How Anthea stumbled on Grant's Olympic lie: Text to friend uncovered 'affair' with girl, 24
00:42 GMT, 5 August 2012
It was an innocent text from a loyal wife to a family friend to wish him a good day out with her husband.
But when Anthea Turner sent a message to Gloria Hunniford’s son Michael Keating asking him to help take her husband’s mind off their domestic problems, it started a chain of events that would leave her 12-year marriage hanging by a thread.
Last week The Mail on Sunday revealed the ex-Blue Peter host was living apart from her businessman husband Grant Bovey, 50, amid claims he had been having an affair with Zoe De Mallet Morgan, the 24-year-old daughter of an estate agent, while his wife was working in Canada.
Getaway: Anthea with Russ Lindsay, left, on Peter Powell's yacht
On her mind: Friends of Miss Turner say she has been desperately trying to work out how her husband could have met Miss de Mallet Morgan
It now seems Bovey, a discharged bankrupt whose previous company collapsed with debts of 50 million in 2008, was caught out by his bid to cover his tracks by using the couple’s unwitting showbusiness friends.
It began at their 5 million home in Esher, Surrey, on July 26 when Bovey said he would be visiting the Olympic site in Stratford with family friend Mr Keating – a businessman with a contract to work at the site – and would stay in London overnight.
It came at a difficult time for the Boveys, who married in 2000. For the past two years Anthea had been spending up to three weeks a month working in Canada on TV series Dinner Party Wars and the separation had put a strain on the couple.
But Anthea had no reason to doubt her husband and after he went she texted Mr Keating – brother of late Blue Peter host Caron Keating, who died from breast cancer in 2004 – asking him to use the day to take her husband’s mind off matters at home.
Unknown to Anthea, however, Bovey wasn’t with Michael Keating. And Mr Keating, 42, wasn’t willing to be party to his lie.
Sources say Mr Keating called his former brother-in-law Russ Lindsay, Caron Keating’s widower. It then fell to Russ’s second wife, Sally Meen, the ex-GMTV weathergirl-turned-property developer and one of Anthea’s best friends, to call her.
A source close to Anthea said: ‘Sally said, “I think you should know, Michael is not with Grant.” The penny dropped and Anthea began calling Bovey, who she believes was with this other woman.
'His own daughters told him to leave. There was no apology. He got his stuff and left.'
‘For the past few months Grant had been spending two or three nights a week in London, which he said was so he could work late and meet clients. He wasn’t due back in Surrey until Friday. When he came home Anthea was at the house with Grant’s daughters. Anthea was in a state and couldn’t even speak to Grant. The girls are very protective of Anthea and they were the ones who told Grant to leave. There was no apology. He got his stuff and left.’
Bovey has admitted to a friendship with Miss De Mallet Morgan, an interior designer, but insists it was purely platonic. It’s a claim friends of Anthea say she doesn’t believe. After all, in 1998, she was the ‘other woman’ when Bovey was unfaithful in his first marriage to Della, the mother of his daughters Lily, 20, Claudia, 19, and Amelia, 16.
Happier times: The pair married in 2000 after meeting two years earlier, when Grant left his wife for Anthea
Anthea has turned to an unlikely figure for support – her ex-husband Peter Powell, the former Radio 1 DJ whom she married in 1990 and publicly humiliated by her affair with Bovey. The source said: ‘Anthea has confided in Peter for some time. Peter offered Anthea the use of his yacht for a holiday with the family to celebrate Grant’s daughter Amelia’s 16th birthday. Peter encouraged her to get away from home to give herself time to think.’
On Thursday Anthea and two of her stepdaughters flew to Majorca where they were joined by Russ Lindsay and Sally Meen on Braveheart, Powell’s 1.6 million yacht. It was there the next morning the group celebrated Amelia’s birthday, Anthea wearing a party hat and pink top with the word ‘Canada’ across it – a reference to where she’d been working while she believes Bovey has been unfaithful.
Anthea’s manager Michael Joyce said last night: ‘The holiday to Majorca had been planned before all this happened.’