Joanne Salley Topless Harrow schoolteacher quits job
A Harrow schoolteacher humiliated when pupils found topless photographs of her has spoken of how she had to give up work because she could not escape the notoriety of what she had done.
Joanne Salley with former boyfriend Matt Dawson, the ex-rugby player Photo:
Joanne Salley, 33, said she was able to return to teaching because her students were "so respectful" but finally quit after realising the stigma was never going to go and had left her "half the person she was".
In her first interview since being thrust in to the spotlight last year, Miss Salley, also revealed how she felt suicidal in the days after the incident and spent a week in the school's medical centre.
Miss Salley, a former model and beauty queen, was working as an art teacher at the exclusive £30,000-a-year public school in March last year when the compromising images emerged.
The photographs, which showed her semi-naked had been taken by teacher friend and head of photography at the school, Fiona Corthine.
But pupils found the images on a memory stick left in the photography studio and they were quickly distributed around the school and then around the world.
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Miss Salley, a former Miss Ireland and Cambridge graduate, was initially signed off work for six months in the wake of the scandal but has told how she returned out of a sense of duty to her pupils, who had exams coming up at the end of the term.
She said stepping back in the classroom was hard, adding: "I wanted to be invisible."
But she said the boys were "amazing and so respectful, they know that I don't stand for any nonsense".
However, returning after the summer break she said: "I felt I was half the person I had been; this awful thing that had happened to me was never going to go away.
"I wanted to be known for the other things I have done in my life – not just for that."
She said she finally resigned last December knowing she would regret the incident for ever.
She also told You Magazine how she was left suicidal when she first discovered what had happened.
"I never wanted the boys to see me in that way. I thought my life had ended," he said.
She was taken to the school's medical centre and given Valium to calm her down because "I'd completely lost it".
She was kept there for a week but by that time the story had been repeated around the world.
"For two weeks I couldn't bear to leave my flat," she said.
"I couldn't face going anywhere, couldn't see anybody, couldn't go for a walk, couldn't answer the phone, I couldn't even read text messages."
Miss Salley, who former boyfriends include ex-England rugby player Matt Dawson and ex-England polo captain Henry Brett, said she has not seen or spoken to Fiona Corthine, since the scandal.
She has now returned to modelling and pursuing a career in broadcasting.