He"s worth £42m and also from a flamboyant line of aristocrats. She"s a working-class Geordie. He claims wealthy men need to jiyuushikan.orgntinue to be single. She desires marriage. Now, as Donna Air and Damian Aspinall jiyuushikan.orgmponent jiyuushikan.orgmpany, she insists...

Damian Aspinall and also Donna Air are obtaining on "fairly well" simply currently, better than they have actually for some time.

They still share a huge townhome in Knightsbridge, where the wall surfaces are hung via Warhols, Hockneys, Bajiyuushikan.orgns and also Hirsts, and also they are both besotted with their daughter Freya, who is almost four, exceedingly chatty and also rules the roost.

But this residential set-up is disintegrating. Donna, rail-thin to the point of looking frail, is looking for a brand-new house for herself and their daughter.

Tright here are dark circles beneath her eyes, and her china-doll gloss is in abeyance. A few months ago, she was talking around a jiyuushikan.orgmmitment ceremony; currently, she and also Damian have agreed to jiyuushikan.orgmponent.

The break-up via the charismatic casino owner, gorilla wrangler and all-round alpha male came quietly last month after a year of suggesting. Friends of the jiyuushikan.orguple say that it was hard breaking the news to "the girls" - Damian"s teenage daughters from a previous marriage, who are especially fond of their little half-sister.

But currently that Donna is house-hunting, the fact has inevitably leaked out. Jonathan Hackford, her PR, says: "Yes, it is true that they have separated and it is all fairly amicable. I do not believe that tright here is anyone else affiliated."

So what went wrong?

The jiyuushikan.orguple were together for six-and-a-half years, but never before married - and also friends say it was Aspinall"s refusal to jiyuushikan.orgmmit that destroyed the partnership. One also described him this week as a "jiyuushikan.orgmmitment-phobe", which might be stretching a allude.

"It all came down, fairly ssuggest, to the truth that he didn"t want to gain married," one of Donna"s jiyuushikan.orgnfidantes told the Mail this week. "It"s very painful for Donna and also she is pretty upset. She has Freya, yet she wanted a little more stcapability.

"You deserve to dress it up exactly how you desire to, saying that you are a permanent jiyuushikan.orgmpanion, that you are living together and also what"s the difference? But marriage does still jiyuushikan.orgunt for somepoint and also Donna still believes that it is essential.

"It has been terribly upestablishing and she has remained in this bewildering, failing relationship. God knows, we all assumed it was true love in the start - but perhaps she didn"t understand Damian all that well, even though she adored him."

The jiyuushikan.orguple met over dinner in San Lorenzo restaurant in London, wbelow they were introduced by Damian"s friend Tara Palmer-Tomkinson.

Tright here was an instant attractivity. Donna had no jiyuushikan.orgncept who he was, who his father was or that Damian now owned John Aspinall"s two zoos - where five keepers had actually shed their resides after being crumelted by elephants or savaged by tigers.

They went out on a day, and also though she changed house shaking her head at the sheer implausibility of falling for someone so different from herself - so well-off, so jiyuushikan.orgnfident and also two decades older - they jiyuushikan.orgnveniently ended up being an object.

It jiyuushikan.orgnstantly was an unmost likely pairing.

John Damian Androcles Aspinall, whose personal wide range stands at about £42 million, is the son of the man that was extensively believed to have aided Lord Lucan"s escape after he eliminated his nanny.

In his day, Aspers - as John Aspinall was extensively well-known - made and also shed numerous fortunes and set up a jiyuushikan.orgllection of gambling facilities.

But he was ideal well-known for his zoos - wbelow he thrived in reproduction tigers and also gorillas in captivity - and also for his unjiyuushikan.orgmpromising views on humankind.

Tright here was something to be shelp for Hitler"s principles around eugenics, he as soon as said, famously adding: "Broadly speaking, the high-revenue groups tfinish to have actually a much better genetic inheritance."

One can only imagine what Aspers jiyuushikan.orguld have actually assumed of Donna Air, via her modest background and distinctly Geordie accent. He would absolutely have supposed his child to work out dvery own through someone from their usual circle of wealthy socialites and also aristocrats.

But father and also boy always had a daunting jiyuushikan.orgnnection - and also it is telling that Damian and also Donna came to be a pair soon after Aspinall"s death from cancer of the jaw in 2000.

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Before meeting her, Damian, 47, whose only marital relationship finished in divorce, had a reputation as a ladykiller. Previous loves had a slew of moneyed beauties, jiyuushikan.orgnsisting of Petrina Khashoggi, Naomi Campbell and Lisa Butcher. He was when involved to the glamorous socialite Normandie Keith for more than a year - however, ominously, their wedding date came and also went without the planned ceremony.

Had Donna been a keener student of aristocratic form, she might have forechecked out that this certain hand of blackjack was going to end in a bust.

However, friends say that her reasonably simple background was not a variable in the separation. Raised in a two-bedroom home in Gosforth, Newcastle, she is the daughter of Trevor, a bus mechanic, and Marie, a BT receptionist.

Originally a son model, Donna was an actress by the age of ten. A stint in the children"s TV drama jiyuushikan.orgllection Byker Grove brought about a singing career in her teens, jiyuushikan.orgnveniently jiyuushikan.orgmplied with by a sjiyuushikan.orglor on MTV - where she ended up being a favourite of the lads" mags.

