Dame Barbara Windsor found love with third husband after heartache

Dame Barbara Windsor finally found enduring love with her third husband Scott Mitchell.

The couple wed just over 20 years ago in London’s Dorchester Hotel.

The actress was 62 and Mitchell was 36 and their relationship became one of the most solid in the showbiz world.

Before her successful third marriage, Dame Barbara had a colourful love life dogged by heartache.

Barbara Windsor and Ronnie Knight
Barbara Windsor and then husband Ronnie Knight, pictured in 1980 (PA)

The soap star had flings with footballer George Best, Bee Gee Maurice Gibb and Carry On co-star Sid James.

Her marriage to infamous East End villain Ronnie Knight often hit the headlines.

She divorced Knight after 21 years of marriage when he fled to Spain while wanted by police in connection with the 1983 £6 million Security Express robbery, for which he was later jailed.

The Carry On star also dated Charlie Kray, the brother of gangster twins Ronnie and Reggie.

Her second husband was Stephen Hollings, a chef 20 years her junior who she wed in 1986.

Barbara Windsor and Sid James
Barbara Windsor and Sid James at a Christmas party in 1973 (PA)

They opened a pub together in Amersham, Buckinghamshire, but later divorced.

She later told how she was nearly £1 million in the red as she battled to cope with huge debts run up by Hollings during their ill-fated marriage.

The actress never had children and spoke openly about having had five abortions.

Dame Barbara met Mitchell while she performed in Joe Orton’s black comedy Entertaining Mr Sloane.

Dame Barbara Windsor
Dame Barbara pictured in 1987 on stage at the London Palladium in panto rehearsals (PA)

Their relationship began the year before she enjoyed huge success and a career comeback as no-nonsense matriarch Peggy Mitchell in EastEnders.

She later said “meeting Scott is the best thing that ever happened to me”.

When the couple started dating, some suggested her new man was a gold-digging toyboy.

Mitchell later told The Sun: “Little did they know that after the breakdown of Bar’s second marriage, she was £1 million in debt and we were talking about her coming to live in my two-bed flat.”