Jerry Hall

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"I adore acting," says Mick Jagger's model-turned-West End thespian ex Jerry Hall, in her Texas drawl. "Now I have discovered what it's about, I want to do it more and more. I'm hooked on it. It's better than sex. You can do it eight times a week and still you don't get pregnant."

It's somehow appropriate that the small town girl who made it big got her acting start in a summer stock production of Bus Stop, playing Cherie, a Southern truck stop chanteuse who dreams of being a big-city show girl. "We both came from big families and small towns," says Jerry. "We both read a lot of Hollywood magazines and dreamed about going away."

Born on July 2, 1956, in Gonzalez, Texas, Jerry Faye, one of five daughters, including her twin, Terry Jaye, moved with her family to Mesquite, a nearby working-class town, when she was two. She had a turbulent early life, often facing the wrath of her late alcoholic truck driver father. "He would come home and hit us and scream at us, and I lived in fear of him throughout most of my childhood," she reveals. Aged 16, Jerry left home to pursue a modelling career in Paris, carrying nothing but a suitcase full of Frederick's Of Hollywood knockoffs fashioned by her mum.

With waist-long blonde hair and standing nearly 6ft tall, Jerry was soon making thousands of dollars a week as a fashion model, snagging a rock star fiancé, Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry, along the way. The cover girl, then the face of Yves Saint Laurent Opium perfume and Revlon cosmetics, starred in two of the group's early music videos, and posed for the sleeve of their 1975 album Sirens.

Aged 20, she was still with the art rock singer when she met the man with whom she would spend the next two decades, Rolling Stone Mick Jagger. In 1979 she left Bryan for the 36-year-old music icon, whose marriage to first wife Bianca was coming to an end.

Five years into their famous relationship, the couple had their first daughter, Elizabeth Scarlett, and welcomed a son, James Leroy Augustin, in 1985, the same year she released her autobiography, Tall Tales. Her modelling career on the back burner, over the next decade she landed small roles in films such as 1989's Batman and 1994's Princess Caraboo, and her famous partner, already the father of two by two women, seemed to be settling down. "Mick told me he read somewhere that rock stars have breakdowns because they lose touch with reality," Jerry said in 1985. "He said he was thinking about it the other day when he was loading up the station wagon with baby stuff and said, 'There's no fear of that now.'"

In 1988, when someone asked her when she would wed Mick, who famously said marriage gave him "claustrophobia", Jerry exclaimed: "Golly, I'm tryin'! Y'all quit rubbin' it in!" The famous pair were together for more than a decade when they finally tied the knot on November 21, 1990, and a third child, Georgia May Ayeesha soon followed.

Though rumours of a split buzzed throughout the marriage, it was two years after the 1997 birth of baby number four, Gabriel Luke Beauregard, that model Luciana Morad's announcement she was pregnant with Mick's child drove Jerry to file for divorce. The mess got messier when the model-actress' partner of 22 years claimed their Hindu beach wedding in Bali wasn't valid under English law. The marriage was annulled by a High Court judge in 1999.

Though she once said, "My mum was trapped in an abusive marriage and I have repeated her mistakes," Jerry insists Mick has been a good father and has always been supportive of her career. "It confuses people that we get on so well... We will never give up on the relationship we have as friends and parents." Jerry and the kids live in the £5 million family mansion in London's Richmond Hill - and Mick bought a flat next door.

"Life is very good now," says Jerry. "I have moved on and I feel so lucky." She's moved on in more ways than one. Having ended a relationship with film producer George Waud, ten years her junior, she also had a relationship with banker Tim Attias. She's also been setting the London stage alight, even earning the world record for the most theatre appearances in one night for Les Misérables, Phantom of the Opera, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Blood Brothers and Anything Goes

A science-lover with an IQ of 146 (she buys the New York Times science supplement every week, as well as the New Scientist and Scientific American "And guess what?" she says, "I read them". Jerry also enrolled in an Open University course in humanities. "I'm a bit worried about my next essay," she admitted in 2002. "But it's about the Sixties and about music and art, so I think I might have some friends who can help me with that."
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