On the couch... with Mrs Clarkson
Last week, TV’s Jeremy Clarkson lifted a gagging order preventing his ex-wife Alex Hall from revealing intimate details of their relationship. Hall claims she had an affair with Clarkson — which he denies — after he married his present wife, Francie. Clinical psychologist Linda Blair considers what might compel someone to sleep with their ex, and what a current partner may feel.
Even though Alex is making mere allegations, it must be painful for you, Francie, to read in the Press that your husband may have been unfaithful to you — more so, perhaps, because this isn’t the first such claim.
In 2002, one newspaper suggested that he’d been intimate with TV producer Elaine Bedell, and earlier this year he was accused of having an affair with Phillipa Sage, an events organiser for his International Top Gear Live Show.
Sadly, for their spouses, it’s not uncommon for high-profile, fiercely ambitious people to have affairs. But it is less common for them to sleep with their ex. Why would they do this?
Numerous rumours: Tales of Jeremy Clarkson's infidelities behind Francie's back started to spread as early as 2002
One reason is uncertainty.
Highly ambitious people are often impulsive, and likely to have let a marriage go in a hurry.
They may start to wonder whether they left something better than they now have. Because they often have an inflated opinion of their desirability, they assume they can walk back into the old relationship.
We can’t yet know whether this applies to Jeremy and Alex — Alex is suggesting that it does.
However, Jeremy’s made it clear that he considers his relationship with you to be important to him.
Another reason for a fling with an ex is availability. When hard-driving, time-poor individuals want something — sex, for example — they often decide they should have it now. Whoever’s around, attractive and available will do. If they have children to co-parent or financial arrangements still to sort, their ex may well fit that description.
Again, I doubt that it could apply in your case. You and Jeremy have had three children together whereas he had none with Alex, and no doubt he and Alex finished sorting any financial matters some time ago.
Holding on: Jeremy Clarkson has made it clear that he values his relationship with his wife Francie
Another factor is selective memory.
After we leave an unhappy relationship, the bad bits often fade. Then,
some people gravitate back to an old relationship, expecting things to
This is more likely if the individual is lonely, or has had another relationship that went wrong — and the latter appears the case for Alex.
And, if someone is highly competitive and was left by his partner, he’ll want to ‘win’ back what he lost — not necessarily because he wants his ex back, but because he wants to be the one who makes the decisions.
This explanation feels like a good fit for Jeremy and Alex. Apparently, she left him for a friend of his, so she, rather than he, was in charge of ending the relationship.
Going back for more? Jeremy's first wife, Alex Hall who claims they have been having an affair
At the same time, Alex has spoken of how she feels ‘haunted’ by Jeremy’s fame, and the indications are that she very much wants her share of public attention as well.
Indeed, she’s hired publicist Max Clifford to find a publisher for the book she intends to write about the alleged affair.
Although she says: ‘All I want is for the truth to come out about my life,’ this is not a particularly convincing reason for writing such a book.
Publishing allegations about someone with Jeremy’s profile will, on the other hand, ensure that she, too, is noticed.
One further reason to reignite a relationship with an ex is a lack of empathy. There are some who are unable, or who may refuse, to consider their actions from the point of view of others.
disregard for others’ feelings is seen most often in people who were
indulged as children and who were never taught to show gratitude.
Jeremy’s parents appeared always to work hard to give him the best
opportunities. But he didn’t appear to value their sacrifices, or at
least to consider their feelings, because he claims he was expelled from
What do you make of Alex’s allegations? When considering the motivations that could have brought her and Jeremy back together, and given the number of allegations, it might be hard for you to trust him. But when Jeremy is with you and when he’s thinking about you, he seems to care for you very much.
people want to keep their family intact, so should the allegations
prove true, hopefully Jeremy can convince you that whatever might have
been going on is now over.
It would be even better if he were to show he wanted to honour the feelings and sensitivities of those who love him, and that he can see they are as important as he regards himself.
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