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Prue Leith, 83, reveals secret 13-year affair with her mum’s friend

GBBO’s Prue Leith has spoken about an affair she had with Rayne Kruger, who went on to become her first husband  (PA)
GBBO’s Prue Leith has spoken about an affair she had with Rayne Kruger, who went on to become her first husband (PA)

Dame Prue Leith has addressed the affair she had with her first husband Rayne Kruger.

The Great British Bake Off judge, 83, and author Kruger were married from 1974 to 2002 before he died at the age of 80.

However their long marriage started out as an affair which the South African restaurateur detailed in her 2012 autobiography, Relish.

Leith was drawn on the subject while speaking to Kate Thornton on her White Wine Question Time podcast and asked why she had decided to disclose the affair.

The TV personality explained she had no desire to be “discreet” about her personal life, saying: “If there are things in your life you’re not exactly proud of, but they would be interesting to the reader, you should try to tackle them.

Rayne Kruger pictured far right in 1956 (Getty Images)
Rayne Kruger pictured far right in 1956 (Getty Images)

”I thought, ‘You know, to skip it when Rayne was the most important person in my life ... how could I not tell his whole story?’ So I did.”

Leith worked with Rayne for years, who at the time was married to the late South African actress Nan Munro, who awkwardly, was Leith’s mother’s best friend.

“I never asked him to leave his wife because I was very happy,” she said of their affair.

“I had none of the duties of life and all of the pleasures of somebody who loved me. I wasn’t pressing for marriage. We did have 13 secret years and nobody ever guessed because we were discreet.

“But it was easier in a way because he was a family friend, chairman of my company, and he’d helped me enormously and everyone knew we were great friends.”

Prue Leith pictured with the two children she shared with Rayne Kruger (Getty Images)
Prue Leith pictured with the two children she shared with Rayne Kruger (Getty Images)

Kruger eventually did leave his wife, who was 17 years his senior and already had three children before they married, and began a life with Leith. They went on to have two children together.

Despite the affair, they remained on good terms with Munro, who even forgave them for the affair.

Prue hailed her as “an extraordinary woman”.

Leith and Kruger first met in 1961 when she had left home in South Africa to study at the Sorbonne in Paris and her mother sent her to England for the summer to stay with her best friend Munro and Kruger.

“They were a fascinating, intelligent, generous and loving family,” she wrote in her book, adding that “Nan, a successful actress, was usually at the theatre. So I saw more of Rayne than any of the others.”

Prue Leith pictured with second husband John Playfair (Getty Images)
Prue Leith pictured with second husband John Playfair (Getty Images)

“Soon there was nothing I would rather do than be with Rayne. I told myself I was not falling in love with him, that he was out of bounds. And anyway, he loved Nan,” she continued.

“Then, one evening when we were in the kitchen, he kissed me. I wish I could say I objected, but I didn’t. Guilt about Nan would creep in later, but what I felt at that moment – apart from a leaping desire – was surprise and delight that he considered me kissable; a woman, not a child.”

Adding: “So began a 13-year affair. I was utterly infatuated.”

Following Kruger’s death, Leith went on to marry again in 2016 to her current husband, retired English fashion designer John Playfair.