A former Maths teacher whose wife became a billionaire has divorced her, saying he was “uncomfortable” being rich.
Tony Hawken met wife Xiu Li on a blind date and the couple lived in South Norwood, near Croydon, initially in a modest semi-detached home, The Times reports. But in 2011, Mrs Hawken had been propelled onto the Sunday Times Rich List thanks to her involvement in a property development scheme in which air raid shelters in China were converted into shopping malls. According to the paper, she is now worth around £1.1 billion.
The couple moved to a new £1.5 million home in Surrey.They have now gone their separate ways and Mr Hawken has received a settlement of less than £1 million. He told the Times:
“I have got a settlement which is not great, but it’s enough for me because I don’t have an extravagant lifestyle. I won’t have to work if I’m careful.”
He had been uneasy as a wealthy person, he explained.
“I think it made me uncomfortable because I’m not in the habit, I don’t like spending lots of money — I’ve been brought up that way. Until recently I was never a wealthy person. I’ve been moderately comfortable because I have been careful with my money.”
During a recent visit to China, the couple had sampled the opulent lifestyle available to the very wealthy.
“We took my son and my sister-in-law. On the yacht, my wife selected some wine to drink. It was £900 a bottle. I’m quite happy drinking wine that’s £10 a bottle.”
The couple lived in separate countries for much of their marriage and he had grown used to living independently, he said.
Mrs Hawken now runs 22 shopping centres in China and owns her own football club.