-40-year-old pictured driving away from her home in Glasgow
-Statement from lawyers says separation is 'amicable' and that no other parties are involved
-Mother of three who built up firm into £39m business after leaving school at 15 was awarded OBE last year
-Mrs Mone ranks among the UK's most successful businesswomen and her designs can be found in department stores worldwide
By Sara Nathan and Jonathan Brocklebank
Brave face: Michelle Mone leaves her home in Glasgow after separating from her husband of 19 years. She thanked follower on Twitter for their support
Lingerie tycoon Michelle Mone has spoken out for the first time over her split from her husband of 19 years through her Twitter page.
Pictured driving away from her home in Glasgow the 40-year-old, who created the Ultimo bra, announced she would be stepping away from the public gaze as she deals with her break up.
She tweeted: 'Thanks for all ur support at this very difficult time.
'For the time being I'm taking a break from Twitter. Have a great New Year.'
Earlier this year, Michael Mone was said to be 'appalled' after his wife became the face of her company's racy advertising campaign.
Mrs Mone founded MJM International with her husband in 1996, launching the first of her cleavage-enhancing Ultimo bras in 1999.
After losing six stone, the mother-of-three recently began modelling her own range of lingerie, a move she said had left her husband so angry he had stopped talking to her.
The multi-millionairess admitted: ‘He was appalled I’d posed in my underwear. He didn’t speak to me for days. It’s something we can’t talk about, even now.’
Rumours of marriage trouble circulated after Mrs Mone, from Glasgow, was pictured on the arm of EastEnders actor Shane Richie in April – and was then seen getting cosy with rugby player Gavin Henson at a pre-Wimbledon party in June.
'Amicable split': Michelle Mone and husband Michael, pictured together last summer in Glasgow, announced today that they have decided to separate after 19 years of marriage
Mrs Mone, X Factor vocal coach Yvie Burnett, and Carol Vorderman enjoyed an evening at 34 Restaurant in Mayfair, London, earlier this month
She had met both men during the filming of the ITV show 71 Degrees North. She denied allegations that they were anything more than friends.
In October, multi-millionaire Mrs Mone admitted in an interview that the trappings of wealth and celebrity had not delivered happiness and that her relationship had been under strain.
She revealed that her husband was unnerved by the confidence her recent weight loss had given her.
In a surprisingly candid interview, Michelle said: ‘It hasn’t been easy for him. Before I was always there. Now, I’m more confident and outgoing. I’m doing things I wouldn’t have done before.
‘I am a different person. Most of the changes in our lives have been brilliant — sex is better and we cook and eat together as a family — but there is a lot of adjusting to do and it’s been more difficult for Michael.’
She said: 'I've been with Michael since I was 17 years old. We have our arguments like everyone else and we have to work on our relationship every day. You can only do your best.'
A statement issued yesterday through law firm Harper Macleod, said: 'It is with regret that we intimate that Mr Michael J Mone and Mrs Michelle G Mone OBE have decided to separate.
'There are no other parties involved and the split is amicable. Michael and Michelle's focus will be the welfare of their children, which is their main priority.
'They will continue to work together in their business MJM International. This is a private matter and they would appreciate their privacy and that of their family being respected at this difficult time.'
Mrs Mone is considered one of the UK's most successful businesswomen and her designs can be found in department stores worldwide.
She first found work as a model before creating the Ultimo bra and co-founding MJM International.
The couple have three children together; Rebecca, 19, Declan, 15 and 11-year-old Bethany.
Mrs Mone has previously admitted that, as the slightest hint of marriage problems, she enlisted the help of a life coach.
‘He helped us learn how to talk to each other,’ she told the Mail at the time.
Of her husband's reaction to rumours of marriage trouble at the time of the Gavin Henson incident, Mrs Mone said: 'He knows me well enough to know that I’m never going to run off with another man.
'This isn’t about a woman who loses weight just to leg it with another man. That’s not me at all. My family is the most important thing in my life.’
