Lauren is the news editor of Vogue.co.uk
Monday 18 May 2015
LEE MCQUEEN's sister Janet has spoken for the first time about the sexual abuse that her brother suffered at the hands of her former husband. The designer, who was 15 years younger than his sister, was abused by her violent first husband from the age of nine, but Janet did not become aware of it until four years before his death.
"I think in a way Lee looked up to me as the eldest, even though obviously I came across as weak because of what happened, but what Lee suffered it was just such a shock," she told today's Times2. "It still is. How did I miss something like that? The day I was told I was shell-shocked. Can you imagine leading a life for so many years, and then finding out something as bad as that? You just can't grasp it at first. Of course, I felt guilty. Who wouldn't?"
Janet believes that the experience of watching her being beaten by the same man - so badly that she miscarried on two occasions - influenced McQueen's work, inspiring him to dress women who, in his own words, people would be "afraid of". One of six children, and named Blue by them because of his eyes, McQueen was famously close to his family - although Janet revealed that they were unaware of his state of mind leading up to his death.
"If we had known the extent of it, we would have been bashing down doors, but we didn't," she said. "We all spoke to Lee about the drugs, but he was a man in his late thirties. I don't want to name names, I've got to be careful, but people knew his state of mind and his family didn't… They knew about the other suicide attempts. We didn't."
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