Imogen Thomas, who was caught in a storm of controversy after soccer star Ryan Giggs gagged her with a superinjunction to stop her talking about their six-month affair, has finally spoken of the devastation at being branded a “sl**”.
The 29-year-old glamour model, who was teetered on the brink of suicide after the incident, is now slowly starting to pick up the pieces.
“It doesn’t seem like a year ago, it seems like yesterday — it’s still raw. But I feel like I’m free again, I feel like a new me. I want to put everything that happened in the last year behind me,” the Sun quoted her as saying.
A big part of her new-found happiness has been her boyfriend, 25-year-old Aussie City trader Adam Horsley.
“We’ve been seeing each other for six months. We met in a bar in London and although I was very much in the news then, he didn’t know who I was.
“He’s not the type to judge people before getting to know them. We went on a couple of dates and we’ve been inseparable ever since.
“I don’t want to be with someone famous. I think you’ve got to have someone real, who’s down to earth and treats you the way you should be treated. I totally love Adam. He treats me like an absolute princess,” she said.
It was last April that news emerged of Imogen’s affair with a then unnamed Premiership footballer who had taken out a superinjunction preventing his identity being revealed. She was also accused of blackmailing the star but later cleared.
Giggs was swiftly named on Twitter as the mystery married man, then outed in the House of Commons by MP John Hemming under the legal protection known as parliamentary privilege.
He eventually gave up his anonymity in the High Court in February. In a shocking twist, it was revealed that the dad of two had also betrayed his wife Stacey Cooke by having an eight-year affair with his brother Rhodri’s wife, Natasha.
At the height of the drama, a despairing Imogen was pictured sobbing on the pavement.
Ironically, although she was single and the footballer was married and cheating, she was the one who got the worse abuse, suffering taunting on the street as well as online.
“I’ve had a lot of abuse in the past year and I still get it now sometimes. I’d get called ‘sl**’ when I was out.
“People can say what they want on Twitter when they’re sitting behind a laptop. It’s people who haven’t got lives.
“I had death threats. I had people saying, ‘I’m going to shoot you in the head, I’m going to shoot your mum, I’m going to cut up your nephew’. It was really scary. I don’t know how anyone can be so vicious.
“That’s one of the reasons I moved house. I lived in a ground-floor flat before and I was so scared. I thought, ‘What if someone breaks in?’” she said.
The stress of the attention and the court case soon took its toll.
“I was on antidepressants and I turned to alcohol. How can any girl cope with all that? I’d drink a bottle of wine a night, more if there was another bottle there. Sometimes I’d start off in the day.
“It was a way of making myself feel different. But with the drinking comes the tears. I didn’t want to go out, I wasn’t in the mood, and I was scared someone would glass me.
“I’m normally an outgoing person, really bubbly, but I died inside — wouldn’t any girl if that happened?” Imogen said.
At her lowest, Swansea girl Imogen admits she just didn’t want to live any more.
“I wanted to kill myself. I’d be rolling on the floor, going, ‘What is this, what’s happened?’
“I never went as far as ‘I’m going to do it’ – I couldn’t do that to my family, they mean so much to me.
“There were times when I would call my mum and say, ‘I can’t take it any more’. She would just cry.
“I don’t want people to feel sorry for me. But with so much attention on me and all the legal stuff I was really stressed out. You just don’t want to live any more. It was unbearable,” she said.
Today Imogen is no longer on antidepressants and enjoys going out with her mates again. She credits her family for getting her through the worst times.
“They were such a major support. I’ve got the best family anyone could ask for,” she added.
She has a few projects in the pipeline now, including a cameo in the next series of Channel 4 comedy drama Shameless.