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'Heartbroken' Lynda Bryans to divorce MLA Mike Nesbitt

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Mike Nesbit and his wife Lynda Bryans

Mike Nesbit and his wife Lynda Bryans

Mike Nesbit and his wife Lynda Bryans

Former UTV presenter Lynda Bryans is to file for divorce from Ulster Unionist MLA Mike Nesbit, her husband of 28 years.

The revelation comes three months after Mr Nesbitt quit his role in a top Stormont committee after flouting lockdown rules by travelling to the north coast to stay with a "female friend".

The former UUP leader said at the time that he had made some "very poor decisions" and confirmed he had been living apart from Ms Bryans since January.

Mr Nesbitt (62) said it had been a "stressful and difficult period" and apologised over revelations he had made a number of trips to stay at a property in Portballintrae, Co Antrim.

Speaking to the Sunday World newspaper yesterday, Ms Bryans confirmed her marriage to the Strangford MLA was over.

The journalism lecturer at Belfast Met said: "I've had enough - I am filing for divorce.

"I am heartbroken, but I will get over it.

"I am a strong woman with amazing friends, a fantastic family and they have all rallied all around me," she added.

"I am not going to air my dirty laundry in public, but we've been together for over 30 years, married for 28 years, our wedding anniversary was last month."

The 58-year-old said she was publicly humiliated by her husband's secret lockdown meetings with a mystery woman.

While she had been prepared to reconcile to save the relationship, Ms Bryans added that she was consulting divorce lawyers.

"I had hoped for a reconciliation some months ago but we are passed that now.

"We have two kids, as you know, and my focus is on protecting them," she said.

"There are worse things happening in people's lives, every day someone's marriage breaks up and you never really know a person inside out."

In May, Mr Nesbitt resigned as Deputy Chair of the Committee for The Executive Office, which advises government ministers, after breaking the lockdown regulations, outlined by his party colleague, Health Minister Robin Swann, advising against unnecessary journeys in a bid to stem the spread of the coronavirus.

Mr Nesbitt had tweeted his support for the health service throughout the course of the Covid-19 crisis, and yesterday his Twitter profile picture still featured the NHS logo.

Party leader Steve Aiken accepted his resignation but said the former broadcaster "made a huge mistake and he has accepted what he did was wrong".

Mr Nesbitt could not be reached for comment yesterday but a UUP spokesperson said: "It is a personal matter for Lynda, Mike and the family.

"We will not be making any further comment."

Before entering politics, Mr Nesbitt began his career as a broadcaster, firstly with BBC NI before later joining UTV in 1992.

He became one of the channel's biggest names, and it was during this time he co-hosted UTV's evening news programme with Ms Bryans.

The couple also presented a weekly religious series together, Sunday Morning, for Anglia Television between 1999 and 2001, as well as two series of a house and garden series Home Sweet Home for UTV.

The pair were married in 1992, both for the second time.

They went on to have two sons Peter and Christopher.

Belfast Telegraph