Jeremy Clarkson’s wild life – womanising, Piers bust-up and affair heartbreak

Jeremy Clarkson is arguably one of the most recognisable faces in the UK celeb scene.

Known for his strong opinions and sometimes controversial actions, it’s safe to say the 60-year-old TV star has lived quite a colourful life up until now.

Having started working for the BBC at the tender age of 12, Jeremy went on to become one of the biggest stars in British Television, and became a household name after bagging a lead presenting role in motor show, Top Gear.

Although he’s basked in success in terms of his career, life hasn’t always been easy for Jeremy.

The TV star was kicked out of private school in his teens, and later gained a reputation as a ladies' man and a womanizer as girls couldn’t help but fawn over his 6ft 5’ demeanor and cheeky personality.

Jeremy has also been the main focus of several controversies over the years, most notably, his ongoing feud with former friend Piers Morgan, who he famously punched in the face during a heated row.

Here, we take a look at the private and professional life of Jeremy Clarkson, and detail how his rise to fame and fortune hasn’t always been an easy ride.

Boarding school, bold behaviour, and bullying

Jeremy was born to parents Edward Grenville Clarkson and Shirley Gabrielle in April 1960, in the market town of Doncaster, South Yorkshire, England.

While the couple were by no means wealthy, from the moment their son was born, they made a vow that they would someone come up with enough money to send him to private school.

“They really didn’t want me going to the local state school in South Yorkshire, which was rough,” Clarkson once told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs programme.

Despite his parents’ hard work and willingness to pay for his boarding school education, Jeremy was soon kicked out of school for misbehavior.

As it was his first time living away from home, the mischievous teen realised that he could act up, and essentially play the ‘class clown’ as much as he liked while away from his parents.

Living away from home meant "suddenly I found out that I could misbehave without the embarrassment of a parent finding out. A teacher finding out – who cares really? Who cares that your English teacher knows you've had a fag?"

"When you're young, you never guess which people are likely to make themselves into world-renowned figures," fellow ex-pupil Jerry Austen told the Sunday Times.

Although Jeremy was incredibly academic, passing nine O-levels, his behaviour was poor throughout his school years.

The future TV star spent his time smoking, drinking and, although his boarding school was a same-sex establishment, the cheeky teen is said to have "womanised his way out of Repton," the BBC reported.

Although he was known as a bit of a mischievous teen, Jeremy has previously stated that he was deeply unhappy at Repton School.

The TV star admitted that he had been a ‘suicidal wreck’ while there, and experienced extreme bullying from other pupils who threw him into a cold plunge pool and gave him regular nighttime beatings.

Just ten weeks before sitting his A-levels, Jeremy was asked to leave school for good.

The rocky road to Top Gear

After being kicked out of school, Jeremy found himself at a loss what to do with his life.

That was until one day while walking down the streets of his local town, he bumped into a family acquaintance who suggested that Jeremy should become a journalist.

He didn’t know it at the time, but this chance encounter would change the course of his life forever, and just a few days later, Jeremy was offered a job as a reporter in Rotherham Advertiser.

In his own words, Jeremy described himself as “properly rubbish” at local reporting, but it was this role that led him to front such shows as Top Gear and Who Wants To Be A Millionaire as he dipped his toe into the world of the media.

After he found himself having a conversation with his girlfriend about the furniture in the newspaper office one night, Jeremy handed in his resignation the next day.

“I knew at that moment that I had to leave,” he previously told Desert Island Discs.

“Because when new office furniture becomes so important that you even mention it, pack your bags, get out, move 200 miles away.”

After a successful screen test, Jeremy joined the Top Gear team in 1988, alongside Tiff Needell, Tom Boswell, and Tony Mason.

Following the mass success of the motor show thanks to Jeremy’s unapologetic opinions, he caught the attention of BBC executives, who knew they needed him to spice up their ratings at the time.

The BBC struck a deal and in 1998 a new talk show called Clarkson was launched.

But Jeremy was to find his way back to his roots, and in 2002, he returned to Top Gear alongside new hosts, Richard Hammond and James May.

Unlucky in love

The Who Wants to Be a Millionaire presenter has been married twice previously.

Jeremy married his first wife Alexandra James in 1989.

The couple enjoyed six months of bliss but their love story was short-lived as they split the following year in 1990 after Alexandra found love with one of Jeremy’s best friends.

Asked in an interview about the worst way he’d been dumped a number of years ago, Jeremy savagely threw his ex-wife under the bus on live TV when he replied: “The worst way anyone can dump you is by going off with your best friend.”

After his first marriage ended in failure and heartbreak, Jeremy went on to find love with his second wife Frances Cain.

The lovebirds stayed married for more than two decades before they divorced in 2014.

During their marriage, the couple welcomed three children together including, daughters Emily and Katya as well as son Finlo.

Jeremy is yet to marry for the third time but is currently happily dating his girlfriend, Lisa Hogan.

The pair have been together for more than three years, having gone public with their relationship at the GQ Men of the Year Awards in 2017.

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Jeremy has been living with Lisa and her 18-year-old daughter, Ali.

Controversial Clarkson and Piers Morgan bust-up

Much like his former pal Piers Morgan, when one thinks of Jeremy Clarkson, they see an incredibly opinionated man – one who has no qualms about sharing his disdain or dislike of something or someone.

Perhaps that’s why the two TV stars haven’t seen eye to eye in the past, and perhaps why they have both made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Back in 2004, Jeremy made his feelings about Piers crystal clear at the 2004 British Press Awards when he scrambled over the Daily Mirror Editor’s table and swung at him.

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Opening up about the attack, Piers later said that Jeremy left him ‘scarred for life’.

He told Play to the Whistle: “It was actually three punches he threw me. He permanently scarred me above my temple because he had a ring on, but the good news was he broke his little finger hitting my head because I’m that hard.

“I took his best three punches and then I said to him, ‘My three-year-old hits me harder than that’, which I thought was a good line,” he said.

“The reason I didn’t hit him was because I was at the British Press Awards and I thought I’d be fired. But I was fired three weeks later anyway so I kind of should have hit him.”

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