Lineker divorced in 70 seconds for 'unreasonable behaviour'

TV presenter Gary Lineker and his wife Michelle were divorced today after 20 years of marriage.

TV presenter Gary Lineker and his wife Michelle were divorced today after 20 years of marriage.

Michelle Lineker, 40, was granted a decree nisi by a judge in London on the ground of her husband’s “unreasonable behaviour”.

In documents before the court, the mother-of-four stated that the behaviour of the 45-year-old former England football star had caused her “stress and anxiety”.

No-one attended the “quickie” divorce proceedings in the Family Division of the High Court before District Judge Caroline Reid – which lasted just 70 seconds.

The couple married at St Mary Magdalene’s Parish Church in Knighton, Leicestershire, in July 1986.

At the time Lineker, the son of a market trader, was a 25-year-old professional footballer and Michelle Cockayne was a 21-year-old beauty therapist.

Mrs Lineker’s divorce petition was brought in her maiden name and appeared ninth in a list of 30 undefended petitions.

The couple separated earlier this year and she moved out of their £2m (€2.93m) mansion in Sunningdale, Berkshire.

But in court papers, she said she had now returned to the former matrimonial home “albeit that she and the respondent (Gary Winston Lineker) are living as separate households and are not living as husband and wife”.

In a question-and-answer style form in support of her petition she is asked: “If you consider that the respondent’s behaviour has affected your health, state the effect it has had.”

She replied: “Stress and anxiety”.

In answer to the question: “Is the respondent’s behaviour as set out in your petition and particulars continuing?”, she replies: “Yes.”

She also states: “The petitioner and the respondent have now agreed that the petitioner will live at the former matrimonial home with the children and the respondent will live elsewhere.”

Describing herself as a full-time mother in the document, she asked the court “to grant a decree dissolving my marriage with the respondent on the ground stated in my petition and to order the respondent to pay the costs of this suit”.

In his written reply, Lineker said he did not intend to defend the petition, agreed to pay the costs and agreed to the arrangements for their four sons.

When the split was first announced, a spokesman for the couple said they had “grown apart”, that they had reached an “amicable agreement” to part and no-one else was involved.

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