Monty Don admits he has no regrets after taking his friend’s wife

Gardners’ World star Monty Don has said he has no regrets about taking his friend’s wife.

The 68-year-old, who fell for his 69-year-old wife Sarah while she was married to a wealthy botanist.

At the time, Don socialised with the married couple and even went riding with him but things took a romantic turn when her then-husband went away for work.

The relationship became so intense that she decided to end things with her husband.

Monty and Sarah Don

Getty Images

Speaking about how he became romantically involved with his now-wife on the White Wine Question Time podcast, Don admitted he felt guilty but said he knew he had to be ruthless.

He said: “I thought it was great, it was wonderful. I’m so glad.”

Don initially met his wife at Cambridge University when he was a student.

However, after their relationship became official they rented a house together in the Yorkshire Moors and performed odd jobs for their landlord.


The Gardners’ World host proposed to Sarah on a rowing boat while on a holiday in Scotland.

However, she said she wasn’t sure about a marriage, leading to Don refusing to row back to land until she had changed her mind.

He then secretly booked the marriage for less than a week after returning home which gave Sarah just 48 hours’ notice.

Opening up about some of the toughest points of their marriage, Don said Sarah threatened to leave him together with their three children.

Monty Don

Monty Don


“It was obviously complicated. I don’t think it was love at first sight. I think it was intense attraction at first sight,” Don said.

“Her husband was someone that I rode with and knew very well, and that was the case for about six months where I’d meet them socially.

“I remember thinking in a sort of quite banal way ‘How come that she met him before she met me? Why’s the person that you feel strongly attracted to with somebody else? Marriage or not’.

“It never crossed my mind that it could be anything else. It wasn’t like I was trying to pinch someone else’s wife – there was no question of that.

“And then about a year later, our paths crossed and her husband was away for about four months on a field trip. He was a botanist.

\u200bMonty Don was granted an OBE

Monty Don was granted an OBE


“And we started to bump into each other a bit more and we discovered that we really, really liked spending time together but in a completely platonic innocent way.

“And gradually over sort of days, and weeks, I was aware that the platonic side of things I was regretting more and more.

“You know that thing when you’re very attracted to somebody you don’t go too close to them, or you don’t dare show too much interest or whatever.

“It turned out that we both felt the same way. But she was married to someone else and so it was very difficult.

“She decided that she absolutely didn’t want to sort of have an affair.

“She chose me and it was for about six months an extremely difficult, unhappy tormented set-up because he obviously was not very happy with that arrangement.

“He completely reasonably felt betrayed and very, very, very angry.

“So I don’t want sort of belittle any of that, but at the same time we both just felt that we had our life partner.

“We had just met the person that we were meant to be with and it was a terrible pity that she had got married.

“She got married at 19, five years before I met her. And it was complicated because her husband only asked her to marry him because he was doing postgraduate work in Papua New Guinea and was going to be away for three years, and they had been boyfriend and girlfriend, and so it was a way of being together. In those days there was no question of her going with him unmarried.”

He added: “The point is I’ve always felt a bit guilty about it, but at the same time there is a kind of ruthlessness.

“All is fair in love and war. You can’t pussyfoot about. If you decide to be with someone and it means breaking up their marriage, you can’t then say ‘Oh I feel really bad about this.’

“No, I don’t. I thought it was great, it was wonderful. I’m so glad.

“I feel sorry for him, but it happened and I’m really glad it happened. I have no regrets at all.”


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