Fifty Shades of Grey author EL James: Happy to talk about sex. But don't mention money, or schools


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The Independent Culture

She may have made millions from introducing the world to "mummy porn", but woe betide those who delve too closely into what EL James is spending her new-found fortune on.

The Independent has learnt that the Fifty Shades of Grey author asked executives at Classic FM radio station to remove a segment in which she admitted her children were privately educated.

The reclusive writer, who rarely gives interviews, made the remarks during a discussion with the station's Nick Ferrari to publicise a new classical album inspired by her erotic novels.

According to a source who listened to the original recording, James, pictured, spoke briefly and somewhat reluctantly about her own education in a private school and admitted that her two teenage children were also attending fee-paying schools.

The interview quickly moved on to other subjects. But the next day, Classic FM was asked to remove any segment that referred to the novelist's comments on private schools. Executives initially resisted, noting that previews of the interview had already been sent to the press. "She was adamant," one source said, "even though taking it out ran the risk of highlighting the very thing she wanted to hide."

The Independent understands that Classic FM relented and that the show, to be broadcast tomorrow evening at 9pm, will go ahead without any mention of her teenage sons' schooling.

A spokesperson for EL James declined to comment last night. But the revelations are an indication of how uncomfortable the author is with her new-found fame. Unlike many up-and-coming novelists who find rapid financial success, James has always been keen to retain her personal mystique. She has stuck with her pen name (her real name is Erika Leonard) and is reluctant to sit through press junkets.

But while she may worry about her family's privacy, she will have little need to worry about their financial future. Since it was released in June 2011, Fifty Shades has become the fastest-selling paperback series in history. Hollywood has also come knocking, reportedly paying about £5m for rights to the film.

In the few interviews James has given, she has been adamant that money won't change things. Her family still have the same west London home they have lived in for years, while her Mini has been joined by a more practical family Volkswagen.