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Chris Evans - Biography

Chris is an English TV and radio presenter who shot to fame on The Big Breakfast

Chris Evans smiling outside the BBC
Phoebe Tatham
Content Writer
Updated: 14 June 2023
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Who is Chris Evans?

For a man who left school at 16 and had over 20 jobs in less than four years, including a stint as a Tarzanogram, Chris Evans built an incredible career for himself. In 2000, he sold Ginger Media Group, the company he founded, for £225 million, pocketing £75 million of which £35 million was in cash. How does he do it?

Born in Warrington, England, on April Fool's Day 1966, Chris did not seem marked for success in his early life. He was bullied mercilessly for his red hair, slight build and spectacles, even after he won a place at Thomas Boteler Grammar School. 

When he was just 13 years old, Chris' father Martin died of colon cancer leaving the teenager inconsolable and too distraught to attend the funeral. The radio empresario has since described his father's death as "the shotgun that started the race," saying: "I was hellbent on making a success of myself."

When did Chris launch his TV career? 

After leaving school, Chris, despite being the baby of the family he has two siblings, David and Diane saw himself as the main breadwinner. A series of jobs followed before his big break came in the shape of former children's TV presenter Timmy Mallett, who offered Chris a job as assistant on his Piccadilly Radio show in Manchester.

From there it was but a short jump to London. But the job that really propelled him into the nation's consciousness was that of co-presenter of The Big Breakfast, an anarchic early morning TV show. The nation's TV and radio bosses were so impressed with his wacky presenting style that he was able to pick and choose his next move.

In the end, Chris plumped for the BBC, landing the Radio 1 flagship breakfast show. He walked out 18 months later and was given carte blanche by Channel 4 to front TFI Friday, a show that, love it or hate it, ran successfully for almost five years, before Chris pulled the plug on it over Christmas 2000. It wasn't Chris' presenting skills which netted him his megabucks, however, but rather his fierce business acumen. 

He bought Virgin Radio from Richard Branson, before selling it on barely three years later for a hefty profit. The start of 2001 marked a phase in his life when, for a few years, Chris took things easly, but it seems this was just a temporary pause. 

Speaking of her ex-husband, whom she married in 1991, Carol McGiffin says: "He's never satisfied. He believes that happiness lies just around the corner. But he is never satisfied with his life. His ambition always gets in the way." 

When did Chris join Radio Two?

Chris returned to his first love, radio, in April 2005, joining Radio Two and winning the coveted drivetime slot. 

His efforts were rewarded with a radio personality of the year award in May 2006. After his first marriage broke up, Chris squired a selection of beautiful women before dating fellow celebs. First there was singer Kim Wilde, then Melanie Sykes and Geri Halliwell

His personal life

But when he met 18-year-old singer Billie Piper on his radio show at the tail end of 2000, it was, by all accounts, love at first sight. The couple married in May 2001 in Las Vegas, but separated amicably in spring 2005. Chris remains on excellent terms with his ex-wife, with Billie refusing to take a penny of his money in their divorce settlement and heaping praise on Chris. 

"I'm really happy I did that, even though it didn't work out, because I've made a best friend for life." Indeed, the pair remain such good friends that Billie was a guest at Chris' wedding to model and professional golfer Natasha Shishmanian in August 2007. A year and a half later on February 10 2009, Chris and Natasha welcomed their first child, Noah Nicholas Martin Evans. He is also a doting father to Eli, ten and twins Walt and Boo.

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