Confidence: The entrepreneur candidly revealed that her husband struggled to deal with the confidence her six-stone weight loss gave her
Not supportive: Mrs Mone has previously admitted that her husband was furious over her decision to model for her company's ad campaign
Mrs Mone appears regularly on TV shows. Here she poses with fellow Celebrity Masterchef contestants (from left) Nick Pickard, Linda Lusardi and Darren Campbell
The businesswoman also appeared in the ITV show 71 Degrees North with (from left) Shane Richie, Joe Absolom, Marcus Patrick and Konnie Huq
Success story: Mrs Mone pictured at the launch of Ultimo in 1999 with twins Kirsty Langlea (left) and Kelly - she is now worth £39million
Michelle and her husband launched MJM International in 1996, and Ultimo's popularity soared after Julia Roberts wore one of the company's bras for her role in Erin Brockovich.
In October, the Scottish entrepreneur announced a partnership with Tesco to create an exclusive 'affordable' bra brand called Bra Queen.
The deal comes two years after MJM International business launched a luxury lingerie collection, Diamond Boutique, in Tesco stores. The company also designs collections for Debenhams and Asda.
Argentine actress and supermodel Luisana Lopilato, who is married to Michael Buble, was recently revealed as the latest face of Ultimo.
Mrs Mone, from the East End of Glasgow, left school at 15 and joined Labatts Brewers in Glasgow, working her way up to be running the sales and marketing team by the time she was just 20, before going on to launch her own company in 1996.
She started building her lingerie empire during her 20s when she developed the gel-filled Ultimo bra.
Support: The lingerie tycoon took to her Twitter page to thank followers for their messages
Confidence: The entrepreneur (pictured left in 2005 and right in 2010) was candid about how her husband struggled to deal with the confidence her six-stone weight loss gave her
On the rocks? Last year pictures of Mrs Mone leaving a party with Gavin Henson made headlines
She has always been proud of her success and has little compunction about showing it, driving around Glasgow in her white Aston Martin convertible with the top pulled down. There is also a Bentley and Range Rover in her garage.
She was less proud of her once-ample figure, however. She said that working with a string of supermodels such as Rachel Hunter and Helena Christensen had left her feeling inadequate about her body.
She embarked on a strict regime of diet and exercise, resulting in a dramatic weight loss. Unfortunately, Mrs Mone’s newfound confidence in her appearance has coincided with, and perhaps contributed to, the most troubled period in her marriage.
In recent years her television work has increased, with appearances on a celebrity version of The Apprentice and regular slots on the You’re Fired programme which follows the main show.
Earlier this year she appeared on Celebrity Masterchef where it soon became evident that the tycoon had spent very little of her married life preparing meals for her husband and three children.
Her husband, she admitted, had always done most of the cooking.
Last year the couple doubled the size of their home in Glasgow after striking a £650,000 deal to buy and bulldoze a neighbour’s six-bedroom villa. However, some local residents branded the new house a ‘monstrosity’ and lodged official objections.
Mrs Mone's bank balance is set to continue to soar as a collection of beauty products is planned for next year, together with a perfume.
Sales at MJM International topped £10million for the first time last year.
Last year Mrs Mone said the MJM International business had been valued at £48m by business advisers.
Mrs Mone and her husband own all of the shares in the company, after buying the stakes of investors Sir Tom Hunter and Arcadia chief executive Ian Grabiner, who had invested in the company in 1999, for £800,000.
Answering the door at the house last night, Mr Mone said the marriage split was a private matter and he had no comment to make.
The models who helped make Ultimo
Numerous stars and celebrities have modelled the Ultimo range, including The Only Way Is Essex star Amy Childs (left) this year, Helena Christensen (right) and Jade Jagger (below)
Thursday, December 29, 2011
'Thanks for all ur support at a difficult time': Lingerie queen Michelle Mone signs off from Twitter after collapse of her marriage
-40-year-old pictured driving away from her home in Glasgow