Wednesday 17 January 2018

Dear Anthea, keep your chin up and your smile perfect

Cristina Odone offers a few words of advice to Anthea Turner on how to stop a divorce turning into a disaster

Grant Bovey and Anthea Turner
Grant Bovey and Anthea Turner

Cristina Odone

My heart goes out to Anthea Turner, the smiley former TV presenter. She has kicked out her husband, Grant Bovey, after he was caught kissing another woman in a restaurant.

I can only imagine the fury, humiliation and hurt Ms Turner is experiencing now. But before she thinks about serving him with divorce papers, I’d urge her to study Roger Jenkins. The fabulously wealthy banker, now seeing Elle “The Body” Macpherson, boasts that rare thing – a friendly divorce from his Bosnian-born wife Diana.

It is, Ms Turner should beware, a Herculean task. Divorce has given rise to an entire multiplex industry.

Obviously lawyers stand to gain, but a surprising number of others have a stake in a couple’s acrimonious break-up: estate agents, psychologists, cosmetic surgeons, even personal trainers.

I vaguely knew that my parents’ divorce, when I was 13, introduced two lawyers into our lives. What I didn’t appreciate then was that my parents’ determination to keep their split friendly had infuriated these legal eagles, who felt cheated of many hours’ fees; the rowing that took place was mainly between my parents and their lawyers rather than between my father and mother.

Now that it has become so common (one in two couples marrying today can expect to split up), divorce has attracted many more professionals.

Some are good but most are carrion crows feeding on the carcass of a marriage.

I decided to write a novel about the latter. In researching The Good Divorce Guide, I was shocked to learn from many divorcees – including my husband – how even the dentist hoped to make money out of their new status: now they were back on the singles market, was the refrain, they should invest in the super new teeth-whitening procedure. No date would resist their pearly whites.

Anthea Turner already has the perfect smile. I hope she takes pains to wear it, and deal with Grant Bovey directly, or through mediation. Why give mercenary investors in broken marriages the pleasure of profiting out of her misery?

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