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Jeremy Paxman's secret fling with blonde telly girl.

`TOUGH-GUY TV interviewer Jeremy Paxman cheated on the mother of his three children with a blonde telly director.

The 48-year-old Newsnight presenter shared a passionate affair with Joanna Cecil, 36, for several months.

Their fling was carried out behind the back of Elizabeth Clough, Paxman's loyal partner for 20 years.

But when he was quizzed by the Sunday People, feared interrogator Paxman - who once asked Tory Home Secretary Michael Howard FOURTEEN TIMES for a straight answer on air - couldn't give a proper reply.

He even ended up grabbing our reporter by the shoulders and shouted: "No, no, go away."

But headmaster's daughter Joanna was more forthright. She admitted: "I did have a relationship with Jeremy."

In a cruel twist, 46-year-old Elizabeth was producing the BBC2 series Taking Liberties at the time.

Joanna was single when she fell for Paxman in 1993 but is now happily married to pub landlord David Cecil.

They wed last month after a six-month engagement. Yesterday, David, 55, who runs the 17th-Century Hare and Hounds inn at Lambourn, Berkshire, said of his wife's affair: "It lasted just a few months."

"Paxo" was not on the couple's wedding list of guests but David continued: "There is no animosity between Jeremy and my wife. They are just friends.

"It's nothing. They were never an item as such but it was a relationship of sorts."

Paxman and Elizabeth's daughter Jessica was just two when his affair began.

Though he has never married Elizabeth, the two live together as man and wife in Paxman's luxury home at Henley-On-Thames, Oxfordshire.

He is regarded as a doting dad and, last year, Elizabeth gave birth to twins Jack and Victoria. Joanna also has a child, 23-month-old Sebastian. Though she denies any suggestion that her son was fathered by Paxman, she refuses to name the father.

She said: "It's not the first time I have heard that rumour. I did have a relationship with Jeremy but he is definitely not the father of my child." She refused to say who was.

Like Joanna, Elizabeth's working background is in TV. She was a producer on Panorama, BBC1's flagship current affairs programme, making heavyweight films about the Peter Wright Spycatcher case.

But it's Paxman who has become TV's heavyweight inquisitor. He once rudely asked Norman Lamont, before the then Chancellor had even resigned: "Will you miss being Chancellor?"

Paxman was also scathing and rude about politicians whom he openly loathed.

He said to former Deputy Prime Minister Michael Heseltine: "It's quite an achievement, isn't it, to make a hero of Arthur Scargill?"

Cecil Parkinson was also humiliated during the 1997 election results as Paxman asked him: "You're the chairman of a fertiliser firm. How deep is the mess you're in at present?"

May be he should ask himself that question.




JEREMY PAXMAN is renowned as TV's fiercest interrogator yet, when we quizzed him about cheating on his long-term lover, he did the exact thing he detests: Avoid answering one single question.

Sunday People: Hello, I'm from the Sunday People.

Paxman: Are you?

SP: Yes. I'd just like to ask you...

P: No, no. Go away. (Turns away).

SP: I'd like to ask you about...

P: Go away. (Slams door).

SP: Did you have a relationship with Joanna Cecil? Excuse me Mr Paxman, I don't think you're really answering the question.

(Door opens, Paxman shoots out).

SP: Now I'm sorry Sir, I don't think you understand...

P: Sorry, I don't think you understand either. This is private property. Go away. (Grabs reporter by the shoulders and pushes her back about a yard down the path).

SP: I'd just like to ask you the question, Sir, for an answer.

P: I'm sorry. Off you go. Bye. (Walks back into the house).

SP: Did you have a relationship...

(Door slams).

SP: Mr Paxman, I don't think this is really the way to answer the question. (Silence).

SP: Mr Paxman, hiding in the kitchen isn't really the way to answer. (Long silence).

SP: Mr Paxman, Sir, I'd just like to repeat the question. (Another long silence).

SP: Mr Paxman, Sir?

(Silence as he retreats to the far side of the house)

SP: Mr Paxman, I just want a straight answer to the question. (Silence)

SP: Excuse me, Mr Paxman? (Silence. Laughing in background. doorbell).

SP: Mr Paxman, Sir? (Silence).

SP: Sir, I have to ask you again. Mr Paxman, I'm sorry you're not answering the door. It would be really nice if you could just answer the question.

(Doorbell, silence. Our reporter gives up and retreats down the path).
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Copyright 1998 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Marshall, Sharon
Publication:The People (London, England)
Date:Dec 20, 1998
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