Recycling is all the rage in the fashion world – but the founder of the Superdry empire and his ex-wife may have taken the idea a little too far.
The Mail on Sunday can reveal that clothing tycoon Julian Dunkerton is at the centre of an incredible ‘wife swap’ saga after his former wife started dating his new partner’s ex-boyfriend.
Last summer, Julian, who is worth an estimated £440 million, married Jade Holland Cooper, a designer 21 years his junior, following his divorce from Charlotte Abbot, the mother of his two children.
And now, in a remarkable twist, Charlotte has started dating Jade’s ex-boyfriend Henry Crudge, a gentleman farmer, DJ and sometime boxer who takes to the ring under the name Count Smacula.
Millionaire Superdrug tycoon Julian Dunkerton is in the middle of a ‘wife swap’ love tangle. He was previously married to Charlotte Abbott, 44, (pictured next to him) who is the mother of his two children
The unlikely scenario has become the talk among the well-heeled denizens of the Cotswolds, where they live. ‘Everybody is gobsmacked by the relationship,’ one source said. ‘Jade feels the whole situation is bizarre and can’t help but think Henry and Charlotte have some sort of vendetta against her and Julian. Their romance has really turned relations sour.’
Charlotte, 44, confirmed she and Henry were dating, admitting the swap was unusual but not sinister.
‘We live in a small area of the Cotswolds and there aren’t so many single people around,’ she told The Mail on Sunday. ‘He’s single and I’m single and we got together. For us it’s very straightforward. We’ve had a nice time over the past ten months.
‘We’ve been to lots of lovely places together.’
Now Jade Holland Cooper’s ex-boyfriend Henry Crudge, who is a gentleman farmer, is dating Dunkerton’s ex-wife Charlotte. He is pictured with Jade Holland Cooper, when they were together
Indeed the pair have just come back from a romantic break in Barbados.
‘I’ve never spoken to Jade so I don’t know what she’s thinking,’ Charlotte added. ‘There should be no reason for her to have an issue with me dating her ex-boyfriend because she left him for my ex-husband.’
Charlotte also spoke for the first time about why she left the fashion mogul, saying: ‘He was a powerful man and was on a power trip the whole time. He became married to his business and that’s not what I wanted to be.
‘I’m really happy for Jade and Julian. They’re very well suited. They’ve got a shared interest and I’m happy he’s happy.’
Henry called Charlotte ‘a great woman’, but admitted he had been left heartbroken by the end of his relationship with Jade.
‘The bulge in Julian’s trousers was a lot bigger than mine,’ he said. ‘And I’m talking about his wallet rather than anything else. That’s where Jade and I differed. I don’t need money to make me happy. Money just seems to poison people.’
He met Charlotte in a local pub last May, and admitted they initially got talking over their shared history – but rubbished any notion their relationship was a vendetta. ‘Ten months is a long time to stick your fingers up at someone, isn’t it?,’ he said.
Wedded bliss: Jade Holland Cooper is now married to Julian Dunkerton. She is pictured at the Chiltern Firehouse in London
Henry, 31, is heir to an arable farm in Oxfordshire and starred in the Channel 4 reality show First Time Farmers. He has also DJed at the fashionable Soho Farmhouse.
He met Jade – the daughter of a Sussex farmer and a fashion designer who used to make clothes for Elton John – in 2007 when both were students at the former Royal Agriculture College, Cirencester.
After dropping out to start her tweed fashion line, which now counts Zara Phillips and David Beckham as customers, she became romantically involved with Henry in 2012. But that relationship ended and Jade, a millionaire in her own right, married Julian last August after an 18-month courtship.
Pictures of the lavish wedding in the grounds of their £6.5 million Grade II listed mansion a few miles outside Cheltenham featured in Hello magazine, while entertainment was provided by pop star Craig David and actor Idris Elba, who was their DJ.
‘I’ve never met anyone as inspiring,’ Jade, 32, said of 54-year-old Julian in a recent interview. ‘He’s an amazing human being. We have so many synergies. I couldn’t be with anyone who isn’t as obsessive about business as me.’
A source close to the foursome said Jade’s dedication to her company, which turns over £5.2 million a year, was a factor in her split from Henry. ‘Jade’s ruthless ambition – and I’ve never seen the like in another woman – drove a wedge into her relationship,’ the source said.
‘Jade was always so focused but Henry never was. That’s why she gets on with Julian so well. They are similarly driven. They spent the majority of their honeymoon in the Maldives working.’
Julian co-founded Superdry in 1985 from a market stall in Cheltenham and was chief executive until 2015 – although he is said to be plotting a boardroom comeback. A passionate Remainer, he has donated £1 million to the campaign for a second referendum.
Charlotte, who is wealthy since the divorce, is set to launch her own business, which she described as a ‘five-star hotel for horses’.
Julian and Jade declined to comment last night.