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Humiliating email that broke Glenda's heart

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At 12.30pm on Friday, as Glenda Gilson was sitting at her office desk preparing for the biggest weekend of her television career, an unassuming email came through.

It was sent to TV3's newsroom and in three small sentences confirmed the end to any relationship she had had with one of Ireland's most powerful men -- while unleashing a wave of public humiliation that sent Dublin's social circle into a feeding frenzy.

The press release was sent on behalf of Treasury Holdings boss Johnny Ronan and stated in cold brevity:

"For the record, and to end speculation in the press, Johnny Ronan would like to make it clear that any romantic relationship between him and Glenda Gilson during the past three years has ended. He would ask that the press respect his privacy in relation to this aspect of his personal life."

Within minutes a commotion whipped up in the newsroom and word eventually spread to a dumbfounded Glenda about what had happened.

Breaking down in front of her colleagues -- the model's shock and devastation was unquestionable.

With tears welling up, a mixture of anger and hurt spilled over.

Sources say she immediately rang her family to warn them of the ensuing media storm before repeatedly asking those comforting her "why would he do this to me?".

Shaken and in bewildered, she then left the office to face the inevitable media onslaught. There was no doubt -- Ronan's timing was impeccable.

With the Xposé LIVE event advertised for months in advance, Glenda had no choice but to face the nation's media, to which she had for so long denied any romantic links with the wealthy tycoon.

This was supposed to be her moment to shine but as the stunning presenter walked into the VIP area of the RDS- dressed in a skintight black dress, toned to perfection and looking strikingly beautiful, her strained smile and sunny demeanour were fooling nobody.

It was shortly after the fashion show, when she peeled off the glamorous trappings and changed back into a pair of casual jeans and T-shirt, that the first cracks in her confidence began to show.

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Speaking to the Sunday Independent she explained that her main priority was to maintain a dignified silence.

"Whatever he wants to say about it, it's up to him," she explained, "but I'm not going to go down that road. I'm not going to get into that."

Then she added, "I spoke to you that night in Renard's, you know how I felt."

She was speaking about a night out in the celebrity haunt when we shared a brief but rare conversation about her ties with Johnny.

The two had been out celebrating with a number of friends, including popular nightclub owner Robbie Fox, following Ireland's Grand Slam win over Wales.

Glenda was sitting on a couch in the upstairs lounge chatting to a male friend, while Johnny was on the opposite side of the table chatting to a woman.

I sat beside the model, who looked stunning and relaxed as she celebrated her ex-boyfriend Brian O'Driscoll's victory, and broached the subject of the unusual dynamics of their secretive relationship.

"It's so funny," I mused. "He [Johnny] is obviously so into you, and yet he's chatting to that woman over there while you're chatting to your friend here. It's so obvious he has no interest in the woman -- he's eyes are fixed on you all night."

"Ah, I don't know," she brushed it off. But I persisted until yet again she questioned his attraction towards her.

As far as I could tell she had fond feelings towards the 52-year-old. And it was just as apparent with Johnny.

A few minutes later she was standing up on the couch, dancing and cheering, little knowing how the liaison would so publicly and bitterly pan out. Friends close to the couple say the pair always had a highly-strung relationship that was as fiery as it was passionate but things are said to have come to a head with a massive argument two weeks ago.

Friends say the row was an accumulation of the relationship fizzling out over the past number of months, with Johnny even confiding in one source in recent weeks that "there will only ever be one woman in my life and that's my wife".

But Gilson's friends believe that "something triggered Johnny off" causing the famously media-shy developer to do something so out of character that has left everyone -- especially Glenda -- in a state of shock. In an interview in Hotpress magazine Gilson spoke at length about her former love, Brian O'Driscoll, but denied being in a current relationship.

The 28-year-old said of watching O'Driscoll captaining the Irish rugby team to the Grand Slam, "I was never so happy in my life. The tears were rolling down my face. It was like, 'what the hell's wrong with you?' . . . that was a phenomenal day."

She also spoke about her feelings towards newly-engaged Brian saying, "Of course there are always things that remind you of that time you had or when he stood up and told stories, I was there for every one of those stories. So things like that hurt."

However in the same interview she was far less keen to speak about her current relationship status. Asked if it would be possible for her to date someone not in the limelight, Gilson replied, "Absolutely. What do you think I've been doing for four years? There you go. That's why you don't know about it."

As the now infamous statement was fired out to dozens of media outlets around the country, Johnny Ronan had left for London, initially, and then to a hot spot in the south of France.

When contacted by the Sunday Independent, Ronan seemed unaware of a story which was reportedly due to appear in a Sunday tabloid newspaper today, ruling out suggestions that he had released the statement to counteract any alleged upcoming exposes.

Meanwhile, sources close to Glenda say the model has not contacted the Tipperary tycoon since the shock statement.

On Friday night the stunning brunette told friends that she was going to skip the Xposé show's much hyped after-party in Krystle nightclub but decided at the last minute to attend -- and do her best to enjoy herself -- in spite of what had happened.

At the end of the night, as bouncers ushered the last guests out of the VIP section of the Harcourt Street nightclub, Gilson ensured she was one of the last partiers standing.

Surrounded by a number of handsome male socialites and models, who escorted her down the backstairs, the Xposé star was determined to maintain a brave face. But having already been spotted shedding tears on a night that should have been the crowning glory of a fantastic year in television, it was obvious that there are no corners in which to hide your heartache when you're part of Dublin's golden circle.


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