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Fern Britton pinpoints moment 20-year marriage to Phil Vickery broke down

The former This Morning star was married to Phil from 2000 to 2020

Fern Britton in a black dress alongside ex husband Phil Vickery in a suit© Jon Furniss
Deputy Lifestyle Editor
Deputy Online Editor
March 6, 2024
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Fern Britton, 66, shocked fans when she announced her split from Phil Vickery in January 2020 following 20 years of marriage, but she has since revealed that it was a long time coming.

The exes met while working on Ready Steady Cook and started dating in 1999, before tying the knot in the spring of 2000 after Fern's divorce from her first husband Clive Jones was finalised. They welcomed a daughter called Winnie, now 22, during their "20 happy years together" before deciding their romantic relationship had become a "great friendship." Watch what she said about their split...

WATCH: Fern Britton Recalls Moment Marriage To Phil Vickery Broke Down

Opening up about the reason for their split, the Celebrity Big Brother star confessed they "grew apart" during the final years and months of their relationship. "My mum died and my father died and unfortunately Phil and I fell apart," Fern revealed as she discussed her latest book on Good Morning Britain in 2020.

"I had to write this book and get it out on the deadline and I was very late with it so thank goodness for my publisher and my editor for sticking with me," she added. "Then lockdown happens and you think, 'I needed that rest', you know?"

Fern Britton and Phil Vickery sighting in 2009 © Getty
Fern Britton and Phil Vickery were married from 2000 to 2020

The former This Morning host further elaborated in a candid conversation with Woman & Home magazine that their relationship had evolved, but they will "always be connected" through their daughter.

"We simply needed to follow our own paths," she explained. "Over time we realised we weren't necessarily having the kind of life we once did. It seemed right to say 'thank you' and move on. But we do have a good friendship.

fern britton phil vickery
The former couple are parents to daughter Winnie

"Phil and I had the greatest fun together and we have the most beautiful daughter together, Winnie... so we will always be connected." As well as Winnie, Fern is also a mother to twin sons Jack and Harry, 30, and a daughter Grace, 27, from her first marriage.

The presenter-turned-author added that although she misses Phil's friendship, she has a positive outlook following their split and feels "liberated".

"We had a wonderful time. We were the best of friends. And I miss that friendship," she told Weekend Magazine. "Here comes a point when the children are substantially off your hands and you look at each other and wonder where you're going to go from here.

Fern Britton attends the TRIC awards at The Grosvenor House Hotel on March 12, 2013 © Getty
The Celebrity Big Brother star revealed she has a positive outlook following her marriage breakdown

"I took a long time to make my decision yet I have faith that it's going to be alright. Now I'm looking forward to the last third of my adult life."

Fern has already overhauled her lifestyle, choosing to focus on her health and wellbeing going forward. Despite being "really relaxed" about her single status, she explained to Good Housekeeping: "I wasn't doing exercise, I was eating too much and suddenly, it was like I flipped a switch," adding running and yoga to her exercise routine to boost her health and her confidence.

"When I wasn't looking after myself, I lost myself and I thought, 'I'll never be able to do that again.' It's very easy to get defeatist; you lose confidence in your body.

"But now I find myself putting on my running shoes and saying, 'I'll only be gone 30 minutes.' And I come home thinking, 'This is alright, I'm not too sweaty, not too panty.' It's given me faith in myself again!"

MORE: Meet The Princess of Wales's 'black sheep' uncle Gary Goldsmith who's due to star on Celebrity Big Brother

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