Helen Skelton has returned to Instagram hours after it was revealed her husband Richie Myler has begun a new relationship with the daughter of the multi-millionaire President of the Leeds Rhinos club he plays for.
Countryfile presenter Helen, 38, who announced the couple’s split last week, just four months after the birth of the couple’s daughter, was not wearing her wedding ring in the social media advert promoting Smart Meters on Tuesday.
The star showed her ring-free finger as she sipped on a cup of tea and spoke about the importance of saving energy – days into her marital split.
Heartbreak: Helen Skelton has returned to Instagram hours after it was revealed her husband Richie Myler has begun a new relationship with the daughter of the multi-millionaire President of the Leeds Rhinos club he plays for
Helen is said to feel ‘bewildered’ by the breakdown of her marriage to Richie, 31, whose new partner is Stephanie Thirkill, 32.
A source close to the couple told MailOnline: ‘Helen is absolutely devastated. Now she is contemplating life without him while he has moved on with his new partner.
‘Richie is insisting there was no crossover, that he began the romance with Stephanie after their marriage collapsed, but Helen feels let down. They are still married, and their baby is literally four months old.
New love: Helen’s husband Richieis dating Stephanie Thirkill (above), 32, the daughter of Leeds Rhinos President Andrew Thirkill, who has been in the Sunday Times Rich List
TV host Helen (left) announced the end of her eight-year marriage to Richie a weej ago (right)
Countryfile presenter Helen, 38, and Richie, 31, (pictured together) have three children, with their youngest daughter born just four months ago
Devastating: Countryfile presenter Helen, 38, who announced the couple’s split last week, just four months after the birth of the couple’s daughter, was not wearing her wedding ring in the social media advert promoting Smart Meters on Tuesday
‘She thought their marriage was safe and secure and is totally shocked by what’s happened.’
Ms Thirkill is the daughter of Andrew Thirkill, who is one of the richest businessmen in Leeds and is worth an estimated £175 million.
Richie plays scrumhalf for Leeds Rhinos, who he joined in 2017 and also represents England
In 2019, the lifelong Leeds Rhinos fan, who attended his first match in 1968, became President of the club.
Richie plays scrumhalf for the leading rugby league club, who he joined in 2017 and also represents England at international level.
Former Blue Peter star Helen confirmed their breakup on Instagram last week, writing: ‘Very sad to say that Richie and I are no longer a couple.
‘He has left the family home. We will be doing our best to co-parent our small children.’
She added two broken heart emojis to the post shared on Monday evening with her 278K followers.
‘Helen’s holding it together well, which is admirable given she was blindsided by his new relationship.’
The source added: ‘Mutual friends think he’s treated her appallingly.’
The new woman in Richie’s life, Ms Thirkill is listed as a director of two companies run by her father; Age Partnership and Advise Wise which are among a group of businesses he established to help build his considerable fortune.
She previously studied Retail Marketing Management at Leeds Metropolitan University and on a day-to-day basis, works as Marketing Executive at Age Partnership.
Ms Thirkill, who studied Retail Marketing Management at Leeds Met University is a big Rugby League fan and attends Leeds Rhinos matches, where she is believed to have met Richie
Leeds Rhinos President, Andrew Thirkill, worth £175m, was on the Sunday Times Rich List
In 2018, she married in a lavish ceremony at Bolton Abbey, the Yorkshire estate of the Duke of Devonshire. It is believed the couple have now separated.
Helen married Richie in December 2013, and the pair have three children together.
Until the announcement of the break-up, they appeared to the outside world to have the perfect marriage, with many expressions of their devotion on social media in recent weeks.
The couple bought a £550,000 cottage on the edge of Leeds during lockdown two years ago and have spent hundreds of thousands renovating it with a beautifully appointed kitchen and huge French windows overlooking the idyllic garden.
Like her father, Ms Thirkill is an ardent Rugby League fan and regularly attends Leeds Rhinos matches, where she is believed to have met Richie.
Mr Thirkill, 62, was born in the Leeds working class district of Meanwood and has enjoyed a phenomenal rags to riches rise, which has made him one of the leading figures in the Yorkshire business community who also appears on The Sunday Times Rich List. He is also well known for his philanthropic ventures.
He lives in Harrogate, North Yorkshire on an exclusive estate, where homes easily cost in excess of £1 million, with his wife Jill.
Helen married Richie in December 2013, and the pair have three young children together
Helen posted this picture on Instagram of Richie carrying their newborn out of the hospital
The couple also have a son, Jonathan, 29 who runs his own customer experience company and is also considered a successful businessman.
Mr Thirkill senior started working life as an apprentice brick layer in 1976, after leaving Leeds Central High School.
He once admitted in a media interview: ‘I wasn’t particularly bright. I wasn’t thick but I wasn’t interested in school. It was just a place to meet people, have a good time and play football. I couldn’t see the point of it all and just wanted to get out and make money.’
After realising that he did not want to work on building sites, because of harsh winters, he then got a job as a filing clerk for two years before moving to the Yorkshire Post newspaper as a trainee sales rep.
In April 1981, Mr Thirkill left to start up his own advertising agency, which became such a success that he sold it in 1988 for £2.7 million.
Split: Helen announced she and Richie’s split via Instagram on Monday – admitting that he has ‘left the family home’
He then launched a number of other businesses before eventually starting Age Partnership in 2004, which significantly increased his wealth. The company specialises in equity release for homeowners aged over 55 and is the largest provider of this service in the country.
Mr Thirkill once revealed that he came up with the idea after watching his mother struggle to release equity from her home because of bureaucracy and high interest rates.
In addition to his business success, he is widely praised for his charitable work with the Leeds Rhinos Foundation, which runs programmes for disabled, isolated and disadvantaged people.
He is also involved in sponsoring Jamaica’s rugby league team as a way of maintaining contacts with the sizeable Jamaican community in Leeds.