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Tuesday 21 November 2017

'The infamous 'Tennis Girl' was my ex-wife - and now I can prove it'

Peter Atkinson, 72, claims the real star of the posters was not the model Fiona Butler but his former wife, who wishes to remain anonymous

The iconic 'Tennis Girl' image
The iconic 'Tennis Girl' image

Independent.ie Newsdesk and Agencies

A man who claims his ex-wife was the player exposing her bottom in the infamous "Tennis Girl" posters and says he has the evidence to prove it.

The iconic image was taken by Martin Elliott and was always believed to be of Fiona Butler.

Elliott and poster chain Anthea always stated the famous image was taken of Mrs Butler when she was 18 in 1976.

However Peter Atkinson (72) has spent more than 30 years claiming the woman in question was in fact his ex-wife and says he has a postcard to prove it.

Mr Atkinson has uncovered a postcard he bought off eBay - stamped with the postmark of 1974 - which he says proves the picture existed before Elliott's claims of the 1776 shoot with Fiona Butler, his then girlfriend.

He has also found a calendar from 1974 which he says features the picture of his ex-wife in the pose which also proves his point.

His ex-wife has decided to remain anonymous.

"The photo used in the Tennis Girl photos is not Fiona Butler, but is my ex-wife," he told The Telegraph.

"Fiona was photographed by Martin Elliot, but that was years after the initial photo was taken. Initially Martin photographed my ex-wife, and tried to flog it to the poster manufacturer Athena.

"Athena weren't interested to begin with, but eventually they came back to him and commissioned him to take the photo properly and lent him some professional gear.

"Fiona has always said she had a photo shoot with her knickers off with Martin, she thinks that the photo shoot they had was the one that was used - that's not the case."

Mr Atkinson says his ex-wife posed for the photographer in 1972 wearing the tennis skirt and showing her bum, four years Elliott recreated the image with Mrs Butler, who was his girlfriend at the time.

The photographer died of cancer in 2010 and while he always denied Atkinson's claims, did confess before his death that the picture was in fact that of his ex-wife. 

"He confessed it to me - but I can't prove it. He said that he would give it me in writing, in a postcard, but it never arrived."

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