The wife of a disgraced British doctor pictured kissing Elle MacPherson is ‘shocked’ at the public romance, her family told MailOnline today.
Andrew Wakefield was pictured locking lips with the model and underwear tycoon nicknamed ‘the body’ at a food market in Miami, Florida.
But the snaps have upset the mother of Wakefield’s four children Carmel because they only separated only a few months ago, according to her brother.
Speaking to MailOnline Finbar O’Donovan said: ‘We had no idea that Andrew was seeing Elle Macpherson.
‘My sister and Andrew only split up a few months ago. They are not divorced yet but they plan to.’
Elle and her new beau Wakefield, 61, reportedly met towards the end of last year – a year after she was awarded $53million in cash and a $26million home during her divorce from billionaire Jeffrey Soffer.
Moving on: Elle Macpherson, 54, locked lips with new man Andrew Wakefield while shopping at Glaser’s Farm organic market in Miami on Friday
The photos of Wakefield kissing Elle MacPherson have shocked his wife Carmel Wakefield (pictured with him in London in 2010) who saw them on MailOnline this morning
The Wakefield family – Andrew’s ex-wife, Carmel, and their four children – are pictured in a photograph published in 2010
Wakefield is a former doctor and researcher who spawned the modern anti-vaccination movement with widely discredited research, claiming that the MMR jab causes autism and bowel disease. He is married with four children.
But speaking from his home Dronfield, Derbyshire, Wakefield’s brother-in-law told how his sister, was ‘stunned and surprised’ by the photos.
Mr O’Donovan, 71, said: ‘Carmel called me this morning saying, ‘Have you seen the photos of Andrew and Elle Macpherson kissing on the MailOnline?’ I told her I hadn’t but I took a look.
‘She sounded shocked and said she was very surprised but also seemed amused that her husband had found a new girlfriend, who is a top model.
‘She feels let down because it would seem that they got together soon after she and Andrew split, which was only a few months ago. It is very soon after a marriage breakdown.’
Mr O’Donovan said his sister had stood by her disgraced husband and moved to the US with him.
Changing things up: In May, Elle spoke about how she had to overhaul her diet as she got older in a bid to maintain her youthful looks
Stepping out: The outing comes a year after Elle was reportedly awarded $79million in her divorce from billionaire Jeffrey Soffer
He explained: ‘They had to move to America, his career was in ruins here, and my sister was always one of his biggest supporters professionally.’
He said Carmel and the four children had all become American citizens and would be staying in the States.
Mr O’Donovan said he was no longer in contact with his brother-in-law.
Wakefield was banned from practising medicine in the UK in 2010, but now travels across the US to share his controversial views.
Elle, who is a keen advocate of healthy eating, appeared relaxed in her new man’s company, wearing a light blue shirt over matching trousers.
Wakefield – who was born in Eton, Berkshire – speculated that being injected with a ‘dead’ form of the measles virus via vaccination causes disruption to intestinal tissue.
After his paper was published in 1998, vaccinations plummeted in the UK from over 90 per cent to as low as 61 per cent in parts of London in 2003.
In the country as a whole, the vaccination rate fell from 92 per cent in 1996 to 84 per cent in 2002.
By 2006, the rate for MMR vaccination was still at just 85 per cent.
The recorded number of measles in the country went from 56 in 1998 to 449 in 2006.
The pair were also photographed at the Doctors Who Rock Awards in November 2017
Wakefield (right) and Macphereson (back center) are seen at an event earlier this year
In the US, meanwhile, researchers have estimated that as many as 125,000 children born in the late 1990s were not given the MMR vaccination because of Wakefield’s spurious claims.
His message has also been blamed for spikes in measles rates elsewhere in the world.
In 2014, science journalist Laurie Garrett, who works for the Council on Foreign Relations think tank, said: ‘Our data suggests that where Wakefield’s message has caught on, measles follows.’
In 2004, Wakefield’s theory was found to have been based on false evidence – it was retracted by the journal The Lancet in 2010, and he was banned from practising medicine in the UK three months later.
One of the other authors of the paper, John Walker-Smith, was also struck off.
Wakefield has also found an ally in President Donald Trump.
He met the president along with four other anti-vaccine campaigners in the summer of 2016 as well as attending one of his inauguration balls after Trump defeated Hillary Clinton.
Wakefield moved to Texas after his work on autism and MMR vaccinations was discredited.
Living her best life: The 54-year-old appeared in good spirits as she filled up her basket with produce, with her new man in tow
She told InStyle: ‘I realised that I couldn’t really rely on genetics anymore’
Chic: Elle, who is a keen advocate of healthy eating, appeared relaxed in her new man’s company, wearing a light blue shirt over matching trousers
It has ultimately proved very lucrative for the disgraced doctor, who now lives in a large house in Austin and works for numerous non-profit groups.
One of those groups spent over 40 per cent of its donations on his salary by paying him more than $300,000 over five years.
In a Mail on Sunday article published last year, a source told the paper that Wakefield had been paid $10,000 for a single appearance in the state – but the former doctor denied the claim.
One said that he gets ‘perhaps $1,000 maximum’ for his talks.
Another source claimed he had given $50,000 to Donald Trump during his presidential campaign.
Trump has tweeted on several occasions about ‘doctor-inflicted autism’, raised the issues during one presidential debate, and spent 45 minutes talking about the issue with Wakefield and other leading vaccination sceptics last summer.
