The judge in Chris Tarrant’s divorce case has been reprimanded for constantly making references to the plaintiff’s hit TV programme ‘Who Wants to be a Millionaire?’, and for casting himself as the host of the popular quiz show.
The routine petition for the divorce between Chris and Ingrid Tarrant should have taken just minutes to process at the High Court, but the judge presiding over the case had other ideas. Entering the courtroom separately with their solicitors, the distressed couple were surprised to see the lights dimmed and the seating re-arranged so that Chris Tarrant and the judge would face one another on high stools in the centre of the courtroom.
Chris Tarrant was then asked by Justice Piers Hawksworth whether he was seeking a ‘decree absolute’ for the termination of his marriage to which he confirmed that he was. ‘Final answer?’ asked the judge. ‘Final answer!’ responded the TV star through gritted teeth. Justice Hawksworth then proceeded to ask a series of increasingly difficult legal questions offering Tarrant a choice of four answers from a video screen. Regarding the grounds for divorce the judge asked ‘Is it A: ‘Unreasonable behaviour.’ B: ‘Desertion. C: ‘Two years seperation with consent’ or D: ‘You were caught having a bit of the other by the News of the World.’
As it became clear that Tarrant would be paying out substantial amounts in alimony and legal fees, the judge seemed to take great delight announcing how much money Tarrant stood to lose. For the final extremely difficult question on the apportionment of marital assets Tarrant chose answer C); My ex-wife will become sole owner of our eight bedroom house in Esher, Surrey’ and the judge proclaimed ‘That’s the right answer! You’ve just lost one million pounds!’ At this point the public gallery erupted into spontaneous applause as a small pyrotechnic show released showers of glittery tape from the ceiling.
Chris Tarrant later rang the Law Society to complain about the hearing but a recorded message told him that calls cost £1 a minute and that only very few people make it through to the next stage.