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One of the billionaire Sir James Goldsmith’s most memorable quotes was his oft-repeated aphorism on fidelity: ‘When a man marries his mistress, he creates a vacancy.’

Now, there would certainly appear to be a vacancy in the love life of the late tycoon’s elder son, Lord (Zac) Goldsmith, as the Daily Mail can reveal that he has separated from his wife Alice Rothschild.

Before they were married, their relationship had been the subject of a tabloid exposé while Sheherazade Bentley was still his wife.

Last night, a spokesman for the couple confirmed that the marriage of Lord Goldsmith, a government minister, had ended after a decade.

‘Alice and Zac have made the difficult decision to separate,’ the spokesman told this newspaper. ‘They do so amicably, and are committed to jointly raising their three children in a happy and healthy environment.’

Zac Goldsmith married his banking heiress wife in 2013 and the pair have three children, Dolly, Max and Edie. Pictured: Together in 2016

Zac Goldsmith married his banking heiress wife in 2013 and the pair have three children, Dolly, Max and Edie. Pictured: Together in 2016

Ms Rothschild (pictured here in 2014) is the daughter of financier Amschel Rothschild, who left an £18million inheritance when he committed suicide in 1996 aged 41

Ms Rothschild (pictured here in 2014) is the daughter of financier Amschel Rothschild, who left an £18million inheritance when he committed suicide in 1996 aged 41

Mr Goldsmith’s first wedding to Sheherazade Bentley on June 5, 1999, was a lavish ceremony for 350 people at the Ritz Hotel in London (pictured on the day). Their split was prompted by an affair between him and Ms Rothschild who, at the time, was also his sister-in-law

Mr Goldsmith’s first wedding to Sheherazade Bentley on June 5, 1999, was a lavish ceremony for 350 people at the Ritz Hotel in London (pictured on the day). Their split was prompted by an affair between him and Ms Rothschild who, at the time, was also his sister-in-law

Lord Goldsmith, who has an estimated fortune of £300million, married Ms Rothschild, 39, in 2013

Lord Goldsmith, who has an estimated fortune of £300million, married Ms Rothschild, 39, in 2013

Friends of the couple insist no one else is involved in the split. 

Lord Goldsmith, 48, who has an estimated fortune of £300million, married Ms Rothschild, 39, in 2013.

They have a nine-year-old daughter Dolly, born in the year they wed, son Max, seven, and youngest daughter Edie, five.

The couple married in a tiny thatched cottage within the London Wetland Centre, a nature reserve in south-west London, which cost just £500 to hire for the evening.

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Fitting 42 guests in at their 30-minute ceremony, Mr and Mrs Goldsmith were driven from the bird sanctuary to a grander reception for 170 at Petersham Nurseries in nearby Richmond.

The simple event was a far cry from Mr Goldsmith’s first wedding to Sheherazade Bentley in 1999, with their lavish ceremony for 350 people taking place at the Ritz Hotel in London. The couple had three children.

However, ten years later in 2009, they separated and divorced. The announcement came four months after Lord Goldsmith, an aspiring MP at the time, was reportedly told by senior Tories to ‘resolve any conflict in his love life’. 

His relationship with Ms Rothschild, however, started in 2006. Gossip soon emerged about him visiting her in the afternoons. Initially the meetings were explained away as her helping him organise a poker tournament.

 

Their split was prompted by an affair between him and Ms Rothschild who, at the time, was also his sister-in-law.

Four days after becoming a Tory MP in 2010, Zac Goldsmith publicly confessed to adultery.

His admission helped smooth the divorce from his first wife Sheherazade, which took place at the High Court in only 30 seconds. He lost an estimated £20million in the settlement.

The announcement of his divorce from Sheherazade came four months after Lord Goldsmith, who was an aspiring MP at the time, was reported to have been advised by senior Tories that he should ‘resolve any conflict in his love life’. 

Zac became an MP at the 2010 general election, capturing Richmond Park from the Liberal Democrats. He increased his majority at the 2015 election.

In 2016, he was selected as the Tory candidate in the London mayoral election, but he lost to Sadiq Khan after a highly acrimonious contest.

