Tory and Unionist candidate Mike Nesbitt's secret daughters
Former television presenter turned politician Mike Nesbitt has spoken out about his two “secret” daughters with whom he has had no contact for more than 20 years.
The Conservative and Unionist candidate for Strangford, who left his high-profile Victims Commissioner job to run for Westminster in this year’s General Election, said he split up with his first wife while she was pregnant with their second child in 1988.
Nesbitt, who has two teenage sons PJ and Christopher with second wife Lynda Bryans, said he thought it was the “right thing to do” when he agreed to let his first wife’s new husband adopt their two daughters.
“My former wife remarried and they took the decision to adopt our children,” he told Sunday Life.
“I did not object to that because I thought that was the right thing to do as they were together.”
The identity of Nesbitt’s two daughters, now both aged in their early 20s, and his first wife have not been revealed but the former UTV news anchor confirmed he has had no contact with them since signing the adoption papers.
“It was described to me by the adoption agency that if you signed the papers that the children wouldn’t see you,” said the 52-year-old.
“They have the right to ask about you when they are 18. But they didn’t.”
Nesbitt, who was educated at Cambridge University and began his career in journalism on BBC radio, said he had no idea his first wife was pregnant again until she told him while they sat in the lawyer’s office to discuss their divorce. “She called me to the lawyer’s office and she told me she was pregnant for the second time while we sat in the waiting room,” he said.
“But she said it didn’t make any difference to her.”
The Parliamentary candidate, who will contest Iris Robinson’s former seat in this election, made a rare reference to his past marriage in a piece he wrote for the Belfast Telegraph 10 years ago.
He said: “When my first marriage didn’t work out, I was determined I’d never marry again.”
Nesbitt and his current wife were hailed as UTV’s golden couple during their joint presenting careers but popular television newsreader Lynda was barred from the news channel in February this year until after the General Election. The couple, who own their own media company, married in July 1992, four months after Lynda proposed to the presenter in New York’s Russian Tea Room.