Jo puts record straight over her romance with star Jim
THE media frenzy surrounding Jim Davidson's arrest has led to a crazy episode which Jo struggles to describe.
After weeks of pursuit by reporters , the 41-year-old mum-of-one found herself on the cover of the Mail on Sunday after finally agreeing to break her silence on her teenage romance with the arrested comedian.
She was on the most wanted list for national journalists desperate for some gossip on Jim Davidson.
He faces two allegations of sexual assault involving women in their 20s.
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He has not been charged with any offence and has been bailed to return to court in March pending further inquiries.
He strenuously denies the allegations.
Journalists were camping out even before the star's arrest for sex allegations and the pursuit only intensified afterwards.
It got to a point where Jo switched off her phone and went away for a few days to escape the madness.
And presented with an ultimatum from one red top tabloid that they would run the story anyway, Jo decided she would talk but on her own terms.
Jo said: "There were rumours going around Fleet Street that I was underage at the time. That was wrong and I said to my agent 'what do I do?'
"It got crazy, my agent said 'why don't you do it and that way you have control to a certain extent? The best paper to go with is the Mail on Sunday'.
"I agreed, but cancelled three times. Three days they were down here and I wouldn't speak but then I finally agreed."
Jo has refused offers from ITV's This Morning and magazines to retell the story.
But she decided to speak to the Herald Express to hit back at some of the nasty online comments.
But the biggest vindication has come from Jim Davidson himself.
Jo said: "I heard from Jim, really thanking me for my support, and telling the truth, and that he was really grateful and it was so nice knowing so many people are on his side.
"I would say 90 per cent of friends and all of my family were totally adamant I was doing the right thing.
"Yes, he may be a womaniser and I can't speak for the women who have made these allegations.
"But in my experience, Jim was always a perfect gent and he was never intimidating or lecherous."
It was 1987 in Torquay, when Jo, a confident 16-year-old trainee dancer, first met the comedian.
At 34, Davidson was approaching the height of his fame and performing a seven-week season at the Princess Theatre.
Jo who was working as a barmaid, during the summer break from her prestigious dancing school in London.
Their relationship caused a tabloid sensation at the time.
And Davidson later told in his autobiography how he had been accused of having an affair with an underage girl and was forced to defend potentially harmful allegations which were completely false.
Now Jo has done the same to confirm she definitely was not underage or blinded by his fame.
Jo said: "I was very mature for my age and I had been living in London independently since I was 14.
"I was certainly no naive little girl. I was mature for my age. I knew what I was doing and at no point did I feel intimidated or threatened by him."
Jo says she has no regrets about her teenage romance and looks back on it with fondness.
She said: "Believe it or not, our relationship was actually very sweet."
When he began seeing Jo, Davidson was still married to his third wife, television presenter Alison Holloway, although it was widely known they were separated.
Her relationship with the comedian began as a friendship after Davidson teased her about her poor barmaid skills as she worked a shift — despite her age — at a bar in Torquay.
She was a driven young woman living in London while training to be a dancer at the prestigious Italia Conti Academy in London.
She admits she did not tell Davidson how old she was.
She said: "Jim would have thought quite reasonably that I was at least 18 because I was working — looking back now, quite illegally — in a bar.
"In all ways at that time I appeared to be 18 or even much older.
"Because I was already in the showbusiness world, I fitted in very comfortably. I wasn't some naive little girl suddenly confronted by a big star. I knew what I wanted and was emotionally very mature.
"But we did nothing wrong. I was still 16 and our relationship was perfectly legal."
She would accompany Jim Davidson and his friends, including women she already knew from the dance community, on the comedian's boat, Dishy Doo, which he kept moored in Torquay harbour.
Their mutual attraction developed gradually into romance and a sexual relationship.
Jo was living with her mother Betty at the time, and would spend nights with him on board his boat.
The media would eventually uncover their relationship when a former boyfriend of Jo accused Jim of stealing his 'sweet 16'.
Jim would distract the press who camped out at the harbour to allow Joanne to slip away unnoticed.
Jo said Jim did ask her to marry him on a trip to Brixham.
She said: "He turned to me and said, 'You make me feel young again. Will you marry me?"
"Me being 16 and so career-minded, and I knew I had a place at a London dance school starting in September, I said, 'Don't be crazy. I want my career. I'm too young. Maybe when I've been to college, we'll see'.
"He never got down on one knee with a ring, but I think with Jim he's so passionate about whoever he's with he just invests everything into them, every time.
"When he's with you, he makes you feel so special, you're the only woman in the world. That's just who he is."
Jo even introduced him to her parents. Her father already knew him vaguely because he too kept a boat in the harbour and her mother was eventually won over by how well he appeared to treat her daughter.
Jim also made sure he introduced Jo to his mother when she made a trip to Torquay.
But the romance fizzled out when Jim met his fourth-wife-to be, a promotions girl at the Southampton Boat Show.
And at the end of the summer, Jo left Torquay to pursue her career with a place at the London Studio Centre, a prestigious dance school.
Their relationship continued at first but gradually contact faded between the pair.
Jo knew it was over when a friend pointed out a newspaper article in which Jim discussed his new relationship with Tracy Hilton.
Jo said: "I was in love with him and I thought the world of him, but that's the way any 17-year-old would view a relationship.
"I never thought it would be forever and I was so busy with my career and college that I was OK. There was no bad feeling."
Jo went on to forge a successful dance career and toured the country performing with some of the biggest stars of the time, including Michael Barrymore, Bobby Davro, Bucks Fizz, Joe Pasquale and actor Leslie Grantham.
Now, she lives with her seven-year-old son Tyler back in Torquay, where she works as a dance teacher.
Jo and her son were diagnosed in 2009 with Long QT Syndrome, a congenital heart condition which can cause sudden death.
She has been fundraising for the charity ever since, trekked the Sahara and is due to climb Mount Kilimanjaro in October.
To support Jo visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/jodieandjo