'Life with Boris had become impossible': PM's ex Marina Wheeler speaks

‘Life with Boris had become impossible’: PM’s ex-wife Marina Wheeler speaks for first time about their 25-year marriage and her cancer battle – after he tied the knot for third time to Carrie Symonds

  • Marina Wheeler, 56, had been married to the Prime Minister for over 25 years
  • They announced they had split in 2018 but it took over two years for divorce 
  • This is the first time that Ms Wheeler has spoken about her marriage to the PM 

Boris Johnson’s ex wife Marina Wheeler has described the dying days of their marriage as ‘impossible’ – revealing that she had ended the union for the first time.

The 56-year-old author and lawyer said the breakdown of their relationship happened as she was battling cervical cancer.

Ms Wheeler said ‘The divine plan, it seemed, had gone awry’ as she spoke of the 25-year marriage for the first time.

And she disclosed the process of separating from her husband had been ‘grinding’. 

Her comments emerged today just six weeks after the Prime Minister and Carrie tied the knot in a secret Westminster ceremony.

Ms Wheeler said: ‘The divine plan, it seemed, had gone awry.

‘My four children and I already had tough stuff to handle.

‘My 25-year marriage had become impossible, so I ended it, but the whole business was grinding, so why was I being doled out more?

Boris Johnson and wife Marina The Ark Charity Gala in happier times back in June 2009

Twice divorced Boris Johnson and Carrie Symonds on their wedding day following a Catholic ceremony

‘Of course, that’s not how cancer worked. Two years on, I can see I was lucky.’ 

The pair announced in September 2018 they had separated ‘several months ago’ after 25 years of marriage.

But divorce proceedings continued until November 2020 when the union was finally dissolved.

Mr Johnson was married to first wife Allegra Mostyn-Owen for six years before marrying Ms Wheeler. 

They tied the knot in 1993 and have four children together. 

Her comments come less than a week after his latest wedding, which attracted controversy itself over where it took place.

The Prime Minister is notoriously secretive about his private life and jokes are still made over how many children he has fathered. 

The row this week was over how twice-divorcee Mr Johnson had been allowed to remarry in a Catholic church.  


The Prime Minister was married to first wife Allegra Mostyn-Owen for six years and Marina Wheeler for 27 years

Boris Johnson and wife Marina Wheeler at launch of his 2014 book The Churchill Factor 

The Prime Minister was baptised as a Catholic but was confirmed as an Anglican as a teenager when he was at Eton.

But the Diocese of Westminster said, as someone baptised in the faith, it meant his previous failed marriages were not considered valid because they were not Catholic ceremonies.

It prompted a row over how Mr Johnson’s ex wives must feel and what it meant for the children he had with them.  

One priest claimed it had been ‘The using of Canon Law to the benefit of the privileged & at the cost of the Church’s integrity’.

The baptism meant the Prime Minister could marry for the ‘first’ time in a Roman Catholic church.

Despite explanations about how their wedding could have been held in accordance with Vatican doctrine, the subject was being keenly discussed yesterday by Westminster Cathedral worshippers.

Some wondered whether Mr Johnson had needed to convert before the nuptials took place, while one even brought up Henry VIII’s troubled love-life as a potential precursor.

This week a Diocese of Westminster spokesman confirmed: ‘With regard to divorced persons, a baptised Catholic who has contracted a marriage recognised in civil law but without observing the requirements of Catholic Canon Law is not recognised as validly married in the eyes of the Catholic Church.’

Austen Ivereigh, a Roman Catholic author, commentator and biographer of Pope Francis, said on Twitter: ‘Many will ask how it is that the Catholic Church, famous for its vigorous commitment to the permanence of marriage, should be witnessing the marriage of a twice-divorced PM who is publicly notorious for the opposite? What kind of message does that send?

‘But Catholics have a right to the sacraments and if they fulfil the requirements in law, and properly enter into them, no one can stop them exercising those rights.’ 

A Westminster Cathedral spokesman added: ‘The bride and groom are both parishioners of the Westminster Cathedral parish and baptised Catholics.

‘All necessary steps were taken, in both Church and civil law, and all formalities completed before the wedding. We wish them every happiness.’

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