Tragic life of Octomum Mandy Allwood – huge loss, alcohol addiction and Princess Diana friendship

Octomum Mandy Allwood, who lost all eight of her children, has died aged 56 from cancer – and is set to be cremated today at a service with no friends or family present.

She became the most famous mum-to-be after it was announced in 1996 that she was expecting octuplets – and thousands grieved with her when it emerged she had lost them all.

Mandy never recovered from the heartbreaking trauma and she still experienced phantom pregnancies two decades later.

She was even comforted by Princess Diana after the unlikely pair formed a friendship and met – where they chatted about depression.

She gave birth at 24 weeks to six boys and two girls over three days and three nights in 1996 but none of the babies survived.

She never recovered from the trauma of losing the octuplets, who she had named Mandy Kypros, Adam, Martyn, Cassius, Nelson, Donald, Kitali and Layne.

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The mum became world-famous


controversial deal

Mandy was a mum-of-one when she met Paul Hudson in 1994. Desperate to have more children with him, after suffering a miscarriage, she took fertility drugs to increase her odds.

The situation was complex, as Paul continued to spend two nights a week with his ex-lover, with whom he had two children.

She was injected with two doses of Metrodin, designed to stimulate ovaries without medical supervision – but reportedly ignored advice not to have sex at a critical time in the treatment.

Doctors advised her to reduce the number of embryos in order to give the fetuses a better chance of survival – but overjoyed Mandy was desperate to carry all eight babies.

Following her discovery that she was pregnant with octuplets, Mandy went on to hire now-disgraced PR guru Max Clifford and signed TV and newspaper deals set to net her more millions

This included a deal with the now-defunct News of the World – which the BBC reports allegedly included a controversial clause that must not abort any of the embryos – despite huge concerns for her health and that of her babies.

She was reportedly offered £1million if all eight babies were delivered safely.

Mandy Allwood, with her ex-Paul, who was the first ‘Octomum’ but sadly lost all of her eight babies

Mandy and Paul when she fell pregnant


Daniel Chung/REX/Shutterstock)

Suing Max Clifford

The controversial PR, later convicted of indecent assault, promised Mandy and Paul huge riches from her pregnancy – but she ended up suicidal and penniless after tragically losing her eight babies.

After she fell pregnant, she moved her and Paul, from Solihull, West Mids, to a safe house in South London to stop her talking to other press – but hardly ever visited.

And when she suffered her immense loss in early labor where she nearly died twice, she said Clifford “didn’t care.”

Instead after five days, she said he arranged for her to move to a hotel before she was flown to America for an interview with Oprah.

And the mum was left fuming after an interview with a German TV station where they had reportedly offered Clifford £495,000 for her story but he told Mandy it was just £20,000.

She later successfully sued him in 2001 the High Court for “making secret profits” – and told the Sun she “sold her soul to the devil” by working with him.

Mandy went on to have three children



The mum went on to do numerous interviews



princess diana meeting

Mandy revealed that Princess Diana got in touch with her just five weeks after she lost her children, and said they went on to meet twice.

Speaking in 2018 about their meetings, Mandy said the pair enjoyed crab and prawn lunches together in top London hotels.

She said: “She gave me a hug, showed me lots of support.

“When we first met she said to me, ‘Thank you for keeping me off the front pages for a change’.

“We talked about her depression and my panic attacks and she told me she had been there, too.

“We talked about her family and she talked a lot about Charles and Camilla.”

tragic deaths

Mandy unexpectedly went into labor at 22 weeks, just weeks after the story had first broken.

Recalling the nightmare in 2006 in an exclusive interview with the Mirror, she said: “I remember it like yesterday. I went to the toilet and as I stood up, the baby shot out on its cord,” she says. “This tiny baby, fully formed with all its fingernails.

“I was actually very calm. I got taken to hospital with a police escort and lost two more babies that day. Another was lodged in my back. I’ve never known pain like it.”

Over the next two days, she lost her five other babies.

She recalled: “I looked at them dressed in their babygrows and all I could think of was which one could I have killed? How could I have chosen? I was distraught.

“When I left the hospital I was so low. It was scary to re-adjust and pick up the pieces in the real world. I just wanted to be on my own.”

Heartbreaking photos went on to capture the funeral where eight tiny coffins were carried into the church.

Tragic photo taken at the funeral

Family estrangement

The mum didn’t think it would be possible to conceive after the horrific trauma she endured but discovered she was pregnant again in 1997 with daughter Color.

Just three months after giving birth, she discovered she was pregnant again and gave birth to daughter Kitali.

And in 2000, she gave birth to Rade, by emergency Caesarean at 30 weeks.

The money made from media deals had largely disappeared and she was convicted of two counts of fraud in 1999, after telling banks she was a high-powered executive while on income support.

Depression still engulfed her and she told the papers how she tried to take her own life in 2007.

Mandy told The People: “It was only when I woke up in hospital and realized how lucky I was to be alive that I really started to deal with my grief.

But she was caught driving three times over the limit while her kids were in the car in 2007 and given an ASBO for playing loud music in 2009, resulting in her losing custody.

She battled alcohol addiction, money issues and suicidal thoughts until the end, and remained estranged from her family.

Neighbors who lived by her said she never got over the loss.

One said: “She was certainly a character, to say the least, but she never recovered from what happened to her.

“You can’t even imagine the trauma she went through so it’s understandable I suppose but she did have her struggles with the bottle.

“It will certainly be quieter around here, she was rather eccentric. Despite her problems, she had a heart of gold.”

She never recovered


The mum continued to struggle

Phantom Pregnancies

Heartbreakingly, Mandy continued to suffer from phantom pregnancies twenty years after her huge loss.

She told The Sun: “I will never ever be able to forget because I am always thinking about them in my head, but also because I can still feel my babies inside me constantly.

“Ever since I gave birth I have felt them kicking and moving every day.’

She said the feeling comes under her breastbone and feels like a ‘sharp stabbing’.

“It’s horrific because it brings back all the trauma every minute of every day when I feel the kicks,’ she added. ‘I am sent back to the time of giving me birth”


Mandy started to face up to her grief and the other issues that she had plagued her during her life.

She told a newspaper in 2007: “When I look at myself now and what I’ve been through it’s amazing that I’m still here.

“I have beaten anorexia and bulimia, had a failed marriage and a divorce, lost my brother and been in difficult relationships.

“I fell out with my parents, had five miscarriages, suffered the loss of eight babies, had post-natal depression – how much can one person take?

“My life has enough material for an entire series of the Jeremy Kyle Show.”

If you’re affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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