Double Olympic medallist James Cracknell has insisted that his split from his wife of 17-years was down to his ‘personality-altering’ brain injury – and not his new girlfriend.
The rowing champion-turned-Strictly contestant has revealed tht he and wife Beverley Turner had struggled to cope with the massive changes to his behaviour, leading to their eventual divorce in July.
The admission comes just days after James was spotted with new girlfriend Jordan Connell, an American finance student believed to be much younger than him.
Speaking to the the Mail on Sunday, James rejected claims that his new relationship was the sign of a mid-life crisis, insisting that his marriage had been broken for a very long time.
The 47-year-old recalled how his family’s nightmare began back in 2010 after he was hit by a lorry while cycling in Arizona during filming for a Discovery Channel documentary.
James fractured his skull and suffered a serious brain injury, which also caused him to develop epilepsy.
He continues to suffer nine years on, and claims his personality was significantly altered as a result of the horrific crash, adding that his temperament, memory and concentration have all suffered dramatically.
He said: “Bev had it really hard. She had one husband for the first eight years we were married and a very, very different one for the rest.”
While he and his TV presenter wife were determined not to let his injury affect their marriage, James’s decision to become a mature student meant the pair spent a considerable time apart.
They eventually split in March this year, before divorcing in July.
Just one month later, the dad of three was spotted kissing his new girlfriend Jordan as they strolled through a London park.
Jordan is believed to be in her early 30s, and studied at Cambridge University.
James was spotted with her a number of times at the Henley Royal Regatta but has been forced to deny that their romance had anything to do with his marriage collapsing.
He is now competing in this year’s Strictly Come Dancing , but claims he has no chance of winning.
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