Nigel Farage admits marriage 'ups and downs'
Nigel Farage has admitted his marriage is going through "ups and downs" as he broke his silence over speculation about his private life.
His wife Kirsten Farage revealed they have been living "separate lives" for some years after unconfirmed press reports that her husband was sharing a house in London with a female French politician.
German-born Ms Farage said the former Ukip leader had moved out of the family home in Kent "a while ago".
Speaking on his LBC Radio show, Mr Farage said he had been aware of recent press coverage about "a few personal difficulties that I've had with my marriage and my family and my relationships".
He said: "All of us in our lives go through ups and downs and I regret the down that I am in at the moment.
"But I make this plea, particularly to the media - please leave my wife and children alone. Don't hassle them, don't intimidate them. They don't deserve it and it's simply not fair."
The couple married in 1999 after Mr Farage's divorce from his first wife, and have two children.
In a statement to the Press Association, Mrs Farage said: "My husband and I have lived separate lives for some years and he moved out of the family home a while ago.
"This is a situation that suits everyone and is not news to any of the people involved."
She urged reporters not to "doorstep" her family home, saying: "Having press camped out in front of my house is extremely distressing, especially for my children. Please let us get on with our lives."
Earlier on Monday, Mr Farage was showered with eggs as he greeted Ukip leader Paul Nuttall near his campaign office in Stoke-on-Trent, where he is standing in the by-election this month.
The Mail on Sunday reported at the weekend that Laure Ferrari - who runs the Institute for Direct Democracy in Europe (IDDE) - has been living in the former Ukip leader's house in Chelsea for the past week.
Mr Farage told the newspaper he was helping her because she needed accommodation and had nowhere else to stay.
"She is someone I have worked with and known well for a long time who wanted somewhere to stay for a week that wouldn't cost her any money. It's a working relationship," he was quoted as saying.
The MoS said Mr Farage told its reporters last month that he spent most weeknights at a "bachelor pad" and denied that he had split from his wife.
In November, the Electoral Commission announced it was opening an investigation into whether Ukip accepted "impermissible donations" from IDDE and the Alliance for Direct Democracy in Europe (ADDE), the political party it is affiliated to.
It followed an audit by the European Parliament which concluded that ADDE and IDDE used EU grant funding for the benefit of Ukip in breach of its rules.
The claims have been strongly contested by Ukip.
Ms Ferrari, who became involved in politics as a result of a chance meeting with Mr Farage 10 years ago while she was working as a waitress in Strasbourg, said she had been forced to move out of her flat after the European Parliament stopped IDDE's funding.
"I have no trustworthy friends in London who could have hosted me. I asked and he accepted. He is just trying to be helpful," she told the Mail on Sunday.