The fourth? Well, that's something I'd rather not talk about. You see, he's still around. When I turned
him down he went off in a huff and married someone else. His wife is now one of my best friends. I wouldn't like
her to know of her husband's involvement with me all those years ago.
Anyway, none of those suitors had a chance while I was obsessed with Mr Television. Val brought stardom to many
of today's headline performers; Norman Wisdom, Max Bygraves, Julie Andrews and lots more.
He also brought over from the USA such top entertainers as Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Judy Garland.
Val was The Guv'nor in all the acts he booked; first for the Palladium and Moss Empires' circuit and later, for his Sunday
Night at the London Palladium TV shows.
As you can imagine my backstage romance with Val plunged me into one long whirl of exciting parties, first nights and
holidays in the South of France. I was his companion on business trips to Madrid, Paris, Las Vegas, New York, Hollywood
... you name it.
But I was never a kept woman. Sometimes, in our early days together, I was earning more than he was. He was
a great, larger than life, character with tremendous charm. A blond giant in his youth and still a tall, handsome man
in middle age.
Our years together were the happiest I've ever known. Of course we had rows - blazing ones sometimes. He
was always madly jealous but it wasn't a tempestuous relationship. He introduced me to a life of fun and laughter.
But let me get back to the start of it all.
When I first met Val I didn't know who he was. It was at Henley, Stoke-on-Trent, touring with comedian Ted Ray
in Black Velvet, that I decided to quit showbusiness for marriage.
He saw me leaving the theatre one Saturday night with my bags packed and asked me where I was going. I told him
I was walking out on showbusiness to get married and he gave me a smile.
"You'll be back in six months," he said. "Marriage isn't for you. You're not the type."
I went off in a huff, leaving the pessimistic stranger stadnign at the stage door.
His prophecy came true. Within a few months I was back in showbusiness - I'd been jilted. I was just 18 and
had fallen in love with a 25-year old Army captain whom I'd met at a party on the Black Velvet tour. I'll call him Clive
though that wasn't his real name.
He made a great fuss of me and came to see me whenever he could. During the time we were playing Liverpool, I was
staying at the Adelphi Hotel. One night there was an air raid after the show, and Clive came with ,e and the other hotel
guests and staff into the cellar.
As we crouched there in semi-darkness he held my hand - more to calm my fears, I thought, then to be romantic.
But love can hit you at any time and at any place - even in a Liverpool cellar.
Before I realised what was happening this Army captain, boyishly handsome in his khaki uniform, was telling me how much
he loved me.
"Please Noele," he pleaded. "Forget about the war - forget about the bombs ... marry me."
At first I thought he had just been carried away by the romanticism of the moment but when I looked at his face I knew
he was quite serious.
"If you really want me then of course I will," I replied. He kissed me and it was only at that moment I realised
I had accepted him.
Before joining the Army, Clive had been studying to become a solicitor. He came from a family of lawyers and there
was no doubt he had a great legal career ahead of him. We made all sorts of plans. We were young and in love.
As it was wartime we planned a quiet register office ceremony. Everything was set. The invitations had gone
out. The honeymoon was arranged. Then, just six days before the wedding I had a letter from Clive breaking the
whole thing off. He didn't give any reason except that he just couldn't go through with it.