Where is John Leslie now – new career after being mislabeled as a rapist and celebrity romance


John Leslie was one of the nation’s most popular TV presenters – but his career imploded when he found himself at the center of a media storm.

During his rise to stardom he had a string of glamorous celebrity girlfriends, became the first Scottish host of children’s favorite Blue Peter and co-hosted This Morning with Fern Britton.

A darling of television programs at the height of his fame in 2002, John became a borderline outcast almost overnight and was fired from his job.

In her 2002 autobiography, Ulrika Jonsson claimed that she was raped by a well-known television personality in 1988 when she was a 19-year-old secretary, but did not give the name of her alleged attacker.

Journalist Matthew Wright mistakenly named John the alleged rapist live on the show – and later offered Leslie an apology.

Leslie confirmed he won’t be suing Wright, saying, “I think he just made a really big mistake and unfortunately I was the one who paid the price for it.”

Tonight’s new Channel 5 documentary, The Rise & Fall of John Leslie, examines how he triumphed in court but faced a more severe challenge that won the court of public opinion.

John Leslie when he was a Blue Peter presenter


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Leslie was co-hosting an episode of This Morning when the controversy was unfolding and only found out about Wright’s slip after the show had ended.

“That was it. I was put in a room, there were hundreds of members of the press outside, everything went crazy,” Leslie said during an October 2020 court hearing where he was found not guilty of sexually assaulting a woman who alleged he groped her in 2008.

“It was Armageddon. That was a crazy day and the end of my career because of what Matthew Wright accidentally said.”

Leslie explained he dated Ulrika for “several months” when they were rising stars and they had a “great time” before their “amicable” split.

The TV host said he considered suing Wright over his slip-up but was stopped by his agent from taking legal action against a TV company that could hurt his chances of resuming his career.

He lost his £240,000-a-year contract on This Morning and ITV bosses replaced him with current host Phillip Schofield.

Leslie said it sparked a “witch hunt” that led to him being falsely portrayed as a “crazy sex monster” and other women making false accusations against him. He was never convicted of a crime.

Abi Titmus and John Leslie when they were together in 2003


press association)

Another woman came forward and accused Leslie of indecent assault, but the case was dropped by prosecutors in 2003 and the presiding judge said he could return to his job “without a blemish in his character.”

The former Blue Peter presenter said he went from being a “carefree” star with a “great life” to a “depressed and suicidal” recluse.

“I lost my life,” he told the court, fighting back tears. “I became withdrawn, depressed and suicidal. I lost everything.”

Leslie said he had started to rebuild his life but had become “paranoid” anything he did would end up in the public eye.

At the time, John, who had previously dated Hollywood star Catherine Zeta Jones, was dating former glamor model Abi Titmus.

Abi stood by John’s side while he stood trial and he said she was a tower of strength during his ordeal but admitted their relationship had been under “tremendous strain”.

“It was very difficult for me to fill my days. I had no more money, my life collapsed. Abi was there for me 24/7 during that time,” John said on Richard and Judy’s show. “I don’t think I would have done so well without her.”

When asked if they would remain friends after the split, Leslie replied, “We’ll be friends for life.”

John Leslie and Abi Titmus appear in court in 2003



However, Abi later admitted that if she had had the opportunity to go back in time, she would never have spoken to John at all.

If she had had the chance to go back in time, she would have made a very different decision that night in Fulham.

“I didn’t talk to John because he was famous. But I spoke to John because I liked him and he seemed really nice at first,” she told The Sun.

“It was a sliding doors moment where someone’s life can go one way or the other. If I hadn’t gone with John I would have avoided all the madness that followed.

“And for my parents, who have suffered so much, I would act differently if I could do it all over again. I would walk out of this bar and never look back.”

Leslie appeared in a Sky One documentary, My Year of Hell, which included an extensive video diary recorded during the investigation into him.

After a stint as a property developer, John began working as a local radio DJ in Edinburgh, living alone in a bungalow on the outskirts of town.

John Leslie pictured in 2018


Duncan McGlynn (SWNS.com)

In November 2012, John Leslie began presenting the Friday Drivetime show on 98.8 Castle FM and was among the presenters who disagreed with management.

They were locked out of the building when they returned, and by the end of the year the radio station was automated and had no hosts.

He began presenting his own Saturday radio show on Scotland’s Bauer Radio Am network in March 2014 and six years later he was spotted with his hairdresser girlfriend.

In June 2017, Leslie was accused of putting his hand on the back of a woman’s pants while she was dancing, an accusation he vehemently denied.

Leslie described dancing with the woman and said he wished her well when the song was over.

“I didn’t put my hands down her pants. I would never do that. I would never have done that. I’m upset about the allegation,” he said.

Leslie was found not guilty of sexually assaulting the woman in June 2018.

John Leslie arrives at Southwark Crown Court in 2020


daily star)

In October 2020, Leslie was found not guilty of sexual assault at Southwark Crown Court in London.

A charity event claimed he groped her breasts at a celebrity’s Christmas party in a bar in London’s West End in 2008. Leslie consistently denied the allegation.

He told the jury he didn’t know the victim, didn’t remember meeting her and didn’t remember being at the party.

It took the jury just 23 minutes to come to an acquittal, and the judge said he would walk “without a blemish on your character.”

* The Rise & Fall of John Leslie airs tonight at 9pm on Channel 5

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