ITV presenter Ruth Dodsworth has spoken out about her ordeal with her abusive former husband Jonathan Wignall in a bid to help other victims of domestic abuse.
The weather presenter came on This Morning on Wednesday (21 April) to talk to Phillip Schofield and Rochelle Humes about her ex-partner who left her feeling “nervous, frightened and broken”.
She told the hosts how her children phoned her warning her not to come home because her husband was threatening to kill her.
Wignall, 54, was handed a three-year sentence last week after nine years of abusive behaviour towards Ms Dodsworth.
Here is everything you need to know about what she said.
Who is Ruth Dodsworth?
Ruth Dodsworth has been a well-known face on ITV Wales for years.
The 46-year-old presenter first started working as a news reporter at the broadcaster in 1996.
She then became a weather presenter four years later.
Now, she’s a regular weather presenter on regional news in both Wales and London.
She has also made appearances on Good Morning Britain and This Morning.
However, Ms Dodsworth doesn’t just stick to informing viewers about the weather, as she has presented a number of ITV Cymru Wales-produced programmes, from coverage of the Royal Welsh Show to Coast And Country.
Furthermore, she has dabbled in radio journalism, co-hosting Nation Radio’s breakfast show as well as co-presenting a weekday breakfast show for five regional radio stations in Wales.
Does she have children?
Ms Dodsworth has two children, 17-year-old daughter Grace and son Jack who is 16.
She took a break from her successful presenting career in 2014 to spend more time with her children at home when Grace was in her final year of primary school.
When she announced her break, she said: "I am often in work from early in the morning to late at night, but I want to spend more time with the children while they still need me."
When did she marry her former husband?
The couple were married for 18 years after tying the knot in 2001.
However, the relationship deteriorated in 2010.
Speaking on This Morning, Ms Dodsworth told Rochelle: "Within a marriage you try to make it work, you make excuses, you try to justify, you plaster a smile but life is not always what it seems.
"Especially with a job like ours, you smile and make it look like you are happy, but that couldn't have been further from the truth. I was determined to make it work, but it just didn't in the end."
The presenter went on to say that the “signs” of Wignall’s bad temper were there.
"The signs were there, we were happy but there were moments where his temper became obvious," she said. "I was the one person he could direct his anger at as business started to fail.
"But the very phrase domestic abuse was very difficult for me to say, even now, because I still didn't see myself in that category."
What did she say about Wignall on This Morning?
A court heard last week how Wignall controlled every aspect of Ms Dodsworth’s life.
He would often turn up at the Cardiff studios where the presenter was filming, would access her phone and email and prevent her from socialising with friends and family.
Her former husband even had a tracker fitted to her car.
After Wignall’s arrest, Ms Dodsworth found out that their house was rented and there was thousands of pounds worth of debt in her name that she did not know about.
She told the This Morning hosts that the abuse came to a head one day when her children phoned her to tell her not to come home.
“Just under two years ago when things escalated, I had been in work during that week, he had been phoning hundreds of times a day, turning up at the office, sending text messages asking who I was with," she said.
"One day, he started drinking early in the day and by the time the children got home from school they were phoning me, warning me don't come home, saying he was going to kill me.
"That was a turning point. I didn't go home, and I think that if I did, I don't think I would be here today in any way shape or form. I wouldn't be alive if I didn't ask for help. It took confiding with someone else saying that if I didn't phone the police, they would."
Wignall was arrested on 18 October 2019 after he called her more than 150 times during the day and Ms Dodsworth did not return to the family home out of fear, a sentencing hearing at Cardiff Crown Court heard.
Giving advice to other victims of domestic abuse, Ms Dodsworth said: "This is a man that I loved and is the father of my children. It is degrading, it was humiliating but it is so hard to get out. I would say to people, just get out. Speak to someone.”
For information and support on domestic abuse, contact:
Police: 999 press 55 when prompted if you can't speak
Refuge UK-wide 24-hour helpline: 0808 2000 247
Welsh Women's Aid Live Fear Free 24-hour helpline: 0808 80 10 800
Scotland National Domestic Abuse and Forced Marriages 24-hour helpline: 0800 027 1234
Northern Ireland Domestic Abuse 24-hour helpline: 0808 802 1414
Men's Advice Line: 0808 801 0327