Nigel Farage’s failed marriages and relationship with waitress

Nigel Farage shocked viewers when he landed in the Australian jungle last year for I’m A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here!.

But the person who met him at the end of his three-week stint raised even more eyebrows – as it wasn’t his wife.

Instead, the Reform UK leader, who is standing for the eighth time in July 4’s general election – despite having failed to secure a parliamentary seat since his first bid – was greeted enthusiastically by girlfriend Laure Ferrari, who once upon a time worked as a waitress when he was an MEP.

Nigel, who was attacked for the second time today when a coffee cup as thrown at his campaign bus, has been married twice. His first wife Gráinne Hayes was his nurse when he was hit by a Volkswagen Beetle after a night in the pub in 1985 – the first of his many brushes with death.

Married his nurse

Irish nurse Gráinne tended to him after he hit his head on the curb and was in hospital for two months. While doctors warned he might lose his leg, Farage was able to be discharged but kept his leg in a cast for the next 12 months. Happily, he and Gráinne got together and married in 1988, welcoming two sons together – Samuel, in 1989, and Thomas, who followed in 1991. But the couple didn’t last the distance, breaking up and divorcing in 1997.

Nigel's second wife Kirsten, who he employed as his parliamentary secretary - paid for by the taxpayer

Nigel’s second wife Kirsten, who he employed as his parliamentary secretary – paid for by the taxpayer

By then, Farage had set his political sights on Europe, and it wasn’t long before he had his romantic sights set on his own German-born secretary, Kirsten Mehr, who at that point was on a £27,000 salary footed by the taxpayer.

Affair rumours denied

He and Kirsten tied the knot in 1999 and welcomed daughters Victoria in 2000 and Isabelle in 2005. In 2014 she told the Telegraph she didn’t believe claims by another MEP in the European Parliament that her husband had had an affair with a former party worker, saying: “I have heard it before and it always comes from the same sort of people who wouldn’t – even if it would be true, which it isn’t – she wouldn’t possibly know because she has never been part of that inner circle or worked for Nigel.”

Kirsten also opened up about his role in the family home, admitting: “There is not much time for a family life – but we watch him on the telly when we want to see him.”

And she defended her taxpayer-funded role as his parliamentary secretary by saying he was virtually computer illiterate. But just years later his second marriage appeared to hit the rocks when it emerged he was sharing his London home with another woman. In February 2017, Kirsten told media the pair had been living “separate lives” for many years.

Kirsten Farage said in 2017 that the two had lived apart for a while

Kirsten Farage said in 2017 that the two had lived apart for a while

“My husband and I have lived separate lives for some years and he moved out of the family home a while ago,” she revealed. “This is a situation that suits everyone and is not news to any of the people involved.”

The next day, Farage told listeners on his LBC show: “Some of you will have seen press coverage over the last few days – and no doubt there’ll be more of it – about a few personal difficulties that I’ve had with my marriage and my family and my relationships.

“And I would just say this – all of us in our lives go through ups and downs and I regret the down that I’m in at the moment.”

French waitress

The right-wing rentagob was uncharacteristically coy when it came to explaining his relationship with French waitress-turned-politician Laure Ferrari, then the head of the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe.

He claimed to the Mail on Sunday at the time that Ms Ferrari was someone he had “known well for a long time” and he was helping her out because she needed somewhere to stay for a week.

She told the same newspaper: “I have no trustworthy friends in London who could have hosted me. I asked and he accepted. He is just trying to be helpful.”

Laure Ferrari on the beach in Surfers Paradise in 2023 while Nigel was in the jungle

Laure Ferrari on the beach in Surfers Paradise in 2023 while Nigel was in the jungle
Daily Mirror, Daily Express, Daily Star)

It later emerged Ms Ferrari had first met Farage in 2007 when she served his UKIP colleague Godfrey Bloom’s table, and the pair quickly hit it off. Farage gave her a job as a parliamentary assistant in charge of environmental issues, which helped launch her career on the far right of French nationalist politics.

She was with him for Donald Trump’s inauguration in 2017 and Mr Bloom told the Times in 2023: “I knew that there was a romantic attachment, I would say probably in 2011 or something of that nature.”

One former UKIP insider told the newspaper that at the time of Farage’s 2010 near-fatal plane crash, aides had to work to prevent Ms Ferrari, Mrs Farage and another woman from seeing each other during visits to his hospital bed.

Laure was there to greet Farage at the end of his I'm A Celeb stint

Laure was there to greet Farage at the end of his I’m A Celeb stint
James Gourley/ITV/REX/Shutterstock)

While she no longer operates in the political sphere, Ms Ferrari is still Farage’s cheerleader and sounding board. They live together in a Kent village and own two labradors, Pebble and Baxter, and she oversees the day-to-day running of her partner’s Cornish gin business.

In an interview on GB News last year, while Farage was still eating various animal anuses in the jungle, Ms Ferrari admitted her partner still had a hankering for front-line politics.

“Why would you do that if you didn’t have an ulterior motive in mind?” she pointed out. “I think potentially, possibly – I can’t speak for him – but he might be considering going back to politics at some stage.”

And the rest could well be history, if July 4’s general election has anything to do with it.

*Watch the Election Debate tonight at 7.30pm on BBC One.