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The same year, he lost a by-election in Richmond Park that he had initiated by resigning his seat. He stood as an independent, but lost to the Lib Dems, who overturned his majority of 23,000.

He regained the constituency as a Conservative candidate at the 2017 general election with majority of just 45 votes and was appointed as a minister by his friend, Boris Johnson.

Although he lost Richmond Park at the 2019 general election, it was announced shortly after that he would continue to serve as a minister by being awarded a life peerage and sitting as a member of the House of Lords.

In 2009 he announced that he and his first wife Sheherazade Bentley (pictured together in 2007), the 49-year-old daughter of actress Viviane Ventura and financier John Bentley, had separated and would divorce after ten years together

In 2009 he announced that he and his first wife Sheherazade Bentley (pictured together in 2007), the 49-year-old daughter of actress Viviane Ventura and financier John Bentley, had separated and would divorce after ten years together

His relationship with Alice, the daughter of financier Amschel Rothschild, started in 2006. Gossip soon emerged about him visiting her in the afternoons while married to Sheherazade (pictured while she was pregnant in 2001)

His relationship with Alice, the daughter of financier Amschel Rothschild, started in 2006. Gossip soon emerged about him visiting her in the afternoons while married to Sheherazade (pictured while she was pregnant in 2001)

Zac and Alice share three children together; nine-year-old daughter Dolly, born in 2013, the year they wed, son Max, seven, and youngest daughter Edie, five

Zac and Alice share three children together; nine-year-old daughter Dolly, born in 2013, the year they wed, son Max, seven, and youngest daughter Edie, five

Zac became an MP at the 2010 general election, capturing Richmond Park from the Liberal Democrats. He increased his majority at the 2015 election. In 2016, he was selected as the Tory candidate in the London mayoral election, but he lost to Sadiq Khan after a highly acrimonious contest (pictured with now-estranged wife Alice Rothschild in 2016)

Zac became an MP at the 2010 general election, capturing Richmond Park from the Liberal Democrats. He increased his majority at the 2015 election. In 2016, he was selected as the Tory candidate in the London mayoral election, but he lost to Sadiq Khan after a highly acrimonious contest (pictured with now-estranged wife Alice Rothschild in 2016)

Lord Goldsmith, 48, estimated to be worth £300million, married Ms Rothschild, 39, in 2013.

He had announced four years earlier that he and Sheherazade, 49, daughter of actress Viviane Ventura and financier John Bentley, had separated and would divorce. They have three children.

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The announcement came four months after Lord Goldsmith, an aspiring MP at the time, was reportedly told by senior Tories to ‘resolve any conflict in his love life’. His relationship with Alice, the daughter of financier Amschel Rothschild, started in 2006. Gossip soon emerged about him visiting her in the afternoons. Initially the meetings were explained away as her helping him organise a poker tournament.

Friends insisted he ‘agonised’ over leaving his wife.

His father’s love life was unconstrained by hesitation – or convention. Aged 20, Jimmy Goldsmith eloped with 18-year-old Maria Isabel Patino, heiress to a Bolivian tin mining fortune, in January 1954.

But the marriage was cruelly brief. Struck down by a cerebral haemorrhage in her seventh month of pregnancy, she died that May. The couple’s child – also named Isabel – survived.

His second wife was Ginette Lery, who worked for him as a secretary, but it was not an exclusive relationship.

By the time Ginette gave birth to a son, Manes, in 1959, Goldsmith was having an affair with Sally Crichton-Stuart, later to marry the Aga Khan.

The pattern continued after Goldsmith and Ginette married in 1963, and had a daughter, Alix.

By then he had switched much of his attention to Lady Annabel Birley, daughter of the Marquess of Londonderry – and wife of Mark Birley, founder of the Mayfair nightclub Annabel’s.

More than a decade later Goldsmith divorced Ginette and married Lady Annabel – by then also divorced – in 1978. With her, he had daughter Jemima and two sons, Zac and Ben.

Zac’s brother Ben, 42, was married to but estranged from Alice’s sister Kate, 40, at the time of their wedding. 

They split in 2012 after Kate allegedly had an affair with American rapper Jay Electronica.

 

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