Chat show host Trisha Goddard exclusively revealed in HELLO! in January 2018 that she has divorced her third husband. The 60-year-old mother of two, a relationship expert on Celebrity Big Brother's Bit On The Side, kept the situation secret from all but her most trusted inner circle as she struggled to come to terms with the unravelling of her marriage to psychotherapist Peter Gianfrancesco, which ended in 2017. She even continued to wear her wedding ring on screen and in public even after the divorce was finalised.
With the couple having tried for three years to save the relationship, Connecticut-based Trisha – whose career as an agony aunt and conflict resolution expert has seen her mediate through the maelstrom of many a crumbling marriage – came to the sad realisation that she and Peter, who now lives back in his native Australia, could never recover the bond that had initially seemed to grow even stronger in the wake of her cancer diagnosis.
"It feels good now to finally be able to be honest about where I am in my life," she revealed. Trisha credited Peter with being "a rock" when she was diagnosed with breast cancer ten years ago – but told us: "As time passed and I recovered and got stronger and was therefore no longer reliant on him, that's when I felt things started to change."
The mum-of-two also revealed how her cancer battle had a "devastating effect" on her former husband. "I've always said it's harder for the loved ones because they often don't feel they can say, 'I'm finding it tough' for fear of people going, 'You're finding it tough? What about your partner?'"
She added: "When I was ill and going through treatment, he was so supportive. I love running – I run every day – and it frustrated me that I couldn't put on my running shoes and get out there. He would help me do 'laps' around the hospital ward and we’d laugh as I tried to pick up the pace and he'd be going 'slow down!' He was a rock."
By 2014, Peter was back in Australia – a country Trisha always knew he missed. But the plan remained, as it had been for a long time, for him ultimately to join her permanently in the US, at the Connecticut home he'd helped her choose. "It wasn't the easiest situation, living on separate continents, but we were in touch all the time, by phone, FaceTime and email. He would fly out to see me and I visited him in Australia. But I'm a person who, give me all the facts and I can deal with it. With Peter, I felt like I didn't know where I stood anymore." Of her marriage breaking down, Trisha added: "Our relationship was a rollercoaster. One day things were fine between us – great even. The next they were terrible – the arguments, the detachment, there were real lows."
Still, Trisha tried hard to keep the problems in the marriage from everyone, including Billie, who works in PR, and Madi, who is training to be a mental health social worker, both of whom live in London. But as the strain of her marriage unravelling started to take its toll on their mum's health, they grew increasingly concerned. "Mum would stay with me when she came to the UK and I was shocked by how much weight was dropping off her," said Billie.
Trisha with ex-husband Peter in 2003
They also came to realise she was drinking a lot, citing one frightening episode when Trisha called Billie from the US in a panic, having woken up one morning on the stairs of her Connecticut home. "She'd blacked out and the front door was wide open," recalled Billie. "We were so worried about her." By 2015 Trisha had sunk into such despair, she was unable to work. "That year was horrendous. I was just existing day to day," she said. "I truly believe that if breast cancer hadn't given me a new appreciation for how precious life is, I would have been suicidal."
That spring, she finally opened up to her daughters about what was going on between her and Peter, who the girls call Pappy. "Mum had this extra layer of guilt because we’d seen her go through a divorce before and she didn’t want to put us through it again," said Billie, referring to Trisha's split from her and Madi's father Mark Greive, whose marriage to the TV star ended after he was unfaithful to her. "But she and Pappy had been stuck in this weird limbo and to watch Mum trying to hold on and hold on was horrible. It was relief to all three of us when Mum filed for divorce."
Trisha, who turned 60 in December 2017, told how she is embracing her new decade feeling happy and healthy again. And she reveals she has found new romance, telling HELLO!: "For the first time in a very long time, I feel womanly, beautiful and sexy."
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