London - TV chef Ainsley Harriott and his wife Clare have separated after 23 years of marriage.

The former Ready, Steady, Cook host, 55, and former costume designer Clare confirmed their split in a statement.

A spokesman for the star said: “Following media speculation, Ainsley and Clare Harriott confirm that they are currently living apart.

“Their separation is completely amicable and, as yet, they have no definite plans for the future.

“They remain close and, together with their family, they ask that their privacy be respected. They will be making no further comment.”

The couple, who previously lived together in a £1 million home in South London, have two children, Jimmy, 20, and Maddie, 17.

In 2004, their marriage was rocked by reports that Ainsley had had an affair. He launched a legal battle to stop the name of his alleged mistress becoming public knowledge.

Speaking of his wife in an interview several years ago, Ainsley said: “My wife Clare, she’s wonderful.

“I’m spoiled, but then she gets all those lovely meals cooked for her.”

Ainsley hosted the BBC show Ready Steady Cook until it was axed two years ago. – Daily Mail