Paul Hollywood has separated from his wife of 15 years. Days after the Great British Bake Off star turned up at the TV Baftas without Alexandra, his agent confirmed the news.
Friends of the couple, who have a son, aged 11, are said to be shocked by the end of the marriage. Paul, 47, is now living in a Kent studio flat after leaving the family home a short drive away.
The split comes shortly after Paul returned from LA, where he has been filming a US version of the hit show, The American Baking Competition.
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According to some media outlets, he has become close to Marcela Valladolid, his 34-year-old co-star. Divorced mum-of-one Marcela, the US version of Mary Berry, and Paul are said to have “hit it off from day one” with the Tequila brand owner describing him as a “handsome devil”.
During his time in LA, Paul — dubbed the George Clooney of baking — and Marcela frequently shared pictures of themselves on Twitter, and have continued to talk on the social networking site since his return.
A friend of Paul”s told The Sun, “Marcela loved his Scouse charm and he thought she was gorgeous and talented — the perfect package.
“During filming they got very close and count each other as close friends.”
Paul and Alexandra first met when he was working as a chef in a top hotel in Cyprus. He revealed in a recent interview that she found his new sex symbol status “hilarious”.
Speaking about comparison to George Clooney, he said, “It”s flattering. But I always think they are taking the mickey. I don”t really believe it.
“It”s quite embarrassing. I”m quite shy, really. The figure you see on TV, that”s just a persona. I like getting home, putting my feet up, getting into my slippers and dressing gown.”
Marcela, meanwhile, graduated as a classically trained pastry chef in Paris after working at her aunt”s cookery school in Tijuana, near the Mexico/US border. She found fame writing cook books and hosting shows on the Food Network.