Several decades on, with four marriages under his belt and about to turn 75, David Bailey is as controversial as ever.
The fashion photographer reveals he still enjoys making love to his 51-year-old wife Catherine, is friends with his ex-girlfriends and ex-wives – and remains unapologetic about his penchant for one night stands.
It was a habit which saw him clash with feminist critics in the 1970s.
But in a new TV interview he says of his conquests: ‘Like it’s my fault they slept with me? They had a choice, it wasn’t rape or anything.’
The East Londoner, who will be 75 on January 2, is inextricabily linked with the Swinging Sixties. The Beatles, Mick Jagger and the Kray brothers all posed for him.
He established himself at Vogue where he took pictures of Jean Shrimpton, now 70, who was his girlfriend at one stage, and also developed his love of women.
In the past he has said: ‘You used to be a bad boy if you slept with a lot of women. And I did. People can’t bear that. I can’t see what’s wrong with that really.’
In his interview with Sky Arts programme Living The Life to be screened on January 8, he says: ‘It was a bit of fun really. I got used, they got used.’
But he adds: ‘I had a terrible time in the 70s with all those silly feminists.’
In a previous interview Bailey told how he was brought up by his mother and aunt after his father walked out when he was young, and said: ‘I was surrounded by strong women so it had never even occurred to me that women were anything other than equal to men.
‘Then all those bloody feminists started attacking me, the silly uptight cows, having a go because I slept with more than one woman.’
His girlfriends included Miss Shrimpton, who lasted three years, and his former muse and model Penelope Tree, who survived eight years.
Happy marriage: Model Catherine Dyer appears to have finally tamed Bailey - the couple have three children
Swinging Sixties: David Bailey with Jean Shrimpton in 1963 - the photographer established himself at Vogue taking photos of the model
And Bailey appears to be as enamoured with her as the day he first set eyes on her. He said: ‘I love making love, I love sex… I am mad about my wife. I think she is the sexiest woman I’ve ever met and we’ve been together for 30 years and if I could choose this moment who I’d sleep with tonight it would be her. If I can persuade her.’
However, Bailey confesses he is still close to most of his former lovers, especially 62-year-old Miss Tree. ‘I love Penelope. I’m mad about her, I think she’s wonderful but we couldn’t live together.
‘All my ex-girlfriends or wives are all kind of great friends and I’ve never understood somebody who can live with somebody for five or six years and then not like them.’