Penny Lancaster was a naturally athletic youngster. At an early age she developed a love for dance and had dreams of turning professional one day, but a passion for aerobics took over and she became a fitness instructor, like her brother Oliver.
When a scout suggested the 6ft 1in stunner could have a more lucrative career in modelling, she changed tack. But it was her interest in what happened behind the camera that would lead to her chance encounter with husky-voiced Rod, 26 years her senior. They met at a Christmas party in 1998, shortly after he'd split from wife Rachel Hunter when Penny was a shy photography student. Egged on by a friend, she asked him for his autograph, and he invited her to take some photos at a concert.
While their romance went from strength to strength, so did her career. She landed photography assignments for HELLO! magazine and became the face of Ultimo lingerie. In 2004, however, a calculated publicity move by the underwear firm saw her replaced by Rod's estranged wife Rachel, leading to some sections of the media trying to pit the glamorous pair against each other. Penny moved on from the incident by returning to her roots to bring out a best-selling fitness DVD, entitled Ultimate Body Workout.