Sarah Ferguson’s most scandalous moments – from kissing toes to debt struggles

Sarah Ferguson, the Duchess of York, turns 62 today, and has throughout the years has her share of being splashed across newspaper pages.

The Duchess of York married Prince Andrew in 1986, before their eventual divorce 10 years later.

'Fergie', as she is widely known, and Andrew welcomed their first child Beatrice in 1988, before Princess Eugenie arrived in 1990.

Their marriage was the subject of much speculation and was reportedly already in trouble by 1991.

It meant that the Duchess was dogged by controversies in the press, much of which regarded her private life. It distracted from much of the charity work she is also known for.

She was often compared to Princess Diana in that she found the atmosphere in the British press restrictive, as well as royal family life.

Speaking to Oprah in 1996, she said: "[You realise] you married a man, you fell in love and then you've got to come to terms with the fairy tale. It's not a fairy tale, it's real life in there or – they [the royals] think it's real life in there.

Toe-kissing scandal

The Duchess and Andrew announced their separation in March 1992. Five months later, she made the front pages after intimate images of her were posted with US millionaire John Bryan.

Bryan appeared to be kissing the Duchess' toes as they sunbathed in the French Riviera.

The scandal caused a rift between the palace and Fergie, who was staying at Balmoral on the morning the photographs were published on the front of the Mirror.

Royal writer Richard Kay claimed in the Daily Mail that he received a message via pager from Princess Diana the night before the photos hit the newspaper stands.

The message from the late royal simply read: "The redhead's in trouble."

Newspaper sting

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The Duchess of York was also caught up in a newspaper sting by the now defunct The News Of The World.

On May 23, 2010, the tabloid released hidden-camera footage appearing to show Ferguson attempting to sell access to Prince Andrew.

She believed the man, an undercover journalist, to be a wealthy businessman.

However, in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, she said the whole thing was a misunderstanding, and that it had been an attempt to help a friend, and was herself facing "substantial" debts.

She later said: "It shocked me to the roots of my whole being.

At the time Buckingham Palace issued a statement denying Andrew had prior knowledge of what she was doing, which Ferguson confirmed.

She added: "He felt very, very sorry for me."

"He was so angry that I should have been trapped, 'cause he knows me. He knows I would never, ever put him in a position that would compromise him, ever!"

Duchess of debt

As she has not remarried, Fergie has been able to keep her title of Duchess of York. But after her separation from Andrew, another, more unfortunate title followed her.

She reportedly struggled with debt problems, and admitted in a candid interview with Oprah Winfrey that she was "continually on the verge of financial bankruptcy" as well as being "emotionally bankrupt".

Sarah added: "When we got divorced I just had to get on with it but… I didn’t understand things about money, probably because I never had to."

A US-based company Hartmoor, which Sarah had a 51% stake in, collapsed with more than £600,000 in debts.

According to the Mirror, a source close to Fergie said: "Her personal investment in the company was to the tune of millions of dollars.

"She wanted to fulfil her financial obligations there rather than go down the bankruptcy route."

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