It's Human Nature for Us Wives to Seek Revenge

Article excerpt

Byline: by Ingrid Tarrant

THREE cheers for Vicky Pryce who, nearly a year after her cheating husband walked out on their marriage, is finally baring her teeth.

That said, the fact that she took so long to speak out suggests to me she's not a vengeful woman, but that she reached a point where enough was enough.

They say revenge is a dish best served cold, but Vicky has certainly taken her time selecting the right moment to strike back at Chris Huhne after he walked out on their marriage so brutally in June last year.

Now that she has finally acted - with the allegation that her husband may have broken the law by asking her to take penalty points for his speeding offence - some will question whether she is just a bitter woman taking revenge for her husband's infidelity. I doubt it.

Five years ago I was accused of the same thing after I was betrayed in similar fashion by another Chris - my former husband, television presenter Chris Tarrant.

Like Vicky, I hit my cheating husband where it hurt - by damaging his public image.

As with Chris Huhne, when my husband's affair was exposed his first thoughts were not for his family but for his own career.

Both men moved quickly to protect their professional reputation. huhne tried to do so by claiming that even before he embarked on his affair with his bisexual aide Carina Trimingham, his 26-year marriage was all but over.

My husband was similarly callous. In the hope of preserving his public image, he claimed - incorrectly - that I had driven him into the arms of his mistress by refusing to have sex with him for seven years.

At the time, my reaction was a kneejerk one. It's so utterly devastating to be cheated on that it is impossible to predict how you will react. When I found out Chris was having an affair it was such a terrible shock. At that point, your heart rules your head.

My response came out very clumsily when I told a reporter who knocked on my door that Chris had suffered erectile dysfunction and often came to bed smelling of fish thanks to his fondness for angling.

The words were spoken in sheer, uncontrolled anger - and in hindsight I feel it was undignified behaviour. I don't even think of it as revenge. It's not as calculating as that: it's human nature to come out fighting when you're at your most vulnerable. You merely fight fire with fire. You're simply redressing the balance and standing up for yourself. I suppose I was also firing a warning shot across his bows, telling him: 'There's more where this came from', to stop him in case he was thinking of saying anything else disparaging about our marriage.

The point is that betrayed wives seeking revenge are in a uniquely advantageous position.

AFTER a couple of decades of marriage, they have built up a treasure trove of embarrassing revelations.

They hold the master key to the skeletons in the closet.

Vicky Pryce has been rather more considered in her response than I was, but I don't doubt she is as angry and hurt. And she has every right to be.

Looking at it in the cold light of day, Huhne has taken away her entire future. She must have believed that they would grow old together as a family, surrounded by their three children and her two daughters from her previous marriage. …