My Fabulous Life: How I coped with my husband's betrayal

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The Independent Online

My long-awaited memoirs, Living Richly, are out this week but as my publishers seem to have foolishly neglected to leak choice extracts to accelerate sales, I'll just have to do it myself: "After all that has happened to me, I'm often asked why Keith and I have stayed together. It's not a question I welcome, but given the public nature of our lives, it's one I know I will be asked again and again. All I know is he is still the most interesting, energising and fully alive person I have ever met apart from, perhaps, Eammon Holmes, who is also interesting, energising and fully alive, or so it is said.

"On the morning of Wednesday January 27, 1998, Keith woke me early. He sat on the edge of the bed and said: 'There is something in today's Epsom Guardian you should know about.'

"He told me there was a news report that he had, the previous evening, stopped at the Sainsbury's Local on his way home to purchase a regular-sized Dairylea Lunchable - pizza pepperoni flavour. Keith told me the reports were wholly untrue, that he knew it was my chilled, free-range, no-fat cantaloupe gazpacho for dinner that night and he was much looking forward to it even though it was a cold winter's evening and 'a man has got to have proper food sometimes, Den'. I questioned Keith over and over about the story, warning him what high-fat junk food can do to a man who is otherwise interesting, energising and fully alive. 'Look at Eammon!' I said.

"He continued to deny any improper behaviour but did acknowledge that his glances towards Dairylea products could have been confused with hunger.

"I will never truly understand what was going through my husband's mind that day. All I know is that Keith told our staff and our friends the same story he told me: that nothing improper went on, that cantaloupe gazpacho is one of his absolute favourites. In a better world, this sort of conversation between husband and wife would be seen as no-one's business but our own. Though I had long tried to protect our privacy there was, however, nothing I could do now that I had signed the deal with Hello!, as well as OK! and the Daily Mail, who were also, by the way, interested in exclusive rights to my recipe for gazpacho made with the sundried toes of middle-class children who had let down their parents by taking drugs and living in tents.

"For me, the Dairylea imbroglio seemed like just another scandal manufactured by my many lifestyle opponents. (Martha Stewart, for example, has always claimed to be the founder of the button-craft movement, even though Denisella's Easy Button Projects was very much the first publication of its kind.) I believed my husband when he told me there was no truth in the charge. Our staff were walking around in a daze, whispering behind closed doors, so that I could only overhear the odd word, ones like 'Pop Tarts' and 'hide quickie' and 'if Missy Bwown find she velly, velly cross'. It was important to reassure staff that we would deal with this as we had dealt with the Ginsters Cornish Pastie and Sunny Delight scandals. 'I understand, Missy Bwown,' said Mae, who had, by this time, started to physically twitch in a way that could be easily mistaken for trying to hide a Good Fella's frozen pizza in the very depths of her hosiery..."

The night he defiled our deep-pile carpet

You want more, I can tell. OK. "Early on the morning of Saturday, August 15, Keith woke me up just as he had done several months before. This time he didn't sit by the bed but paced back and forth, even though I had repeatedly told him that this is quite the worst thing you can ever do to an expensive carpet. He told me for the first time that the situation was much more serious than he had previously acknowledged. He now realised that, having been caught on CCTV, he would have to testify that there had been inappropriate intimacy not only with a Lunchable, but also a Dunker (hot-dog flavour). He told me he couldn't tell me at the time because he was too ashamed to admit it and he knew how angry and hurt I would be. I could hardly breathe, I was gulping for air. I started crying and yelling at him: 'Do you know how long it's going to take Mae to brush the pile so that it's all going in the same direction?' He just stood there, saying over and over again, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry.' I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I could not believe he would do anything to endanger our carpet, which is a beautiful Kelly Hoppen in 'More Taupe Than Taupe'.

"The following morning, we would have all left for Martha's Vineyard, if relations between Martha and I had not been so strained, and an invitation had been forthcoming. (That said, though, I bear her no malice and have already dropped her a little note, saying, who knows, arrow-print fabrics might be very in next season.) By now, I could barely speak to Keith, which he bravely affected not to mind. 'Quite peaceful, as it happens,' he said with mock-cheeriness. He slept downstairs, I slept upstairs. He kept trying to explain and apologise - 'chilled melon soup is not that filling, you know' - but I wasn't ready to have him back in the bedroom, as it had taken Mae hours with a toothpick to get the pile just-so again. What I still didn't know was whether our marriage could or should last. But even though I hadn't decided whether to fight for my husband and my marriage, I was resolved to fight for my President, which I would have done even without the lucrative endorsement contract, as I do believe it's by far the best and most thoughtfully-churned French unsalted butter on the market..."

Exclusive extracts leaked from 'Denisella's Living Richly', published by Little, Brown at £17.99. This book should not be confused with any other memoirs currently doing the rounds, which are neither as good or as farm fresh.

Denisella@independent.co.uk

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