She’s the beauty queen who became wealthier than the Queen. And now Kirsty Bertarelli has become Britain’s richest divorcee.
The model and pop songwriter, 50, has secretly divorced her billionaire husband Ernesto, the Daily Mail can disclose.
The news will come as a shock to many as no one knew that the couple’s 21-year marriage had hit the rocks.
‘It is with sadness that Ernesto and Kirsty Bertarelli confirm that they have divorced,’ their spokesman told this newspaper.
The couple, who have three children, are understood to have separated this year. The divorce was agreed in the summer.
They were jointly listed in 14th place in this year’s Sunday Times Rich List with a fortune estimated at a staggering £9.2billion – bigger than the gross domestic product of many countries, including the Bahamas, Brunei and Armenia.
The spokesman insists: ‘The decision was a shared one and the separation amicable.’
The couple decline to discuss the size of Mrs Bertarelli’s payout, but the Daily Mail understands that the Staffordshire-born former Miss UK has agreed to accept a £350million settlement.
That would make her the richest British-born divorcee in legal history. The Queen’s personal fortune is estimated at around £365million.
Mrs Bertarelli is now richer than pop superstars Sir Mick Jagger, said to be worth £310million, Ed Sheeran (£220million) and Adele (£140million).
In addition to her settlement, she has been given a spectacular modern house by Lake Geneva in Switzerland bought this year for £52million. She also owns an £8million chalet in the Swiss ski resort of Gstaad.
Mrs Bertarelli was represented by Baroness (Fiona) Shackleton, the lawyer known as the Steel Magnolia who represented Prince Charles and Sir Paul McCartney in their divorces. She is believed to have signed a prenuptial agreement before marrying Italian-born Bertarelli in 2000.
One of her friends told the Mail: ‘The settlement was more generous than it had to be. They didn’t want a long, drawn-out court case in Switzerland and he wanted to recognise the length of their marriage.’
Mrs Bertarelli was born Kirsty Roper in the Staffordshire market town of Stone. She comes from the well-off family behind one of the world’s biggest manufacturers of ceramic products, Churchill China in Stoke-on-Trent.
After moving to London, she partied with socialites such as Elizabeth Hurley, Tamara Beckwith and Tamara Mellon.
Among those who fell for her charms was gambling and wildlife park heir Damian Aspinall, whose ex-wife Louise named her in their divorce.
But Mrs Bertarelli denies anything happened while Damian and Louise were still together. ‘He was already separated,’ she explained. ‘At least, that’s what he told me.’
She joined the super-rich after meeting bio-tech tycoon Bertarelli, 56, at a dinner party in Sardinia. Twice a winner of sailing’s top prize, the America’s Cup, he is said to have bought the £100million British-built superyacht Vava II for his wife’s 40th birthday.
After being crowned Miss UK in 1988, Kirsty was second runner-up in that year’s Miss World pageant. She then became a successful pop singer and songwriter. She co-wrote All Saints’ No 1 single Black Coffee, a worldwide hit in 2000.
‘So many people would just go off on their yacht and spend their life drinking champagne, but not me,’ she said.
‘You should grasp life. Singing has been inside me my whole life and I can’t not do it.’
The couple’s spokesman said: ‘All issues arising from the divorce have been settled and they would respectfully ask for privacy for their whole family at this time. As this is a private matter, there will be no further comment.’ – Daily Mail