A divorce lawyer to the rich and famous has revealed how her tangled love life, including having four children with three men, has inspired her to be ‘fierce, subtle and clever’ for her millionaire clients.
Ayesha Vardag has told how she loved and lost her first husband after having an affair, had a baby during a romance with a much younger man – the office clerk – and has now finally found happiness with her latest husband, becoming a mum again at 50.
Speaking for the first time in a searingly-honest interview, the mother-of-four cradles seven-week-old son Orfeo with her astrophysicist entrepreneur husband Stephen Bence, 46, as she says: ‘I’ve had lots of relationships and I’ve been a single mother so there’s nothing that my clients tell me that I haven’t been through myself.
‘I bond with them over that during meetings, but now I’ve come full circle and I’m the happiest that I’ve ever been in my personal life.’
Top divorce lawyer Ayesha Vardag has revealed how her tangled love life, including having four children with three men, has inspired her to be ‘fierce, subtle and clever’ for her clients
Ayesha told MailOnline how she uses her life story to help her clients: ‘I have to be fierce, subtle and the cleverest person in the room’
Ayesha has told how she lost her first husband after having an affair, had a baby during a romance with a much younger man – the office clerk – and has now finally found happiness with her latest husband Stephen Bence (pictured) by becoming a mum again at 50 with baby Orfeo
Ayesha, who lives in a £1m home in Hants with her second husband Stephen Bence (pictured), had her eldest sons two eldest sons Jasper, 23, and Felix, 21, (pictured) with her first husband and daughter Helena, 14, (pictured) from a romance with the office clerk ten years her junior
Ayesha told MailOnline how she uses her life story to help her clients: ‘I have to be fierce, subtle and the cleverest person in the room.
‘l have to use the best tactics to win cases, not just to get the best deal for my clients, but also so that their families aren’t completely destroyed in the process and they can be still be a family in the future.
Speaking from her stylish £1 million farmhouse, near Petersfield, Hants, one of her four homes with others in London, Italy and Dubai, Ayesha is impeccably turned out thanks to her army of staff, a nanny, two housekeepers, a personal assistant and her mother who helps out.
She describes how her turbulent personal life began in 1999 when she split up from her first husband Xavier Hunter with whom she had her two eldest sons Jasper, 23, and Felix, 21.
‘I’d always thought that my first marriage break-up was my lowest point.
‘I’d always thought he was the love of my life. He was my handsome and funny boss who was three years older than me when I was starting out and he became the father of my two sons.
‘Over time though things weren’t right between us. I met someone else and I told him that I wanted out. Then he met someone else and suddenly I was devastated about losing him.’
Ayesha, pictured with her seven-week-old son told MailOnline how she uses her life story to get the best deal for clients: ‘I have to be fierce, subtle and the cleverest person in the room.’
She describes how her turbulent personal life began in 1999 when she split up from her first husband Xavier Hunter who was her ‘handsome and funny’ boss with whom she had two sons
After her first marriage broke down Ayesha embarked on a romance with a much younger man – the office clerk – Miles Walters, with whom she suffered the heartache of a stillbirth before having her daughter Helena (pictured with her brothers)
Now she has finally found lasting happiness with her second husband Stephen Bence, whom she married at Winchester Cathedral in 2014 and with whom she shares five stepchildren
She recalls with irony how her divorce ended up launching her own legal career when her lawyer Roger Tooth was so impressed with her preparation for the case that he hired her as his assistant.
Fifteen years ago she set up her own firm and now oversees 500 divorces a year, representing some of the country’s wealthiest people.
‘My relationship with my ex-husband has ebbed and flowed over the years. We had fun together recently at our son’s graduation when we hadn’t been friendly for a long time.
‘We were able to laugh and remember why we got together in the first place. But it certainly hasn’t always been like that.
‘When we split up, our five-year marriage had broken down. I had become so extremely unhappy. I went off with an old flame who said he’d always loved me and wanted to look after me and my children.
