By 'eck, I've had five fiancés

The original Boddington's girl Debby Carr on her continuing quest for a Jewish husband

By Angela Epstein, June 16, 2011
Debby Carr has enjoyed a successful career as a model but found enduring fame in a TV commercial for beer (below)

Debby Carr has enjoyed a successful career as a model but found enduring fame in a TV commercial for beer (below)

Debby Carr has the kind of beauty that makes grown men walk into oncoming traffic. Not only because they are bewitched by her striking looks, but also because there is something familiar about those feline eyes and that sultry smile.

Want a clue? Anyone who sees her might think: "By 'eck, she's gorgeous".

The catchphrase refers to when Carr was crowned the original Boddington's girl, starring in the seminal television advert that rocketed the profile of what was once just a northerner's pint.

Carr, who is from Manchester, played the role of a raven-haired siren sitting at her dressing table and seductively rubbing foaming face cream into her skin. Only it was not face cream but the frothy head of a pint of beer. Successive Boddington's girls included TV presenter Melanie Sykes and actress Anna Chancellor.

That was 20 years ago. Spool forward to the present day and Carr, now 48, reveals a story that will resonate with many female readers - namely that she cannot find a nice Jewish man. It seems despite her striking looks and success - she is now a formidable businesswoman running a swimming lessons franchise - true love continues to elude her.

Not that she has not tried. She has been engaged five times, including one brief foray into matrimony.

"I need someone who is a quick-witted, someone my equal," she says. "I'd prefer him to be Jewish. I come from a traditional Jewish background and though I may not practise much now, I feel it in my head, I feel it spiritually. But every guy I meet can't seem to make a commitment.

"I did do Jewish dating sites but the repeat offenders were always there and I used to think: 'Why haven't these men moved on?' Do they just window-shop? But whenever I email my picture to someone, they say: 'Wow, is that really you?' The ex-model thing hooks them, but then commitment issues kick in."

It was such eye-catching beauty which drew Carr away from the kind of white-collar career expected of a girl who attended one of the north's most prestigious private schools - Manchester High School for Girls.

Brought up in a close south Manchester Jewish family, Carr's mother enrolled her for evening classes at a local modelling school to give her daughter a little more polish. "Walking around with a book on your head and learning how to get in and out of a sports car - very useful," she grins.

But it worked. Before long, modelling jobs came flooding in. By the time she left school at 18 she was earning a five-figure sum. She shot campaigns for Boots No 7 in Barbados, became the face of Rimmel cosmetics and trod the catwalks of Milan and Tokyo, though at 5ft 7 she was, she says, "a bit on the short side".

She was lined up to front a campaign for Revlon but "was pipped at the post by Cindy Crawford", she recalls ruefully. Still, the work flowed in. "I was even asked to mime backing vocals for Bryan Ferry when he appeared on Wogan."

So why the chequered romantic history? Fiancé number one was a "lovely Jewish boy" from a wealthy Cheshire family whom she had met in her teens. "He treated me like a princess, gave me a real knuckle-duster ring. We had the huge engagement party. But my career was taking off, I was only 21 and I just knew I couldn't get married then. I think when you have success at a certain level it's hard to be part of the real world. I had to break it off. My parents weren't thrilled but they supported me. Though they made me take back every single present personally to all the guests."

Yet despite her career ambition, it was not long before the biter got bitten. At a party around a year later she met celebrity lawyer Nick "Mr Loophole" Freeman and fell "madly in love". But he called things off a few days before their engagement party.

"I think he just changed his mind," she says. "That was hard to get over. I think I closed up part of my heart after that one. But I had done the same thing to my first fiancé so I know that these things can happen."

Throwing herself into her modelling work to get over the break-up, Carr moved to London and found herself on a shoot in Majorca when she spotted a handsome stranger working as a photographic assistant.

"I thought it would just be a holiday romance but I ended up proposing two and a half months later! My working life was at its peak but my personal life was in tatters. I was enormously insecure and I just wanted the security of settling down."

The marriage lasted three years and produced a son, Charlie, now 18, before she realised it was not working.

"What made it hard, marrying someone not Jewish, is that he couldn't get to grips with the high level of family involvement. I come from a very close, warm family and he wasn't used to that. I suppose it's just a cultural difference. I told him I wanted a divorce when I came back from a modelling job in Marrakesh - but that he could keep the ring."

It has now been three years since her last serious romance. But Carr remains on the radar because of that advert.

"Men still come up to me saying: 'Aren't you the Boddington's girl', or 'I had your poster on my wall'. I think: 'Eeww, I don't want to know'."

Last updated: 10:35am, June 16 2011