Former UKIP leader Nigel Farage might be loud about his controversial politics but the I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here! star has gone to great lengths to keep his love life a little under wraps.
From chance encounters stemming from a tragic car crash to an estranged wife and passionate affairs, Farage's romantic journey has been anything but ordinary. As he battles it out alongside fellow celebs in the Australian jungle, Daily Star has delved into his rollercoaster love life.
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We explore the surprising turn of fate that led him to his first wife, his "major regrets" about his second marriage and his much younger mistress.
Tragedy turned fate
Nigel met his first wide Gráinne Hayes, an Irish nurse, in their early twenties when fate brought them together in 1985.
This unexpected encounter occurred when she attended to him in the hospital following a harrowing car accident. Reflecting on this period, Farage recounted: "My recovery was a miserable period: I was put on traction — a series of pulleys and weights — but the treatment saved my leg," he shared with the Telegraph in 2015.
"It put paid to any more golf — but I married the nurse who treated me. A cliché, I know, but not only did I get my life back, I got a wife and two fantastic sons." The pair married in 1988, leaing to the birth of two sons – Sam, now 34, and Tom, 32. But their marriage did not last. After just over a decade together, they divorced in 1997.
Second marriage woes
Nigel embarked on his second marriage in 1999 with Kirsten Mehr, a German government bond broker.
The pair reportedly met in Frankfurt, Germany, during one of Farage's business trips with Hamburg-born Mehr working for the government. Farage reminisced about their first meeting, sharing: "She was a stunning government bond broker whose brisk efficiency at first sight belied her ethereal appearance," when speaking to reporters. "She could have stepped into a pre-Raphaelite painting no questions asked."
They later welcomed two daughters, Victoria and Isabelle, and reports suggest that Mehr made the decision to relinquish her career to focus on being a mum and became her husband's personal assistant.
"I do a very demanding job," she conveyed to reporters in 2014, "and Nigel's a very demanding person to work for." During that period, she acknowledged the demanding nature of her role, often working long hours and claimed that their two daughters didn't see much of their father, who drank and smoked too much.
Insider sources have conveyed that Farage and Mehr technically remain married, despite being separated for the majority of the past decade. This revelation came to light when Mehr was photographed without her wedding ring, subsequently confirming in a statement that Farage had vacated the family residence in Kent "a while ago," following speculations of his involvement with another woman.
Farage has since shared that politics had left him "separated" and "skint". “I’m not very married at the moment, let’s put it like that. I think separated is my legal status," he said. "I don’t think anything would have survived what I’ve been doing for the past five years.
Nigel recently spoke out about a major regret in his marriage to Kirsten. He told listeners on his LBC show saying he “regrets” the situation he is in and that “we all go through ups and downs.”
The MEP, who has split from his wife Kirsten and is now rumoured to be living with a much younger politician, admitted he was going through “a few personal difficulties” with his “marriage, family and relationships”. The 52-year-old said: “Some of you will have seen press coverage over the last few days – and no doubt there’ll be more of it – about a few personal difficulties that I’ve had with my marriage and my family and my relationships.
“And I would just say this – all of us in our lives go through ups and downs and I regret the down that I’m in at the moment.” Kirsten Farage confirmed that she and her husband, who married in 1999 after his divorce from his first wife, had been living “separate lives” for years.
12 year 'affair'
In 2004, Nigel's life took a significant turn when Annabelle Fuller, his Oxford-educated speechwriter who was 17 years his junior, began a 12-year affair with him.
Estranged wife Kirsten continued her role as Farage's dedicated personal assistant before Fuller publicly revealed the affair's details in 2017. Among her bombshell claims were that the pair had had sexual encounters in MEP offices in the European Parliament and that Farage had declared his devotion to her with "heart and body" in a secret love letter; and that the affair had sent her into depression, self-harm and even suicide attempts in the ladies' toilet of the European Parliament.
Fuller also alleged that Farage's wife, Mehr, played a part in her expulsion from the UKIP party in 2014. Colleagues have confirmed that the affair was widely known in Westminster circles, with one MEP stating: "Everyone in the party knew they were having an affair, and he was considering leaving his wife for her."
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Speculation as to whether French politician Laure Ferrari is in fact Farage's girlfriend has been swirling for years now, ever since he hired the then-28-year-old as his parliamentary assistant in his role as an MEP in 2007 and the pair were seen enjoying a drink at a London pub together before leaving in a chauffeur-driven Range Rover.
Farage met Ferrari in 2007, back when she was working as a waitress in Strasbourg and just three years after Fuller claims her own affair with Farage started. He went on to appoint Ferrari as a parliamentary assistant in charge of environmental issues in the UK — her first-ever job in politics — and moved her into his three-bedroom west London home as a “lodger”, claiming she had nowhere else to live.
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She was seen slow-dancing with Farage at a party celebrating the one-year anniversary of the Brexit vote, her reportedly grinding up against him. "There was no question they were a couple," one onlooker said. "Laure was putting on quite a display. She seemed to twerk a bit and was all over Nigel. From the look on his face, he was loving every minute."
But Farage has denied any claims of romance between them. "She is someone I have worked with and known for a long time who wanted somewhere to stay for a week that wouldn't cost her any money," he told reporters in February 2017. "It's a working relationship. You can inflate it however you want to." However, she has since confirmed she is his girlfriend and has flown to Australia to greet Nigel when he exits the jungle.
I'm a Celebrity.. Get Me Out of Here! airs on ITV1 and ITVX nightly at 9pm
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