Duncan Bannatyne's love life gets a makeover with blonde DIY expert who is 20 years younger than him
- Public display of affection at Lottery awards with Julia Kendell
- Attendees speak of how they were 'very close and flirty'
- Appears Bannatyne has moved on from bitter 2011 divorce from Joanne McCue
Dragons’ Den millionaire Duncan Bannatyne is back on the dating scene with a glamorous TV designer almost 20 years his junior – only months after finalising his bitter divorce.
The 64-year-old businessman enjoyed a night out at a charity event on Thursday with glamorous blonde Julia Kendell, a regular on BBC1’s home-makeover show DIY SOS, where the pair were described as ‘very close and flirty’.
They were seen dancing together and being ‘extremely tactile’ as Miss Kendell, 45, joined Bannatyne for the National Lottery Stars Awards at Pinewood Studios, where rocker Rod Stewart was performing.
What's the story? Duncan Bannatyne's public display of affection with Julia Kendell was noticed by many at the National Lottery Stars Awards
A guest at the awards, which will be shown on BBC1 next Wednesday, said: ‘Duncan was with a very attractive blonde lady and they looked very much together.
‘It got quite full-on a few times. A few people were watching and saying to each other, “Those two need to get a room”.
‘He had his arm around her and they were chatting together all evening, leaning in to whisper and giggling flirtatiously.
‘It certainly looked as though he has moved on from his divorce – and they didn’t stop smiling all night.’
The event celebrated charities and good causes supported by the National Lottery.
Two months ago, Miss Kendell joined Bannatyne as his date for a charity function at London’s Lancaster House – looking stunning in a floor-length gold gown.
No winners: Duncan Bannatyne's divorce with Joanne McCue turned very messy with him saying she asked for '£1,000 a day'
Bannatyne’s bitter divorce from his second wife Joanne McCue saw him brand her a ‘gold digger’.
The couple had two children together, while he also has four children from his first marriage. Their break-up in 2011 sparked an angry public row in which Bannatyne claimed he would be forced to lay off staff to pay for the settlement.
He said: ‘It is a sad time. People employed by me will be made redundant and I cannot continue supporting charities.
‘I am not allowed to discuss the settlement but Joanne said she needed £1,000 a day.’
And he later blasted: ‘I will never be friends with her or her family because of the way she treated my first four children.
‘She has cut them off after 18 years – stopped speaking to them. They have been devastated. Their lives have been turned upside down.’
Miss McCue, 47, who was represented by divorce lawyer to the stars Fiona Shackleton, recently hit back in an interview with The Mail on Sunday, jibing: ‘Maybe it’s men of a certain age losing control. Looking back, Duncan was very controlling and so aggressive.’
She also labelled him negative and moody and said he would be furious if she fell asleep during one of his TV shows.
Bannatyne has said he would not rule out finding love again, saying: ‘I miss having someone to go on holiday with and to talk to.
‘I’ve got a lot of baggage – children, TV work, charities – but, well, it’s not a no.
‘I’m not looking – but if it happens – well, even more children would be nice.
Line-up: Duncan Bannatyne, pictured far left alongside fellow Dragons from the television programme Dragons' Den, from left, Hilary Devey, Theo Paphitis, Deborah Meaden and Peter Jones
‘Maybe it would be good to meet someone who has children already.’ Interior designer Miss Kendell, who first found TV success on ITV’s 60 Minute Makeover, is separated from her partner of almost a decade Andrew Hughes-Hallett, a business consultant. She has two children.
The pair built a striking eco home on the banks of the river in Henley-on-Thames but recently sold it.
A representative for Duncan Bannatyne told The Mail on Sunday he and Miss Kendell are ‘very good friends’.
Mr Hughes-Hallett declined to comment on his former partner’s new relationship.
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