Loni Willison was a familiar face as a model, and was often photographed on the red carpet with Jeremy Jackson, her husband and former Baywatch star.
But seven years after the couple split in 2014, Loni has been spotted scavenging food from bins around the Los Angeles area, and has been pictured sleeping under a shopping trolley full of her possessions.
It is believed that Loni has been sleeping rough for around three years, as photos of her wheeling around a shopping trolley with her clothes in have been turfed up during that period.
Loni's story from marriage to homelessness
The former model married Baywatch star Jeremy in 2012 on a Californian beach, and the couple were photographed together with their dog in pictures which were sent around the world.
Jeremy played Hobie Buchanan in Baywatch, the son of Mitch, the lifeguard character played by David Hasselhoff. He starred in the show until 1999. He now works as a fitness trailer in Los Angeles.
Loni, also from California, was often working on sportswear and swimsuit campaigns during the period the couple were together.
But in 2014 the police were called to the couple's home after an alleged attack by Jeremy on Loni.
Loni alleged that Jeremy strangled and beat her, breaking two of her ribs, but she didn't press charges. The couple broke up directly after the attack, Loni revealed during Jeremy's stint on Celebrity Big Brother in 2015.
She said to MailOnline of the alleged attack: "It took me over two months to recover properly.
“I ended up having to quit my job as an assistant to a plastic surgeon and I couldn't work out or take on any modelling jobs.
“I didn't go out with friends or do anything – I was in a very bad place.”
Jeremy would be thrown out of the Big Brother house for exposing the breasts of another contestant, former model Chloe Goodman, on the show and Loni called out his behaviour.
"I didn't report him when he attacked me because I was scared,” she said, speaking to The Sun. “I was in a bad place emotionally and I didn't want Jeremy to go to jail.
"At least now everyone can see what I had to put up with.”
Mental health challenges
Loni suffered a mental breakdown after the split, which left her unable to work, according to The Sun, and after struggling financially, had to move out of her rented apartment in 2016.
“I get robbed all the time. People take my stuff," she told Daily Mail of her life on the streets.
“I basically make myself as dirty as possible so that no one attacks me. The dirtier I am the better. Smelly, too. If I do those two things, that seems to work.
“I cut off my hair, too, to look different. I cut it myself. But I have been attacked, that's bound to happen, too.”
In 2019 she told The Sun: "I can live on my own. I've got everything I need right here. Nobody really cares about me and I don’t want to see them, they don’t want to see me."
Former model friend Kristin Rossetti tried to intervene to help Loni off the streets in 2018, after she saw photos of the former model sleeping under a shopping trolley.
Kristin was photographed hugging Loni on the streets before taking her to a hotel for the night - but the Daily Mail reported that Loni told Kristin she wanted to leave to "get high" the following morning and that she turned down offers for free drug rehabilitation services.
In the same interview, Loni also alleged she was being electrocuted in the apartment she was renting and living in alone.
“I was getting tortured in my home, my apartment," she said. “I was living by myself but I was getting electrocuted.
“It was really bad, really horrible. I later found a red mark on the back of my neck and I think that was how the electricity was getting into my head.”
Domestic violence victims make up a disproportionate amount of the people who end up living on the streets. According to research by the charity SafeLives, 32% of homeless women surveyed said domestic violence contributed to their homelessness.
And women with mental health problems are even more likely to end up on the street, according to the SafeLives data.
Here in the UK, the lockdowns have increased cases of domestic abuse. Chancellor Rishi Sunak described the increase as “one of the hidden tragedies of lockdown” during the Spring Budget.
* If you're struggling and need to talk, the Samaritans operate a free helpline open 24/7 on 116 123. Alternatively, you can email [email protected] or visit their site to find your local branch