Former Dragons’ Den star Duncan Bannatyne has admitted that he regrets sending a text which suggested that he would leak naked photographs of his ex, but that he didn’t mean it.
The multi-millionaire businessman, 66, has publicly fallen out with former girlfriend Michelle Evans, a beauty queen who dumped him on Twitter with the famous Dragons’ Den phrase: “I’m out!”
When Michelle, 37, alleged that the tycoon implied he would leak naked photographs of her, he tweeted: “I hear there is a bunny boiler on the loose in UK?”
Duncan Bannatyne and Nigora Whitehorn on This Morning (Rex)
Now he has appeared on This Morning with his new, young girlfriend Nigora Whitehorn, who he has been dating for around three weeks – and hinted that the loved-up couple could marry.
Michelle said that she ended her seven-month relationship with Duncan after coming across photographs of the tycoon with Uzbekistan-born dental worker Nigora.
But Duncan denied cheating on Michelle, saying: “One of the papers printed a picture of Nigora and I having dinner together. We weren’t in a relationship. We were just friends and Michelle just went mad and that was it.”
Duncan Bannatyne and his former Dragon’s Den co-star Deborah Meaden (Dominic Lipinski/PA)
And he said of the text referring to Michelle’s naked pictures: “Obviously that was a mistake, but she was threatening to tell the story and I (said) ‘Well, are you happy for me to send a picture to show the pictures?
“It (the text) doesn’t say I’m going to send the pictures. I never intended to send the pictures… I wouldn’t do that.”
He said of meeting Nigora: “I was getting my teeth done… I’d had my last treatment. I’d left and spoken to her and thought she’s so beautiful I was falling in love with her without even knowing her.
“I spent two weeks at home thinking I must see this woman again… I went to the doctor’s. The doctor sent me to get an X-ray. I’m walking back… and I see her on that side of the street.”
The couple said that they were ‘madly in love’ and that they could get married despite the fact that Duncan’s children have not yet met Nigora.
She called Duncan ‘the most generous man I’ve ever met in my life’, adding: “I’m very much in love.”
Duncan, who sat with his hand on his girlfriend’s knee, hinted that the couple could marry, telling hosts Phillip Schofield and Amanda Holden: “Get your hat ready.”
When Phillip asked “What was it that first attracted you to multi-millionaire Duncan Bannatyne?”, Nigora replied: “When Duncan arrived in our clinic I knew that he was on Dragons’ Den. I didn’t really know much about you then, but I’ve then read your books and I was quite impressed.”
Duncan compared himself to an excited schoolboy and denied that he was bitter about the acrimonious fall-out from his last relationship, saying: “You don’t feel bitter when you’re madly in love… I’m just an excited schoolboy.”