Everybody will recognise Rick Stein from his empire of restaurants, books, and TV series which have cemented him as a high profile figure over the decades.
Over the years he’s travelled all over the world for his work, including for his most recent series, Rick Stein’s Long Weekends.
But what you may not know about the well loved chef is that it was while on his travels that he kindled a five year affair that eventually led to him leaving his wife.
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Rick, 74, married his first wife Jill in 1975 and the couple had three sons together, Jack, Edward, and Charles.
The couple set up their restaurant and hotel business together which their sons are all now involved in.
But sadly Rick and Jill’s marriage ended in 2007 after Rick became involved in a five year long secret affair.
Telling the story of what happened in his memoir Extracted From Under a Mackeral Sky which was published in 2013, Rick explained how the affair first began in 1997 when he was 50.
It was with the publicity manager of a magazine paying him to judge Australia’s best restaurant Sarah Burns, who was also married.
Initially the two had a professional relationship, but got on very well and Rick started to fall for her and she him.
He said: “Nothing, I sensed, would ever be the same again: I’d crossed a border into another land.
“What happened between us was no longer a question of right and wrong. It had to be.”
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Rick then came home from Australia and over the next few years found every excuse he could to go back and see Sarah, or Sas, as she told him to call her.
But the affair came at a price for Rick, he continued: “Nobody guessed. I hid my feelings from everyone.
“In 2002, I moved out of the family home. That same year, my son Edward married his girlfriend Kate. The wedding was enchanting but I went to it feeling like an outcast.”
Sas was divorced in 2003 meaning the two were able to be together in the open but it took a while before they formalised things.
“It took me seven years to propose — which I did while sitting in a rented car next to a rubbish bin outside a computer shop in Puglia, Southern Italy.
“My words all came out in a rush. I didn’t even know I was going to say them.
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“The wedding was at a register office in Sydney in 2011. We told no one — not her children, nor mine. In other words, we eloped.”
Despite the way their relationship ended Rick and Jill still run the business together.
He previously told the Mirror of his relationship with her: “We didn’t have a life outside the business and we kind of fell out of love.
“I’d never [been unfaithful] before and I certainly won’t do it again, that’s for sure. I’m just so happy now.”
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