I don't want a penny from Evans divorce, says Piper

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The Independent Online

Bucking the trend of recent divorce settlements, which have seen women win millions of pounds from their former husbands, Billie Piper has declared that she will "not take a penny" from Chris Evans.

The actress, who quits her role as Doctor Who's assistant Rose Tyler in a dramatic exit next week, revealed that far from being a corrupting influence, Evans "saved" her from a period of madness which arose from finding fame as a chart-topping singer when she was still a teenager.

Piper, who at just 23 has amassed an impressive list of acting credits, recently signed a six-figure deal to write her autobiography.

In an interview with the Radio Times, Piper promised it would be a "warts and all" account of her life, but added that it would not be a "nasty kiss-and-tell" about her marriage to Evans.

The pair, who are separated but remain good friends, plan to divorce amicably in September, so that "no fault" is assigned to either party. Evans is worth £30m, according to the Sunday Times Rich List, thanks to his television production company, UMTV, an £11m stake in SMG and a £12m property portfolio.

Piper said: "We didn't want to accuse each other of being a***holes. I'm not taking a penny from him. I think that's disgusting."

Her attitude is a far cry from the recent House of Lords rulings in favour of Melissa Miller, who was awarded £5m of her ex-husband's £17.5m fortune for a marriage that lasted less than three years, and Julia McFarlane, who was awarded £250,000 a year.

Despite becoming, at the age of 15, the youngest British pop singer to have a No 1 hit, with "Because We Want To", Piper revealed that her earnings from her early singing career were negligible. "I was young, green and taken advantage of. There was a massive financial rip-off and, although I was working twice as hard as I am now, I was left with hardly any money."

Although the press frequently depicted Piper and Evans' marriage as a booze-fuelled holiday, Piper revealed that the television and radio presenter rescued her from an early flirtation with alcohol. "Chris and I found one another when it could have gone badly for both of us, and we saved each other from our worlds of madness," she said.

During her pop career, however, she admitted: "I was high maintenance ... stroppy and drinking too much. I never thought it was a problem - it's only with hindsight you realise you were a bit out of control.

"I still turned up for work - even though I had a face like a slapped a***. My eyes were vague and dead, and my mouth was smiling without feeling in a false pose I'd become accustomed to."

Her one regret is that her parents only found out by listening to Virgin Radio that she had married Evans in Las Vegas, when she was 18 and he was 34.

"I regret it in retrospect and we didn't speak for a while, although they understand now that at the time I had to be selfish. I didn't want them to question it, because in my head it was perfect, the first time in years I felt happy. It was simple and sweet."

The Swindon-born actress, whose first major role was in the BBC's 2003 adaptation of Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, is filming Philip Pullman's Victorian novel The Ruby In The Smoke for BBC1. She is also starring as the heroine Fanny Price in ITV1's forthcoming production of Jane Austen's Mansfield Park.

Despite her apparent success, she said: "I don't get that many offers. It's a slow burn."

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