I prefer my fake babies to sex with my husband
Tuesday 07 February 2012Every night, Alice Winstone sleeps with 48 life-like baby dolls in her bedroom. Unsurprisingly, her long- suffering husband Chris, 56, doesn’t join her in their marital bed – and has even moved out because of her bizarre obsession.
But Alice – who spends £50 a month on clothes for the dolls and regularly changes their nappies – doesn’t care. Incredibly, the mum-of-five claims she loves her dolls more than her husband of 11 years.
She says: “Chris has hated the dolls from the beginning and refused to sleep in the same room as them – he’s scared! He’s moved out, but I won’t consider getting rid of them, I love them – I only love him to a point. They come ahead of him on my list of priorities and I prefer having them to having sex with Chris!”
Alice, who has spent at least £11,500 buying the dolls, insists pushing her marriage to the brink is worth the sacrifice for the happiness they bring her.
“I never call them dolls – that’s offensive – to me, they’re babies,” she insists, explaining she likes them propped up facing her in their beds at night so she can see them.
“People might think I’m crackers, but I’m not bothered. I’ve always adored babies – their neediness, how they feel and how they look in my arms. These babies look and feel so close to the real thing.”
Alice has developed her obsession despite having five children of her own – Jade, 21, Ben, 20, Kyle, 17, Charlie, 14, and Jessica, 11.
“Of course, I love my kids more – I know these babies aren’t real. I’m not mental,” she says.
Alice, from Cardigan in Wales, had her children before meeting caravan site manager Chris 11 years ago. She wanted more, but was unable to because of a blood disorder.
But then she discovered Reborns – dolls designed to replicate newborn babies, with painted faces, hair and soft bodies. In 2008, she bought her first one, Taylor, for £150 and, from the outset, Chris wasn’t keen.
“Chris said Taylor was ugly,” she recalls. “He made me put him in the car, but I snuck him out and slept in the lounge with him! I loved him. I bought him a cuddly teddy, Moses basket and baby clothes.”
Initially, Taylor slept in the dining room and Chris put up with him – but, within three weeks, besotted Alice had bought another, Toby, for £85.
She went on to buy 13 more “babies” in quick succession, saying she “couldn’t stop.” She then decided to move them into the bedroom – despite Chris’ protests.
“I liked having them close to me,” she says. “I have a special unit to put their baskets on – I’d never put them on the floor – and some sleep in a cot. But Chris was really freaked out by them and my attachment to them. That night, he slept in the car.
“I thought it was funny that he was frightened! After that, he went to stay with his mum – I tried to coax him back, but he said there wasn’t enough room. I didn’t even consider moving the babies, though – I wanted them with me.”
She adds: “My kids come first, then my two cats, then my babies, then Chris. Unlike Chris, I know my babies will always be here for me.”
The couple now see each other just three times a week.
Alice says: “I miss Chris and would like him to come back – but I don’t know if he would and I’m not getting rid of my babies.”
Worryingly, the fact her teenage sons also hate the dolls doesn’t deter her either.
She says defiantly: “My 14 year old threatens to stab them all – he’s embarrassed to bring his mates home. But he knows there’s no point asking me to get rid of them.”
Although the dolls have put an end to her love life with Chris, Alice keeps buying them – and now houses 48 in her bedroom.
Staggeringly, she still depends on Chris to buy them – she doesn’t work because she cares for her disabled son – though friends and family sometimes give them to her as gifts.
Even Alice is confused as to why Chris continues to give her money when she spends them on the dolls, but she says: “If I’m down or stressed, he’ll give me money to cheer me up.
“The most expensive baby was Carrie-Anne – she cost £1,000. She looks a bit like me when I was a baby – she’s a chunky monkey! I bought her a £35 dress from Mothercare, with a furry jacket and silver shoes.
“My favourites are Walter, who has a cheeky smile, and Jamie, who was bald and pale when he arrived – I repaired him.”
She adds: “Most of my babies wear shoes and never share clothes. I only buy new – never secondhand. I change their outfits and nappies once a week and wash and iron them. I spend about £50 a month on clothes, toys and dummies.”
Alice draws the line at feeding her dolls or taking them out, but insists each Reborn has its own personality.
She adds: “Chris tells me to stop buying the dolls, but I’ve bought five already this year. I love them – each and every one – and I don’t know when I’ll stop. I’m waiting for a new one to arrive now – I’m so excited, she’s got a mechanism that will allow her to breathe like a real baby!”
Chris, who now lives in a flat on the caravan site where he works, says: “I’m not willing to come home and live with my wife because I find her Reborns scary.”
By Emily Retter