68-year-old great grandmother Lee Redmond of Salt Lake City, Utah, USA, is undoubtedly one of the world's most popular record holders of all time. Having not cut her nails since 1979, she
entered the Guinness World Records book in 2002 for the world's longest fingernails on a female pair of hands.
Until now Lee has remained silent about the astonishing chapter in her life; how she has coped with her great loss; the reaction of friends and family and the impact that being stripped of her of her identity has had on her welfare, but she has given an exclusive quote to Guinness World Records about her touching story.
Her unique appearance and bright outlook on life won her a legion of fans throughout the world and she was proud to have achieved such an amazing feat. However, after nurturing and taking care of her nails for 30 years, in February this year, Lee was involved in a car accident which tragically robbed her of her 8.65-m-long (28-ft 4-in) nails and left her with serious but
Although deeply moved by the loss of her nails, which aside from her family, were her most cherished possessions, Lee's remarkable recovery is testament to her great strength of character and the love and support she received from friends and loved ones. Now acknowledging that "there's more to life than nails," Lee has embraced life more than ever as she faces the world, in her words, as an almost completely new person.
In recognition of her record-breaking achievements over the years, and with her full blessing, the 2010 edition of Guinness World Records will carry a striking photograph of Lee pictured alongside fellow American Melvin Booth, the male owner of the longest finger nails (9.05-m-long/29ft 8in), which was taken just a few months prior to her accident.
Craig Glenday, Editor-in-Chief of Guinness World Records, said: "We were saddened to hear the news in February that Lee Redmond had been involved in a car accident, and as a beautiful tribute are delighted to be including the amazing picture of Lee and Melvin in this year's edition. Lee is a truly incredible woman who has had a difficult year and this serves as a celebration
of her amazing dedication to the world of record breaking."
Lee has two sons, a daughter, two granddaughters and two grandsons. She is also a proud great-grandmother to two beloved great-grandchildren. Her fingernails are currently 11.5cm/4.5in in length.
Lee Redmond says: "Losing my fingernails has been the most dramatic thing that's happened in my life. I think it was my grandson that said: 'Grandma, they are like your baby: you've taken care of them for 30 years and lost them in a second.' But then when you think about it, you know our whole life could end in a second, not just part of the body, but your whole life."
"The thing that bothered me with losing the fingernails, was that it becomes your identity and I felt like I'd lost part of that, yet I would always say when people would make comments about my fingernails, you know there's more to me than my fingernails."
She continues: "People ask if I'm gonna grow them again and I say, no, it was a once time thing. It took me 30 years to grow them and to get them to that length and they became the world record and I probably won't live for thirty more years."
Remembering the day she met Melvin Booth for the historic photograph Lee said, "I have very, very fond memories from Melvin, he touched my life. He also broke my heart, to see this man who wouldn't even go out of his home. Tears when I left, both he and I. I hope that some day he will realise that he's more than his fingernails. . . I think the difference between Melvin and me,
for one thing they didn't keep me from going out in public, and they didn't make me be secluded. I would have never, never chose to keep them if they would have had to keep me away from people or you know, living whatever normal is you know. I hope he will decide to go out and interact with people and I'm sure that he felt the love that I had for him and respect. It wasn't his fingernails; it was him that I cared for."
Lee concludes: "After the accident, not my children, but my great grand babies, they wanted me to glue them back on! I always did everything with them, but now it's so much easier to do things now. The weight is so different, so much. In fact my hands seem to fly with the weight gone."
Lee Redmond's Loss of Record - Breaking Fingernails Utah Native Speaks Out After Tragic Car Accident That Robbed Her of 28 Foot Nails - exclusive interview Video
Notes to editors
About Guinness World Records 2010:
Guinness World Records 2010 celebrates the first ten years of the 21st century in style. Subtitled "The Book of the Decade", the new edition of the world's best-selling copyright book is packed full of fascinating new content and unique features that recognise the greatest record-breaking achievements of the "noughties," including the "Top 100 Records of the Decade," links to downloadable material, brand new photography and a "Record of the Day" feature.
About Guinness World Records:
Guinness World Records is the universally recognized authority on record-breaking achievement. First published in 1955, the annual Guinness World Records book is published in more than 100 countries and 25 languages and is the highest-selling books under copyright of all time with more than 3 million copies sold annually across the globe.
Guinness World Records
celebrated its 50th anniversary edition in 2004, a year after the sale of its 100 millionth copy. Guinness World Records also annually publishes the Gamer's Edition; a records book devoted solely to the world of computer gaming and high score record achievements. The Guinness World Records website (www.guinnessworldrecords.com) receives more than 11 million visitors a year. Guinness World Records is part of the Jim Pattison Group, one of Canada's largest privately owned companies which is a conglomerate of interests, including advertising, broadcasting, grocery stores and automotive retailing.