Wakefield also gave Trump a copy of Vaxxed, his film alleging that vaccines cause autism and claiming that the American government is covering up data to prove his case.
Robert De Niro, whose son is autistic, has defended the movie.
He said his son ‘changed overnight’ after being given a vaccine and pleaded with reporters to ‘start talking about this issue honestly’.
Other celebrities have taken a similar position to Wakefield himself.
Presenter Jenny McCarthy, who also a son with autism, told Time magazine: ‘If the vaccine companies are not listening to us, it’s their f****** fault that the diseases are coming back… If you give us a safe vaccine, we’ll use it. It shouldn’t be polio versus autism.’
But she later said: ‘I am not anti-vaccine.’
In 2011, the actor Jim Carrey wrote a blog for Huffington Post in which he said more research was needed on the safety of vaccinations.
All over now: Elle (second from left), pictured with former flame billionaire Jeffrey Soffer on December 3, 2014
He wrote: With many states like Minnesota now reporting the number at 1 in 80 children affected with autism, can we afford to trust those who serve two masters or their logic that tells us ‘one size fits all’ when it comes to vaccines?
‘Can we afford to ignore vaccines as a possible cause of these rising numbers when they are one of the fastest growing elements in our children’s environment?’
There was also enormous controversy in Britain when Cherie Blair – wife of then-prime minister Tony – refused to say whether she had vaccinated her son, Leo.
She later revealed that she had, adding: ‘It’s fair to say I was in two minds. I did get Leo vaccinated, not least because it’s irresponsible not to.’
What happened in MMR scandal?
In 2001, Wakefield (pictured in 2007) resigned from the Royal Free, claiming he was ‘asked to go’ because his ‘research results are unpopular’
On February 28, 1998 disgraced doctor Andrew Wakefield – then a gastroenterologist and researcher at the Royal Free Hospital in London – published a paper in The Lancet with 12 other authors.
They claimed to have discovered a new form of autism called ‘autistic enterocolitis’ after a study based on 12 children with autism.
It suggested the possibility of a link between a new form of bowel disease, autism and the MMR vaccine (for measles, mumps and rubella).
It was later retracted by The Lancet and branded ‘utterly false’.
The parents of eight of the children mentioned in the paper connected the symptoms with MMR, the authors wrote.
They also said the parents reported that the symptoms appeared within two weeks of their children’s MMR vaccinations.
The paper was extremely controversial, but a press conference held by Wakefield before it was even published had an even greater impact.
He called for the suspension of MMR vaccinations, arguing that it was a ‘moral issue’.
‘Urgent further research is needed to determine whether MMR may give rise to this complication in a small number of people,’ he added.
‘If you give three viruses together, three live viruses, then you potentially increase the risk of an adverse event occurring, particularly when one of those viruses influences the immune system in the way that measles does.’
He also took his message to the USA, appearing on 60 Minutes in November 2000.
In 2001, he resigned from the Royal Free, claiming he was ‘asked to go’ because his ‘research results are unpopular’.
In 2001, he resigned from the Royal Free, claiming he was ‘asked to go’ because his ‘research results are unpopular’. Pictured: Wakefield in 2001
But in 2010 the General Medical Council revoked Wakefield’s medical licence after ruling his conduct ‘dishonest and irresponsible’.
At the hearing, he was accused of being paid to conduct his study by lawyers representing parents who thought their children had been affected by MMR vaccinations.
He was also accused of buying blood samples from children at his son’s birthday party, paying them each £5.
The council ruled against Wakefield on both points – as well as several others.
The British Medical Journal said his work was fraudulent and that his data had been manipulated.
In 2004, the paper was attacked by ten of its 13 authors.
They wrote: ‘We wish to make it clear that in this paper no causal link was established between (the) vaccine and autism, as the data were insufficient. However, the possibility of such a link was raised,’ the scientists said in the retraction.
‘Consequent events have had major implications for public health. In view of this, we consider now is the appropriate time that we should together formally retract the interpretation placed on these findings in the paper.’
MailOnline has contacted a spokesperson for Elle for more information.
Previously based in London, Elle moved her entire family to Miami in 2014 to be closer to ex-husband Jeffrey Soffer a year after their wedding.
They lived together until last year, along with her sons Flynn, 19, and Aurelius, 14, from her previous relationship with Arpad Busson.
‘People are surprised that I … moved my whole family from London to Miami for love,’ the former Sports Illustrated cover girl told Porter magazine last June.
One source claimed Wakefield had given $50,000 to Donald Trump during his presidential campaign. Pictured: Andrew (left) with his former wife and family in a picture published in 2012
Elle and property developer Jeffrey began dating in 2009 and were wed at the exclusive Laucala Resort in Fiji in 2013.
In May, Elle spoke about how she had to overhaul her diet as she got older in a bid to maintain her youthful looks.
She told InStyle: ‘I realised that I couldn’t really rely on genetics anymore.’
The statuesque beauty, who has been nicknamed ‘The Body’, added: ‘The things I’d been doing since my twenties weren’t working in my fifties.’
After turning to a wholefood diet rich in fruit and vegetables and an organic alkalizing green powder, Elle found the results to be ‘transforming’.
The powder, which Elle consumes daily, claims to alkalize the body and improve health with ingredients including Chinese herbs and shiitake and maitake mushrooms.