Michelle Mone tells of marriage heartache

LEADING Scots businesswoman Michelle Mone has spoken for the first time about her heartbreak over the collapse of her 20-year marriage, blaming her pursuit of business success for the end of her relationship.

The 40-year-old announced her split from her husband five weeks ago, an act she said that had left her “numb and “crying every day”.

Ms Mone, whose fortune was built on the Ultimo lingerie brand, confessed that she wished she had not been so “married to the business” and said she felt she had been “too independent”.

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“I wish I was that woman who relied on her husband to do things for her,” she said. “To buy her things, to cling on to [him] in the way a wife does.

“I don’t think a lot of men like independent women. I just became too strong. All my friends are housewives. They’ve got great relationships. If I was a housewife, I’d probably still be married to Michael.”

She added that she felt that, ultimately, her business had “taken over my life”.

The couple, who have three children, married when Ms Mone was 19, having left school in Glasgow at 15.

Last week, the Scots businesswoman, whose company is worth an estimated £40 million, warned that she would relocate her company to England if Scotland becomes an independent country.

Ms Mone said that the decision to break up had been mutual, that both had made numerous mistakes in their relationship, and that in failing to make time for each other they “became business partners” only.

She also cited the pressure of being in the public spotlight as contributing to the breakdown on their relationship. Her husband took exception to a photoshoot in which Ms Mone posed in her underwear, forbidding her to release the images.

“My husband is a very traditional man. Catholic. I suppose he didn’t want his wife being seen by other people,” she said. “I think it was the first time I’ve ever gone against my husband.”

Her socialising with celebrity friends such as actor Shane Richie and rugby star Gavin Henson caused further tensions, though she denied having an affair.

The entrepreneur said she now feared that she was “going to be on my own for the rest of my life” and that she had “failed”.

In the interview, published yesterday, she admitted that she was not an easy person to be with. “I am very, very demanding. I am a nightmare. I’ve got OCD [obsessive-compulsive disorder]. Everything has to be perfect.”

Ms Mone admitted that her success in business had made her increasingly unhappy and said she was now seeking therapy to deal with it. She also said that she was dogged by a fear of failure: “I wasn’t middle class; I wasn’t born into money; I wasn’t educated.

“It was something that made me want never to fail,” she said. “Failure is on my brain, 24/7. I wish I could get rid of it.”