London: Britain’s new Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s colourful personal life, with two marriages, an alleged love child, and being soon set to marry a woman who is a few years older than his eldest daughter, has evoked much attention.
Johnson, 55, is the first single Prime Minister in more than 40 years, and is in the process of a divorce with his wife of 25 years, Marina Wheeler, a well-known barrister who is half Indian and with whom he has four children.
His current girlfriend Carrie Symonds, 31, is set to move into 10 Downing Street, which would make them the first unmarried couple to inhabit the residence.
Johnson and Symonds, a Conservative PR guru, are reported to have bought a 1.3 million pound mansion in south London, after he sold his pound 3.7 million pound marital home.
“Two divorces, a love child and infidelity” is how Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan’s ex-wife Reham Khan has described the new British PM in a column and compared both their natures.
Johnson’s first wife was Allegra Mostyn-Owen, who he married in 1987 when they both were in university and just 23 years old.
When she met Johnson in the 1980s, she had already graced the cover of Tatler magazine. She is the daughter of Italian writer Gaia Sevadio and art historian William Mostyn-Owen and grew up in Scotland.
However, the two were not compatible and divorced after six years of marriage. They did not have any children. Allegra re-married only in 2010, to a Pakistani man 22 years her junior.
Johnson married Marina Wheeler, whose mother is Indian, allegedly 12 days after his divorce to Allegra. According to the Sun, the two married on May 8, 1993, when she was pregnant with their eldest child Lara.
Marina is the eldest daughter of BBC correspondent Sir Charles Wheeler and Dip Singh, who had earlier married late journalist-author Khushwant Singh’s youngest brother, Daljit Singh.
She was appointed to the Queen’s Council in 2016 and specialises in human rights within public law.
Their marriage was rocked by his infidelity including an affair with society writer Petronella Wyatt when Johnson was editor at The Spectator.
According to the Sun, Petronella later said she had an abortion and suffered a miscarriage.
When the affair became public, Johnson was forced to quit as shadow arts minister and party Vice Chairman in 2004.
Marina threw him out of their home but later relented and took him back.
According to the Sun, Johnson was rumoured to have been having an affair at the same time with Anna Fazackerly, a Times Educational Supplement journalist.
His third affair – with arts consultant Helen Macintyre in 2009 ï¿½ led Marina to throw him out of their home again. It was revealed during a court battle in 2013 that he had fathered a child during the fling with Helen, a daughter called Stephanie.
The Court of Appeal in 2013 dismissed an attempt by her to stop publication of information about her child with Johnson.
Marina took him back a second time.
However, his affair with Carrie led to the end of his marriage with Marina. He was photographed enjoying a romantic dinner with the former Tory aide on Valentines’ Day in 2018 at the upmarket Rules restaurant in Covent Garden.
For months, Carrie went to great lengths to keep their growing relationship secret, even dyeing her hair, freezing social media accounts and staying away from prying cameras.
It is claimed Marina found out about the affair before it hit the headlines through messages she found on his mobile.
Carrie and Johnson made headlines in June 2019 when the police were called to the her Camberwell home.
Neighbours recorded her telling Johnson to “get off me” and “get out of my flat.” Police said that officers arrived and “spoke to all occupants of the address, who were all safe and well”.
A few days later, arguably staged photos surfaced, showing the couple talking and holding hands in a garden in a garden in Sussex.
Carrie is the daughter of Matthew Symonds, a co-founder of the Independent newspaper, and the paper’s lawyer Josephine McCaffee. She attended a private girls’ school, and studied theatre studies and art history at the respected University of Warwick, before working as a press officer for the Conservative Party in 2010 and quickly rising up its ranks.
She was part of the campaign team that helped to get Johnson re-elected as mayor of London in 2012.
According to the Sun: “The Carrie effect on Boris is clear to see. The scruffy hair, excess flab and boozy dinners have gone, and he has shown increasing political self-control.
“Boris is expected to propose to Carrie ‘once the ink dries’ on his divorce to Marina.
“It is claimed his four children with Marina have been so devastated by his new relationship that they are refusing to meet Carrie.”
Reham Khan writes: “By far the greatest feature they (Khan and Johnson) all have in common is a lack of remorse and the fact that they survive every revelation, every mistake they make. They come out unscathed and their meteoric rise is, in fact, built on these very failings. It seems being a womaniser, racist or sexist, is part of their appeal. We are as guilty as these men for laughing it all off and allowing them to carry on.