Since the age of seven when her mother left home - taking her younger sister, Gillian with her - Jan was raised by her father, a man who while strict, she adored.She was however, sexually naive and by 19 she was pregnant with John's baby, unmarried, and pleading with a psychiatrist to let her have an abortion. A cold, clinical psychiatrist gave me the choice between unwanted motherhood or a back street job," she recalls."Nobody will ever know exactly what happened, but I was told he was in collision with a truck," she says sadly."The car caught fire and though he was thrown clear, he died from a ruptured spleen." In grief and with no work on the horizon, Jan accepted the money her mother sent her to get her home.
She found solace in a close friend, Owen Leeming, a drama producer at the BBC."Because of my Catholic upbringing, and having a strict father, I would say I am a fundamentally moral and honest person," she says."But as anyone who has ever been in love will testify, reason and logic desert you when Cupid shoots his arrow." The pair bought a house together and made plans to marry and have children of their own once Jeremy's divorce had come through.There she worked as an actress for three years before meeting Hayo Niebor, a dark, handsome man with "Latin matinee idol good looks." While her acting career in the theatre continued to flourish, her short relationship with Hayo with whom she became engaged, suffered as the result of the amount of time they were forced to spend apart.Then, after a row, he decided to surprise her by driving overnight from Sydney to Melbourne, a distance of 500 miles.But if she's nervous at the prospect of discussing the most intimate aspects of her personal life, laid bare in her new autobiography, Addicted to Love, it's understandable.Unlike her panto character, Jan's life has been anything but a fairytale.The book, she says in the opening pages, is about putting the record straight.Jan rose to public prominence in the 1980s as one of the most well known faces on British television.Now 62, and single again, she insists her marriages haven't brought her large financial settlements. "I have been financially independent from the age of seventeen-and-a-half.Not one of the men I married had any money, so that was not my motivation.