to have business can be part of a healthy society, according to one of the UK’s top divorce lawyers.
Called the ‘Diva of Divorce’ after a string of high-profile lawsuits, Ayesha Vardag encouraged Britons to ‘learn from the French’ and said she would turn a blind eye if her own husband cheated on her.
Ms Vardag, her clients include Qatari princes, Malaysian millionaires, business magnates, international footballers, celebrities and royalty, told The Mail on Sunday: ‘Are extramarital affairs part of a healthy society?
Ayesha Vardag (pictured), dubbed the ‘Diva of Divorce’ after a string of high-profile lawsuits, said having affairs can be part of a healthy society
“Sometimes couples get unbearably tired of each other and are even very lonely in each other’s company as topics of conversation run out and the wells of desire dry up.
Can they always choose between staying unhappily together or separating and starting over?
Or is it sometimes worth keeping the structure of the marriage in place – the safe house, the family, the workable economic structure, the settled household routine – and take romance, love, sex, excitement where you can? find without rocking the boat?
“It’s the way the British have historically attributed to the French – no matter how many lovers we both have, just keep it discreet and we’ll continue to commit to our marriage, in a way that works for all of us.” Can we learn something from that?’
Ms Vardag, one of Britain’s top lawyers, encouraged Britons to “learn from the French” and said she would turn a blind eye if her husband Stephen cheated (both pictured with their son Orfeo)
FOUR CHILDREN, THREE MEN: THERE IS NOTHING I HAVE NOT BEEN
Ayesha Vardag insists her own tangled love life — including having four children with three men — has benefited her millionaire clients.
The 53-year-old once said her experience means “there’s nothing my clients tell me that I haven’t experienced myself,” adding, “That’s why I bond with them in meetings. But now it’s come full circle and I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my personal life.”
That happiness is thanks to Stephen Bence, the director of the law firm Vardags and father of their son Orfeo. The couple, who met in 2014, split their time between homes in Hampshire, London, Dubai and Italy.
Ms. Vardag split from her first husband, Xavier Hunter, in 1999 after they both had lovers. She had always assumed that Mr. Hunter—father of her two eldest sons, Jasper and Felix—was “the love of my life,” but over time they drifted apart.
Thinking back to the split in 2018, she said: “Over time, things didn’t go well between us. I met someone else and I told him I wanted out. Then he met someone else and suddenly I was devastated that I had lost him.’
Her divorce attorney for the case, Roger Tooth, was so impressed with her preparation that he hired her as his assistant and she later started her own law firm. After her first marriage, she had a romance with a younger colleague named Miles, with whom she had her daughter Helena.
She admits to being uncompromising. “I have to be fierce, subtle and the smartest person in the room,” she once said.
However, that no-nonsense approach sparked controversy last year when an internal memo about the company’s dress code leaked in which Ms. Vardag banned cardigans and called on staff to be “discreetly sexy” but “never tarty.”
Lockdown has resulted in far fewer couples divorcing because of affairs.
Vardag’s law firm of the same name reported a 17 percent drop in cases related to cases during its first close last spring, and an even more dramatic 63 percent drop during its latest close.
But the 53-year-old said the number of investigations into “bad behavior” – ranging from heated discussions to domestic violence – had skyrocketed.
The National Domestic Abuse Helpline registered a 65 percent increase in calls between April and June last year, compared to the previous three months. “If closing cases involves domestic violence, alcohol abuse and cruelty, is that always a good thing?” asked Mrs. Vardag.
‘Perhaps for a Puritan society, and there are those whose religion requires it.
“But in our largely secular society, if we consider giving people a measure of freedom to walk their own path, and focus on kindness and support from our partners, rather than being monogamous with them, we’d be longer, happier.” can marriages?
‘More happiness, more fun, more sex, more love? Is serial monogamy that much better than polygamy or polyandry?’
“But the lockdown has made it more difficult to start up and maintain businesses.
“If there’s no pub to go to, no conference, no hotel and you’re working from home, there’s no opportunity to see existing loved ones, let alone meet new ones.
“Case allegations arose in the early days of the pandemic, when existing cases came to light.
“Suspicious spouses, with a lot of time at home and phones lying around, found incriminating WhatsApp messages to absent loved ones or saw their partners at the bottom of the yard during long, intense phone calls that didn’t resemble an analysis of the latest sales figures.”
The mother of four claimed she would accept if her husband Stephen Bence cheated on her.
“If he was having an affair, I’d certainly like to think that I could turn a blind eye, fly past it and keep our marriage together, despite all the good things we’ve built together,” said Ms. Vardag.
The lawyer rose to fame in 2010 when she won a landmark Supreme Court case that paved the way for making prenuptial agreements legally enforceable in England and Wales.
She keeps her client list a secret but landed a £64 million divorce deal for Pauline Chai, wife of Khoo Kay Peng, the former boss of the Laura Ashley fashion chain, when their marriage ended after 42 years.