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Woman with the world’s longest nails heartbroken after losing them in a freak accident

Lee Redmond, a great-grandmother from Utah, America, held the record for the woman with the longest nails in the world. Lee’s dream was ruined when her famous talons broke during a car crash

0 The Arrival of the 2007 Edition of Guinness World Records
Lee Redmond held the record for the woman with the longest nails in the world (Image: FilmMagic)

Lee Redmond held the record for the woman with the longest nails in the world until her hopes and dreams were dashed by a freak accident.

At their peak length in 2008, Lee’s talons reached a combined total of 8.65 meters (28ft 4in).

Her right thumb was the longest of them all, which grew to an impressive 90cm (2ft 11in).

The great-grandmother from Utah, America, was so dedicated to keeping her nails long that she hadn’t cut them since 1979.

When Lee had gone 19 years without filing her nails, Guinness World Records officially recognized her for having the longest fingernails on a pair of hands (female).

“It was just a challenge to myself to see how far they would go before they started twisting out of shape,” she explained.

At their peak length, Lee’s talons reached a combined total of 8.65 metres (28ft 4in)
At their peak length, Lee’s talons reached a combined total of 8.65 meters (28ft 4in)

“I kept setting dates and dates that I was going to cut them and I just couldn’t do it. It’s strange how they become part of you.

“I think my fingernails defined me to a lot of people, I was known as the fingernail lady but to me, I would have to explain to them there really is more to me.”

While it is normal for nails to eventually twist out of shape, Lee’s never did.

Instead, they grew out in huge extended arches, which Lee has thanked her daily manicure procedure for.

To look after her nails she would dip them in warm olive oil every day and use a bottle-and-a-half of nail hardener. Following this, she would paint them in gold polish to help them stand out even more.

Lee would paint them in the same gold nail polish to help them stand out even more
Lee would paint them in the same gold nail polish to help them stand out even more (Image: WireImage)
While most nails eventually twist out of shape, Lee’s never did
While most nails eventually twist out of shape, Lee’s never did

Sadly, all of Lee’s dreams came crashing down when she was involved in a dangerous accident.

Her place in the record books was cut short when she was involved in a terrifying car crash and her nails were ripped off on February 10, 2009.

Lee was a passenger in an SUV which lost control and she was ejected from a car in a four-car pile-up.

The record holder was immediately rushed to the hospital and while Lee survived her major injuries, her nails did not.

She said: “The first thing I spotted was a fingernail and I started crying.”

Lee's nightmares became a reality when her nails broke off in a crash
Lee’s nightmares became a reality when her nails broke off in a crash (Image: Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Lee had told a witness at the crash scene that her nails were record-breaking so the kind stranger went around and collected all the pieces of them.

The great-grandmother now keeps them in a plastic bag to remind herself of her time in the record books.

“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,” Lee told the Guinness World Records shortly after the crash.

Her nails had become a part of her identity and she felt like she had lost a part of herself.

Lee learned that it was something she just had to accept because she, unfortunately, couldn’t change anything.

The accident means that while Lee still holds the record for the longest ever, she doesn’t hold the current record –which belongs to Ayanna Williams.

Lee currently has no plans to grow them back as it took her 30 years to do originally
Lee currently has no plans to grow them back as it took her 30 years to do originally (Image: FilmMagic)

She looks back on her time as a record holder fondly but has no plans on growing them back to their former length.

A Huffington Post article from 2009 stated that: “Lee Redmond, who lost the fingernails in February, says it’s now much easier to do things and her hands seem to fly with the weight of the nails gone. The 68-year-old won’t grow her nails out again, saying it took 30 years the first time, and she may not live for another 30.”

Lee is now retired and spends a great deal of time with her family, which now includes a lot of grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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