Forget His Lies. Ill Tell You the Truth about My Down and out Husband; Deceptive: Ed Poses in His Home a Lonely Bench on the Seafront A Wonderful Husband: Ed Mitchell and His Family High Hopes: Ed and Judys Wedding Day Doting Dad: With Alex and Baby Freddie Survival: Judy Says She Got out in Time
Byline: EILEEN FAIRWEATHER, RICHARD PENDLEBURY
JUDY MITCHELL believes that she will always love her former husband. Shejust couldnt 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. Hed once been a top televisionjournalist, interviewing world leaders for the BBC and ITN. Now he is sleepingrough on a seafront in picturesque Brighton, on Englands south coast.
According to Mitchell, the easy credit offered by finance companies was toblame for his recent [pounds sterling]250,000 (e375,000) bankruptcy, divorce and nine months onthe streets. But, by last night, his account had almost completely unravelled.
Mitchell, an army officers son, was revealed, by those closest to him, as a manin total denial; an alcoholic and gambler whose twin addictions destroyed hiscareer, 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.Ive never been so unhappy, she said.
A neighbour who had offered to help Mrs Mitchell move her 54-year-old sonsbelongings from her garage reportedly counted some 20 Savile Row suits. NowMitchells former wife Judy, 53, has also spoken out in the desperate hope thatsomething will get through and he stops drinking before the booze kills him andhe leaves our children fatherless.
Judy first met Mitchell in Hong Kong in 1975. He was absolutely gorgeous, sherecalls. 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. We hada similar sense of humour and always knew what the other was thinking, and hehad this beautiful voice, like honey.
What she didnt know was that her new husband was already drinking very heavily.
Ed was arrested in Hong Kong for streaking when he was obviously drunk. Apicture appeared in the papers 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 didnt 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 wonderfulphysical relationship, too. That side only really faded when he started cominghome looking like a tramp.
A daughter, Alexandra, was born in 1982, their son Freddie a few years later.We had a golden time taking the babies out for picnics and exploring localbeaches, she says. He was very good, getting up in the night, rocking the babyback to sleep and changing nappies.
He was obviously drinking more than I realised at the time, but he didnt slur,and he was strong so he could disguise it.
The reality became clear after he was offered what sounded like a fantastic jobin Zurich for a new satellite business channel. It was really exciting and lotsof big names were lured out there, she says. But, with hindsight, Zurich waswhen the drinking really started to take off. Hes since admitted that he begandrinking at 8am after his night shifts had ended.
The job did not last because the channel went under. The couple returned fromZurich in 1990. Mitchell was without a job, but limped along, doing freelancestuff. Something else had changed, too. At social events Mitchell could nolonger hide the effects of his excessive drinking.
At dinner parties hed slump over the table, completely paralytic. He was anembarrassment who couldnt eat anything, Judy recalls. Or Id find him collapsedsomewhere, drunk. That was the beginning of friends dropping away, the end ofthe dinner party invites. …