‘It was so attractive to me to be loved that I told my husband that I was having this relationship, and didn’t know what I wanted to do.
‘After a while I decided to leave him but then he found somebody else, which made me very upset. It all suddenly felt very final and the new relationship I’d embarked on had started to crumble by then.
‘But the marriage had fallen apart because we were just incompatible. He was an amazing man in many ways, and I really had thought that he was the love of my life, but he was just not the man for me. I was madly in love with him and I was really heartbroken when I left.
‘Now I have these conversations with my clients who’ve reached rock bottom and are despairing as I was. Now I say to them, ‘look, I know, I’ve been there’.
Ayesha puts her dysfunctional relationships with men in her early in her life down her complex relationship with her charming but absent father that shaped the course of her life.
Ayesha puts her dysfunctional relationships with men in her early in her life down her complex relationship with her charming but absent father that shaped the course of her life
She says her latest husband Stephen (pictured together on holiday) ‘loves me for who I am’ and says it’s different this time with him and their new baby Orfeo has cemented their relationship
Her children Felix, Helena and Jasper have been getting to know their new baby brother Orfeo
Growing up in Oxford with her single mother, her father had a secret family in Pakistan and she was left thinking she was ‘not good enough to deserve his love’.
After her first marriage Ayesha embarked on a romance with a much younger man -Miles Walters, the office clerk -, who was ten years her junior and with whom she suffered the heartache of a stillbirth before splitting with him, getting back together and having her daughter Helena, 14.
She went on: ‘It seemed very different when I met Miles. He was the outdoor clerk in the office where I was working as a solicitor.
Lawyer Xavier Hunter was Ayesha’s first husband before she had an affair, ending the marriage – but was upset when he moved on
‘But it ended up fundamentally following the same path. My very lowest point was when I lost a baby just before Helena. A stillbirth. He’d died and then we had to deliver him. I became terribly depressed and it was very tough.
‘Then Miles left. So then I was on my own dealing with that. I remember thinking, ‘my divorce was nothing compared to this’.
‘I sent the kids on holiday with their dad and I went backpacking around Asia for five weeks. I sorted myself out. I came back and there was Miles waiting for me. We got back together and had Helena, which healed that breach.’
Now finally she says she has started a new, happy chapter in her life with her ‘sweet, shy’ husband Stephen Bence, who she married at Winchester Cathedral in 2014 and who ‘loves me for who I really am’.
She says it’s different this time with him and their new baby has cemented their relationship.
‘I’d always gone for dashing, charming people but they hadn’t given me the emotional sustenance that I needed so these relationships would always burn out.
‘But Stephen was sweet, shy, intellectually fascinating and he loves me for who I really am, even when I’m grumpy. He doesn’t want me to be smaller in any way and he isn’t intimidated by me.
‘We’ve had a tempestuous relationship until the last year really, because we’ve both got tempers and we’re both leaders.
Ayesha, a lawyer to the rich and famous who oversees 500 divorces a year says her new baby son is a ‘gift’ that has brought her closer to her second husband, Stephen
‘I’ve had a much less successful relationship history than him so in the past I’d usually just get out when it got tough. But he’s got a much more steadfast approach where he works through any stormy waters so that’s what we do.
‘We’ve now got so much more on the inside going on between us and we’ve just started really understanding each other so much better.
‘My pregnancy and having Orfeo, who’s so very sweet, has been such a gift that he’s also brought us so much closer together as a couple. Motherhood fourth time around and 14 years on is infinitely more relaxed. ‘
She added: ‘Having grown up as an only child, I’d had quite a solitary existence.
‘I’d never experienced such companionship and I dreamed of having a big, bustling, noisy, loving family one day with at least six children. Counting my stepchildren, I’ve achieved that now that Orfeo is here.
‘Babies are such a joy and make me so immensely happy that I’d have a dozen if I could!’