Inside Dragons Dens Duncan Bannatynes life – from net worth to stunning wife

Scottish entrepreneur Duncan Bannatyne was Dragons' Den's own Simon Cowell – known for his no nonsense approach to ripping apart hopefuls' business pitches on television.

The business mogul, 71, was on the famous BBC entrepreneur show from 2005 up until he left in 2015 due to having other work commitments.

Alongside his original Dragon cast which included Peter Jones, Deborah Meaden and Theo Paphitis, Duncan was famed for his intimidating persona and acute business mind, often putting the contestants on the spot and grilling them on their numbers.

During his stint on the show he backed a staggering 35 businesses, but many fans of the show will also remember him for his iconic phrase he'd use on unlucky candidates, when he declared: "I'm out."

Bannatyne, 72, has business stakes in the hospitality and leisure sector, with interests in hotels, health clubs, and spas as well as in property and media.

Before rising to TV fame on Dragons' Den he bought an ice cream van for a reported £450 before turning it into a business and buying more vans.

He then expanded to the health care sector as he founded a nursing home company which he sold for a whopping £26million before building his different health club chains, for which he is arguably best known.

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He has since grown the Bannatyne Health Club & Spa chain, and Bannatyne Group is now the largest independent chain of health clubs in the United Kingdom with 71 sites, with the business mogul owning 46 spas as of June 2018.

But he's also had stints on reality television and is remembered for his appearance on I'm a Celebrity… Get Me Out of Here! in 2015 when he became locked in a heated and ongoing feud with Lady Colin Campbell.

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His current net worth as of 2021 is estimated at a staggering £462million, and he's a regular feature in the Sunday Times Rich List, although he did donate his I'm A Celeb earnings to charity by handing the money over to the Operation Smile organisation.

In his love life, dad-of-six Duncan has been married three times and his first marriage was to Gail Brodie in 1983 before the relationship ended in 1994. The pair share four daughters – Abigail, Hollie, Jennifer and Eve.

He then went on to marry Joanne Cue in 2006 and the couple had two children – Emily and Thomas – however, it was in their sixth year of marriage that the pair decided to end it.

He had received the awful news that she wanted to file for divorce whilst on the set of filming for the ninth series of Dragons' Den.

He told the Daily Mail in 2013: "So when I stood in that car park, with my fellow Dragons’ Den judge Peter Jones, shaking with disbelief at Joanne’s text message, I knew it was going to be expensive."

Duncan admitted he regretted not signing a pre-nup as the divorce cost him a jaw-dropping £345million.

However, he has found love since as he is currently married to Nigora Whitehorn, with whom he tied the knot in 2017 when he met her at a dental surgery she worked at.

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Stunning brunette Nigora is 41 years old, so is 31 years Duncan's junior, and she had been working at a dental surgery on London's Harley Street before the pair became an item in 2015.

In an interview with OK! magazine, the TV star revealed he fell in love with her from the first sighting, saying: "When I went home I couldn’t stop thinking about her, I felt obsessed! I felt in love with her."

Nigora, who apparently has degrees from the University of Bedfordshire and the National University of Uzbekistan, has previously worked for the London Police and even worked as a Russian and Uzbek translator for the UK government.

The couple have openly admitted to wanting to start a family together, but have not been able to following their failed attempts to have children, and the two have said they won't be using IVF or any other methods.

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