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Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Katherine Heslop

Dawn Ward's desperate rise to fame as she is cleared of racially abusing two Jewish men

Today marks a fresh start for The Real Housewives of Cheshire star and WAG Dawn Ward , after a jury found her innocent of racially abusing two Jewish men and cocaine possession.

The 48-year-old businesswoman, who once proclaimed that Prosecco makes her “gag” and lives in a £15m mansion, was accused of hurling abuse at brothers Jake and Sam Jacobs at London Euston Station in October 2019.

Ward denied two counts of racially aggravated harassment and one count of possession of cocaine, and sobbed as a jury cleared her of the charges.

Ward, who shares four daughters with ex-Premier League footballer Ashley Ward , was often embroiled in fiery drama with her fellow castmates in the nearly seven years she starred on The Real Housewives of Cheshire, before she left in 2020.

Dawn Ward with her husband Ashley Ward (David Fisher/REX/Shutterstock)
Dawn has four daughters with Ashley (Getty Images)

She lives a lifestyle that many would envy, with a cinema, hair and nail salon and a special room for tanning in her palatial pad.

She has spoken of celeb pals such as Gemma Collins and as an interior designer has worked for football power couples such as the Rooneys.

But it wasn’t always this way.

Following today's verdict, and the end of of an ordeal which she described as "three years of hell", we have taken a look at the mum’s rise to fame.

Dawn Ward with celeb pal Gemma Collins (Instagram)
Dawn with her daughter Darby in 2017 (Ken McKay/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

Every weekend at the age of 12, Dawn worked on a fruit and veg stall, getting out of bed at 4am and home at 10.30pm, The Mirror reported in 2015.

She met Ashley in a pub car park in Bolton while working as a model, and at that point earned more than him.

Dawn recalled: “He was a Man City apprentice on £80 a week…I thought he was fit, we had a bit of a chat, and then I wanted to make an old boyfriend jealous so I went on a date with Ashley.

Dawn Ward with the original cast of The Real Housewives of Cheshire (Manchester Evening News)

She added: "Five years later he proposed in the same pub car park.”

The pair married in 1995 in Middleton.

Dawn always wanted to make her own money, recalling “As a little girl, I’d look at ­magazines and think, ‘I want that – I want to be successful and have nice things.’ As an only child I was very indepen­­dent – I believe you can always get what you want if you have your health and work hard enough.”

The businesswoman pictured in 2015, in her luscious pad's living room (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

Ashley, 51, and Dawn have set up a number of businesses, including an interior design company which they founded before the sportsman, who appeared for a host of clubs including Manchester City and Leicester, retired from footie in 2005.

As well as Wayne and Coleen, the firm has designed for Steven and Alex Gerrard and Peter and Abby Crouch.

Speaking in 2015, Dawn said her “easiest client” is Coleen, who she has worked with since she was 16.

She even designed their first nursery for son Kai, which she described as “unique and beautiful”- with lots of Swarovksy crystals.

The mum-of-four in front of her home in Cheshire (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

“Footballers’ houses were my bread and butter for so long. But the main core of my business now is super high-end companies and huge high-end developments,” she added.

Although Dawn might have been known amongst the footballing crowd and celeb circuits it wasn’t until 2015 that she entered the nation’s consciousness, on ITVBE’s new show, focussed on the enchanted and ridiculously lavish lives of six wealthy ‘housewives’ in Cheshire.

As well as Dawn, the original cast members were Ampika Pickstone, Lauren Simon, Leanne Brown, Magali Gorré and Tanya Bardsley.

Dawn with husband Ashley in 2018 (Manchester Evening News)
The couple run an interior design company (Manchester Evening News)

Dawn said she decided to appear on the show to raise her brand’s profile, and secure the future for her four daughters.

The mum-of-four, said: “I don’t need to prove myself to anyone. You’ll always get people stereotyping you. But actually all the WAGs are quite hot and cool, so at my age I’m pretty pleased.”

Over 14 seasons, the show has included some hilarious and ridiculous moments, including the group having a go at herding ducks and a monkey making off with Dawn’s Chanel handbag while on holiday in Gibraltar, although she did get the expensive accessory back.

Dawn was criticised for allowing two of her daughters, then aged 21 and 19, to have boob jobs, crying on Loose Women when one of the offspring Darby defended her mum.

Feuds were of course a big part of the show’s appeal and Dawn’s on-going row with cast member and one-time friend Leanne Brown caught the attention of many.

She also argued with cast member Tanya Bardsley, about, it was said, Leanne.

In June 2016, Dawn was found guilty of assaulting singer Sinitta in a London restaurant, after she had denied the charge.

Dawn in her walk-in wardrobe in 2015 (Julian Hamilton/Daily Mirror)

She was sentenced to be bound over to keep the peace for three months.

The judge found that although the force was “minimal, not strong”, he was satisfied that “when Mrs Ward prodded or poked Miss Malone it was an assault by beating”.

Dawn’s profile continued to rise after the court case, and there were rumours she would appear on Celebrity Big Brother 2017, but that never happened.

As well as appearances on chat shows, In 2019 she strutted her stuff at a catwalk during a show at the Men’s London Fashion Week.

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Dawn looked unrecognisable as she shunned her usual glossy blowdry and pristine make-up for a greasy, wet look hairstyle and icy visage for the Art School Autumn/Winter 2019 collection.

In 2020 she appeared on Celebrity Come Dine with Me, alongside Geordie Shore’s Charlotte Crosby and Corrie actor Steven Arnold.

The same year, she announced she was leaving The Real Housewives of Cheshire after 12 seasons, to pursue projects with her family.

In a statement, uploaded on social media, she explained: "Having been on the real housewives of Cheshire for almost 7 years & 12 seasons, I’ve had the most incredible journey, not just me, but my whole family. It really has been amazing for us."

"Season 12 has now come to an end and filming has finished. It’s been difficult this season with the pandemic but the cast and our amazing production team have pulled it off again, it’s been fun!

"Everyone who knows me knows I’m all about my family, so I’ve decided that after 12 seasons on the show I would like to concentrate on projects with them.”

She added that the show will only go “from strength to strength as it’s done since season 1”.

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