Piers Morgan spent two decades trailblazing his way through the tabloid media, rising from a showbiz journalist to editor of the News of the World before he’d reached 40.
From exposing tales of sexual deviancy in the ruling classes to securing explosive celebrity exclusives, the freshly departed Good Morning Britain host was notorious for his bulldozer approach.
And by his side through it all was Piers’ first wife, nurse Marion Shalloe, whom he married in 1991 aged 26.
Their first-born son Spencer, 27, was born in 1993, just one year before Rupert Murdoch made Piers the News of the World’s youngest ever editor at 29.
In a 1994 interview with the Telegraph, he revealed they’d ‘recently separated’ but insisted it had nothing to do with the pressure of the job or a third party.
And he had nothing but nice things to say about the mother of his child.
“She’s a ward sister in a hospital. She helps save people’s lives, and like all nurses, she’ll hate me saying that,” he said.
The couple reunited and their son Stanley, 23, arrived in June 1997 .
But when Marion was pregnant with their third child, son Albert, 19, in 2000, the marriage is said to have disintegrated following an exchange of emails between Piers and The Sun’s showbiz columnist Marina Hyde, 46, who was sacked by editor David Yelland as a result.
And after Yelland claimed to have three boxes of ‘explosive’ emails that could ‘destroy’ his rival, Piers hit back, claiming Marina’s sacking showed ‘chronic insecurity’.
He told the Press Gazette: “They delighted in embarrassing me and in being quite destructive to a friend, and to my personal life.
“I think of Yelland sitting there with his operatives, salivating over them [the e-mails] and it makes me quite sick.”
Rumours of romance between the newly-single star and Ms Hyde immediately swirled but Piers has always refused to comment on claims, telling The Times in 2010: “I’m not going into it.”
Meanwhile, Marion moved on with News of the World showbiz editor, Rav Singh. “Who is, by the way, a very nice guy I get on well with,” Piers said.
Then in 2006 Piers fell almost instantly in love with The Daily Telegraph gossip columnist Celia Walden, daughter of former Tory MP George Walden, after interviewing her for GQ magazine.
Clearly smitten, he hailed her ‘ridiculously beautiful’, compared her to French actress Brigitte Bardot and declared that, “like Bardot, she has brought a lot of basic pleasure to a lot of basic, lusty men.”
He gushed: “She inspires equal doses of admiration, lust and fear… and is, as I write, single. When God created woman, he blessed Hollywood with Bardot, and Fleet Street with Walden.”
With his divorce yet to be finalised, he initially played coy about plans to make things official with Celia.
Then in 2008 his split from Marion was finally signed off, closing a chapter that Piers described as ‘deeply unpleasant’.
“I’ve only recently got divorced. There has to be a decent period before these things are done. The divorce was a pretty horrendous experience,” he told the Daily Mail in 2009.
“The day Marion and I got divorced, I said, ‘You know what? We can both go away feeling awful about this, but let’s never mention it again’.”
Having gone on to tie the knot with Celia in 2010 before welcoming daughter Elise in 2011, Piers has no regrets about how his first marriage panned out and remains on excellent terms with Marion, who he recently revealed supported his GMB exit.
“I don’t regret it because these things happen, but I’m pleased that we’ve stayed good friends, because it’s important for your kids,” he said.
“I produced three fantastic children with my ex-wife.
“The best advice I ever got was to speak to them every day – that’s when you need your ex to be very accommodating. I’ve spoken to my kids, with just a handful of exceptions, every day in the last nine years.”