Paul Hollywood has opened up about dealing with his very public split from ex-wife Alex, to whom he was married from 1998 to 2019.
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The Great British Bake Off star, 55, said he has "withdrawn a lot" from the spotlight over the past few years after being unable to speak out against the press' "twisted truth" over his alleged infidelity. The former couple – who share son Josh – are believed to have met in Cyprus in 1997 and tied the knot two years later, but Alex accused Paul of multiple affairs during their marriage.
WATCH: Alex Hollywood reveals why she kept her surname following split from Paul
They first split in 2013 after he reportedly had an affair with his American Baking Competition co-star, Marcela Valladolid. The celebrity chef and the cookbook author reconciled shortly afterwards before announcing their split once again in 2017.
During an interview with Platinum magazine, he said: "I was in a really dark place. I didn't want to carry on at one point.
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Paul and Alex announced their split in 2017 after 19 years of marriage
"Most of what was being said was a lie or a twisted truth. The truth was very different to what the tabloids were writing. The press intrusion can be such a horrible thing to deal with, and it isn't fair, because there’s no right to reply," he said.
"I've withdrawn a lot in the last six years and I'm happiest at home, just putting on my slippers and dressing gown in front of the telly. I don’t go out that much and being in large groups of people makes me nervous."
The GBBO star joked about being a heartthrob
Alex shocked some fans with revelations about her marriage during a social media post on Valentine's Day in 2022.
Referring to her single status, Alex wrote in part: "It's taken me a while to get here and it hasn't been easy, but I love the woman I am now. Women often lose themselves in relationships, we don't naturally put ourselves first and I know only too well that not every marriage/partnership is a recipe for happiness & success.
Paul discussed his marriage in the August issue of Platinum
"My own marriage was too over-seasoned with extra marital affairs for my taste and so I opted out and chose the single menu instead.
"It wasn't easy and it took some getting used to, I wasn't even sure I liked it much at first, but as I regained my confidence, my freedom and myself after so long, I discovered that it really isn't a cliche to say happiness really does comes from within."
The mum-of-one continued: "I still get the occasional well-meaning comment - that I'll get 'snapped up soon' (rather like a supermarket meal deal) people don't like to believe that a woman can be happier single and I'm told that I shouldn't worry, that I'll meet someone special again. But that's just it. I already have. That someone special is me…"
After his marriage broke down, Paul has dated Summer Monteys-Fullam, now 26, and more recently, Melissa Spalding, 37. On being a heartthrob, he told Platinum: "I mean, ultimately, it’s very flattering and I’ve had a few marriage proposals, which is odd, but you don’t take that sort of stuff to heart because it’s just a bit of fun. You could put anybody in my position, and they’d get the same attention."
Read the full interview in the August 2022 issue of Platinum – out now.
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