Ainsley Harriott believes being a “national treasure” cost him his marriage.

Ainsley Harriott believes being a 'national treasure' contributed to the end of his marriage

Ainsley Harriott believes being a 'national treasure' contributed to the end of his marriage

The TV chef, 67, split from his wife Clare Fellows in 2012 after 23 years of marriage, and now the ‘Ready Steady Cook’ star has cited his position in the public eye as a reason for the relationship’s collapse.

When Rylan Clark asked him how he dealt with his status as a “national treasure” on his ‘How to Be in the Spotlight’ podcast, Ainsley said: “It's other people who put you in that category, you don't put yourself in there. You're not someone who brings negativity, you're someone who brings a smile.

“Most of the time people approach me, even if they bash their supermarket trolley into me, it's always a lovely moment, been doing it for years. They still bring a tomato and a pepper, ‘what you going to do with this?’. I smile, I have a little moment with them.

“I think it's difficult for partners. It was certainly difficult for my ex and I think that probably contributed to our break-up because you are sharing the person that you love all the time and that is hard.

“A lot of people in the industry have been there and you feel divided because there are two of you but ultimately there is only one.”

The TV star admitted it was hard to remain in the spotlight and maintain his upbeat persona on shows like ‘Ainsley Harriott’s Street Food’ while he was dealing with the fallout of his failed marriage.

He explained: ”Because I was so natural if I felt a little bit down they [the public] could see it, they could feel it. But at the same time, I was doing a programme that required you to be energetic and stuff like that.

“It doesn't affect how you perform necessarily but it lives with you and it's when you come off stage, and how you deal with it. I have never been a druggie. I have never been a heavy boozer. I did some sport, a bit of tennis.

“I had support without thinking I had support. Mates would pop round and have a chat or I would go over for a meal. It was just having some company.”