The former wife of Michael Gove has said rumours that he had an affair were not true, as their divorce was finalised in the courts.
Journalist Sarah Vine said the Levelling-Up Secretary’s “only mistress was politics” as she admitted she had worked to prevent him becoming prime minister during their 20-year marriage.
In an interview with Tatler magazine, the Daily Mail columnist said: “The mistress wins in the end. It’s all about making sure she is happy.
“In my case, despite all the rumours, his only mistress was politics. That’s what he is in love with. He is genuinely in love with politics.”
The comments come after a family court judge drew the marriage of the Conservative politician and the prominent media figure to a close on Thursday.
Neither Miss Vine nor Mr Gove, who is a senior figure in Boris Johnson’s Government, were at the hearing, which was staged in public.
At a hearing in the Central Family Court in London on Thursday, Judge Lynn Roberts granted Miss Vine a divorce decree on the grounds that the marriage had irretrievably broken down.
The couple announced they were splitting in July, with a friend of the couple telling PA news agency they had “drifted apart” and the decision had been “entirely amicable”.
Miss Vine admitted in her remarks to Tatler that the 2016 Brexit result, which Mr Gove had played a leading role in bringing about through his campaigning with Vote Leave, had brought pressure on their relationship.
The pair were good friends with former prime minister David Cameron and his wife Samantha, with Miss Vine a godmother to one of their daughters, but Mr Gove’s decision to fight for Brexit caused friction between the two couples.
“My whole life fell away. I didn’t speak to many close friends. And that was another huge strain on the marriage,” Miss Vine said.
“Marriage can take strain, but it cannot take that much.”
Mr Gove ran to replace Mr Cameron as Conservative Party leader after he resigned from No 10 following the European referendum verdict, but his former wife said she did not support his ambitions to lead Britain.
“My ulterior motive throughout my entire life was to stop my husband being prime minister because I can’t think of anything worse,” she said.
During the court divorce proceeding on Thursday, Judge Roberts also approved the release of some documentation.
Documents list the couple as Sarah Rosemary Vine and Michael Andrew Gove.
They show Miss Vine had petitioned for divorce and named Mr Gove as the “respondent”.
A “certificate of entitlement to a decree” said Miss Vine had “sufficiently proved” she was entitled to a divorce on the grounds that the marriage had “irretrievably broken down” and the “facts found proved being the respondent’s unreasonable behaviour”.
Miss Vine had signed a “statement in support of divorce” – and printed her name as Miss Sarah Rosemary Vine – on November 30.
The judge made a decree nisi pronouncement in less than 10 seconds.
A marriage does not formally end until a decree absolute is pronounced.
No members of the public, apart from one journalist, were at the hearing.