James Cracknell’s ex Beverley Turner opens up on marriage breakdown: ‘Tired of that life’

Strictly: James Cracknell first celebrity to leave show

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Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins star James Cracknell, 49, and his ex-wife Beverley Turner, 47, stunned fans with the announcement of their split, after 17 years together, in 2019. The couple, who share three children, confirmed their marriage was over in March of that year.

Beverley has now opened up on the reasons behind the breakdown of their marriage, after a “nagging doubt” started to enter her mind while on holiday in Barbados “some years ago”.

The TV presenter revealed she was struggling to be married to rowing champion and Olympic gold medallist James, due to his need to keep challenging himself.

She admitted in a recent column: “On the face of it, sitting on that beach in Barbados, my life was just about perfect — yet I had a nagging doubt that I didn’t have what it took to be married to someone who, for good and bad, was always ultra-focused on their next challenge, whether that was running a marathon or pursuing political ambitions.

“Like many wives of successful men (and no one can say my then-husband, James Cracknell, the champion rower and double gold Olympic medallist, is not successful), I was tired of that life and exhausted by never having any head space to work out what I wanted to do besides a whole lot of mothering.

“Despite James trying to support me in his own way, I was a snappy, unhappy mummy, a grumpy wife and an unsatisfactory friend.”

Beverley also detailed how the couple’s marriage changed after James suffered a brain injury in 2010.

James was involved in a horrific accident while filming a TV show that saw him cycling across America.

The sportsman was hit by a fuel truck travelling at 70 mph, which led to him suffering from epilepsy and a changed personality – including a short temper.


Beverley rushed to his side at the time and nursed him through the injuries he had sustained.

However, the heartbreaking situation left Beverley “marrying a little grief every day”, as James had changed since the accident.

She added in her column for the Daily Mail in February this year: “Several years, a traumatic accident (which nearly killed James and took away the man I knew), marriage guidance, a huge amount of soul-searching, some gut-wrenchingly sad conversations and one divorce later, I was a single mother-of-three, scared but also relieved.

“Being with someone who survives a brain injury is to carry a little grief every day. And, just as with any bereavement, once you find a place of acceptance, you can be a much better version of yourself again.”

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James has also admitted that he wasn’t very easy to live with after the accident.

He explained in an interview with BBC Radio 5 Live in 2019: “As a sportsman you are slightly single-minded and stubborn, which is great if you’re a sportsman but not great to live with.

“So if you become more of that, that’s an issue. What is really important is for your partner and friends and family to be really honest with you. Their support comes from an unconditional place of love and trust.

“I found I was getting a lot of sympathy but you need someone to tell you straight and that’s a large part of why I recovered as well as I did and exceed what a lot if neurologists expected,” he added.

James is now engaged to his girlfriend Jordan Connell, 35, after popping the question almost two years after finalising his divorce from Beverley.

The couple met when he studied at Cambridge University in 2018.

Beverley is now dating eco-housing property developer, James Pritchett, who is 15 years her junior.

The pair were first linked in September 2019, six months after Beverley and James announced their split.

Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins 2021 begins tonight at 9pm on Channel 4. 

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