pm.