CELEBRITY restaurateur Nick Munier has revealed how his 10-year marriage is over — telling of his “agony and regret” at the split.
The Masterchef Ireland TV star wed Dubliner Denise McBrien in 2003 and the pair were the golden couple of the culinary scene in Ireland.
Nick, 46, blames himself for the breakdown of the relationship, admitting that life in the limelight changed him as a person.
The dad of three says he got completely carried away by the ego-boost of fame, and did not prioritise the most important thing in life — his family.
Bespectacled Nick has lost a stone in weight since the split and is coping with the help of therapy and religion.
The maitre'd — who coowns the award-winning Pichet restaurant in Dublin — said: “This is the biggest pain I have ever experienced in my life. I have been holding it inside for months now and I feel it is time to let it out, to put a few things on the record.” But he believes his craving for attention ultimately led to the end of the marriage. In the last decade, he has gained fame through ITV's Hell's Kitchen and now on the Irish version of Masterchef.
“I love the limelight. I find it so alluring. The creative side of me wants validation of what I do, public affirmation.
I love being adored and I jumped at the chance to be on television. It was like being on stage, I loved everything about being recognised everywhere.” But those around him tell him it has changed his personality.
He is now seeing a psychotherapist once a week to work out what has caused this need in him.
“Mine is a story of regret. I realise I am a flawed man, it is too late for me now, but maybe it is a warning to others. I lost sight of the things that mattered. I would have to agree I changed — if I'm honest, I think it went to my head.
But I wasn't aware of that at the time. I blocked it out. I was selfish.” His therapy is helping him to understand why he behaved the way he has.
“It is like I had a child in me that needed to get out and play — and the fame that came with television work gave me that freedom. I let it go too far.
I can be excitable like that. I am a weak man for a bit of attention and a bit of flattery.
“It can do a lot for your confidence if you didn't have any confidence before. But it's not real.” A side-effect of the fame game was the partying that came with it. “I don't get out often at all, but when I do, I really like to party.” Originally from Kent in England, Nick's dad is French and he was raised a Catholic, so he goes to pray once a day in church.
“I pray, I look into my past with my therapist, I get acupuncture — it is all helping to give me clarity through what has been the most difficult time,” he said. “I suffer from anxiety and there have been some very dark times,” he adds. But now he’s starting to get back on the road to happiness once again.” As well as running his top restaurant, Nick will soon be caught up in filming the new series of Masterchef Ireland.
The celebrity version of the show will film up until June 17 and will be on screens on RTE in October.