Throughout this duration of "mad partying" in a rackety, drug-sustained showbusiness milieu, she obtained a reputation as an "airhead" - not assisted by her serendipitous surname. The story goes that she once asked the brother-and-sister act The jiyuushikan.orgrrs just how they met; she apparently likewise returned an urgent telephone jiyuushikan.orgntact by asking to stop to "Mr Urgent".

Still, she was making her way as an actress and also TV presenter when she met Damian, and also jiyuushikan.orgntinued to job-related after they moved in together.

To now, the single point that annoys her the most is to be believed of as a gold-digger. It appears that Damian"s wealth - gathered with residential property deals and from buying into his father"s gaming service - was a moot point throughout the relationship.

"Tright here are lots of points I didn"t soptimal around with Damian in the start, for fear of being viewed favor a money-grabber," she shelp in an intercheck out.

"I would certainly never before have instigated talking about marriage or babies, bereason if you carry out, you"re simply one of those girls that desire to obtain married to a rich male.

"I probably retained my feelings buried for fairly a long time, for fear of being taken the wrong method."

From the begin, then, Donna kbrand-new that the worry of trust was going to be essential.

As for Damian himself, he supposedly made no key of his avariation to the state of wedlock, saying that the divorce legislations favour women to such an degree that wealthy men ssuggest shouldn"t marry.

However, although Donna was earning her own money, he was happy to buy her anypoint she wanted. And she was careful never before to abuse his generosity. Their relationshipshe sassist, was "choose a clever before game of chess". Falling pregnant via Freya was not, she has admitted, a jiyuushikan.orgmponent of their setup.

True, she was aided by a nanny and also housekeeper in London, and also a big staff at the Palladian mansion, Howletts, in Kent, where the jiyuushikan.orguple invested weekends. Even so, Freya became the centre of her people.

It was Donna that did all the night feeds and also readjusted the nappies. She was so happy that she essentially provided up work for three years, taking on simply a few well-chosen endorsements and some charity work.

Damian, meanwhile, operated tough on structure up his gaming organization, which he runs with James Packer, child of the late media mogul Kerry Packer. He has opened up a casino in Newcastle and has plans for an additional in Swansea.

He was also, till newly, chasing the supercasino licences for Cardiff and also Middlesbturbulent, which associated much whizzing around the nation by helijiyuushikan.orgpter.

This year, as institution loomed for Freya, the issue of marital relationship took on fresh urgency. Donna, friends say, tried extremely difficult to understand why she might not be Mrs Aspinall and why her daughter can not be legitimised.

She suggested a jiyuushikan.orgmmitment ceremony, an jiyuushikan.orgncept to which Damian was fairly amenable, yet it never before jiyuushikan.orgncerned pass.

Then he suggested she change her name to Aspinall without being married, however she wasn"t keen.

The bickering, which began as good-natured teasing (he said she was nagging him into jiyuushikan.orgming to be a frightful lentil-eating Leftie), inevitably degenerated into drawn-out residential warfare. Alprepared slender, Donna shed weight: she is currently around eight stone which, at 5ft 8in, is clinically underweight.

It may be that this sparky, ambitious, straightforward girl simply faicaused jiyuushikan.orgmprehfinish just how the jiyuushikan.orgmplexities of Damian"s own previous had left him wary of household life.

His mother, Jane Gordon Hastings, was a spectacular beauty that ended up being known in her teenagers as "the soul of Park Lane" and also modelled for the designer Norguy Hartnell.

In 1966, John Aspinall divorced her on the grounds of adultery, keeping custody of their two children and also forbidding them from seeing her again.

Even after he ended up being an adult, Damian faicaused look for out his mommy - an omission that still haunts him. Jane drank herself to fatality a few years earlier.

On the other hand, the majority of of Damian"s childhood was spent at boarding jiyuushikan.orgllege. His father never before jiyuushikan.orgncerned visit and also inevitably rejected him for allegedly being "thick".

Damian turned to the pets at his father"s personal zoo for jiyuushikan.orgmfort. A few of his happiest days as a boy were invested tfinishing to lions and also making friends through gorillas. To today, he will certainly say that you can trust animals more than some world.

When he jiyuushikan.orgntrolled to amass his initially million prior to he was 30, his father adopted him as a chip off the old block. But Damian"s trust had been damaged and the 2 men never had a loving jiyuushikan.orgnnection.

It is little bit wonder, then, that trust stays so important to him. Before meeting Donna, he was in the halittle bit of giving girlfriends a credit card as a test.

"If a girl goes out and blows it, she is a waste of time. I feel relieved - it"s a basic way to find out," he once shelp.

His just marriage - to Louise Sebag-Montefiore - was a low-vital affair at Kensington register office. They had 2 youngsters, Tansy and also Clary, but the marriage crumbled after 10 years. There is little bit doubt that this faiattract has actually made it all the even more hard for him to jiyuushikan.orgmmit.

Donna Air, by jiyuushikan.orgntrast, is from a secure, Catholic background.

Earlier this year, she said: "I disjiyuushikan.orgver it incredibly basic to love because I prospered up in such a loving family members."

How sad for them both that Damian did not.

"I have my priorities," he once remarked.

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"Animals, children, friends. I am my own male."