Forget His Lies. I'll Tell You the Truth about My Down and out Husband; High Hopes: Ed and Judy on Their Wedding Day Survival: Judy Says She Got out Just in Time Deceptive: Ed Poses in His 'Home' a Bench A Wonderful Husband': Ed Mitchell and His Family Doting Dad: With Alex and Baby Freddie
Byline: EILEEN FAIRWEATHER, RICHARD PENDLEBURY, JAMES MILLS
JUDY MITCHELL believes that she will always love her former husband. Shejust couldn't bear to live with his deceit.
And so this past week has been one of renewed anger and despair for her as EdMitchell, formerly a 'wonderful husband and father', spun a story to the worldabout his extraordinary fall from grace.
He'd once been one of Britain's top television journalists, interviewing worldleaders for the BBC and ITN. Now he is sleeping rough on Hove seafront.
According to Mitchell, the easy credit offered by finance companies wassquarely to blame for his recent [pounds sterling]250,000 bankruptcy, divorce and nine monthson the streets. But by last night his initial account had almost completelyunravelled.
Mitchell, an Army officer's son, was revealed, by those closest to him, as aman in total denial; an alcoholic and gambler whose twin addictions destroyedhis career, marriage and family.
His 82-year-old mother Joyce insisted she had thrown him out of her own homeonly three months ago because of his drinking and unwillingness to get a job.'I've never been so unhappy,' she said.
A neighbour who had offered to help Mrs Mitchell move her 54-year-old son'sbelongings from her garage reportedly counted some 20 J absolute hoot.' SavileRow suits. Now Mitchell's former wife Judy, 53, has also spoken out 'in thedesperate hope that something will get through and he stops drinking before thebooze kills him and he leaves our children fatherless'.
Judy first met Mitchell in Hong Kong in 1975.
'He was absolutely gorgeous,' she recalls.
They married in 1981 and life for her seemed too good to be true.
'I was madly in love with him. He had this mop of beautiful, blond curls. Wehad a similar sense of humour and always knew what the other was thinking, andhe had this beautiful voice, like honey.' What she didn't know was that her newhusband was already drinking very heavily.
'Ed was arrested in Hong Kong for streaking when he was obviously drunk. Apicture appeared in the Press of him in all his glory.
'To my mortification that photo then turned up at our weddingthe best man thought it was an absolute hoot.' Embarrassing, but notsignificant, she thought.
'In the early days, when Ed was with the BBC then ITN, he didn't come homeparalytic; he did his drinking with colleagues and I was never witness to it.
'At first, he seemed a fantastic husband. We always had family meals and hereally appreciated the home I made for us and my cooking.
'We had a wonderful physical relationship, too. That side only really fadedwhen he started coming home looking like a tramp.' A daughter, Alexandra, wasborn in 1982, their son Freddie a few years later.
'We had a golden time taking the babies out on the South Downs for picnics andexploring the beaches,' she says. 'He was very good, getting up in the night,rocking the baby back to sleep and changing nappies.
'He was obviously drinking more than I realised at the time, but he didn'tslur, and he was strong so he could disguise it.' The reality became clearafter he was offered what sounded like a 'fantastic' job in Zurich for a newsatellite business channel.
'It was really exciting and lots of big names were lured out there,' she says.
'But with hindsight, Zurich was when the drinking really started to take off.
He's since admitted that he began drinking at 8am after his night shifts hadended.' The job did not last because the channel went under. The couplereturned from Zurich in 1990. Mitchell was without a job but 'limped along,doing freelance stuff'.
SOMETHING else had changed, too. At social events Mitchell could no longer hidethe effects of his excessive drinking. 'At dinner parties he'd slump over thetable, completely paralytic. He was an embarrassment who couldn't eatanything,' Judy recalls. …