BRITAIN’S biggest lottery winners Colin and Christine Weir yesterday announced they’re divorcing – eight years after scooping the £161m jackpot.
Colin, 71, and Christine, 62, who took home the EuroMillions British record in 2011 had been married for 38 years before being hit by the curse of the lottery.
A statement on behalf of the couple said: “They are applying for divorce amicably.”
The Ayrshire couple are understood to have been living apart for nearly a year.
Pals said it was an ‘open secret’ they had drifted apart following their record-breaking £161m jackpot win in 2011.
The couple scooped Britain’s biggest win while living in Largs, Ayrshire but locals have known for months that their marriage was on the rocks.
Last August it emerged the couple owned separate mansions after Colin signed over a property the couple had bought together in Troon to his wife.
He bought a £1.5m waterfront home a few miles away while Christine, 62, – known as Chris – had sole ownership of £3m Frognal House in Troon.
The Weirs pumped a fortune into their favourite football team Partick Thistle and the SNP – and also set up a charitable trust with their winnings.
SPILT AN ‘OPEN SECRET’
A local said: “The suggestion is that they’ve been apart for many, many months.
“People in their hometown of Largs had been talking about the rumours of their split as far back as last summer.
“It’s been a bit of an open secret to some people in that area.
“People that know them have said they seem to have just drifted apart.
“It’s a real shame because they’ve obviously been through so much together.”
Yesterday, the couple, who have two grown-up kids, issued a statement to the Sun confirming they had decided to call time on their union.
She said: “It is with deep regret that Chris and Colin Weir confirm they have been living apart for some time and intend to divorce amicably.
“They ask that the family’s privacy is respected and this time and there will be no further comment.”
Retired STV cameraman Colin and former psychiatric nurse Chris became the 22nd richest people in Scotland after their colossal £161,653,000 win in July 2011.
They were catapulted into the Sunday Times Rich List above Beatle Ringo Starr and Sir Tom Jones but shunned an expensive holiday to go to Brighton where they decided how to spend their cash.
Colin said that among the first items they bought following their amazing jackpot win was a checked sports jacket like one worn by Scotsport legend Arthur Montford.
They also bought £850,000 Knock House, a four-bedroom detached home in 23 acres of gardens and woodland on the outskirts of Largs.
Colin said at the time: “We didn’t want to go away and live on a small island with no contact with the people who are important to us.”
He revealed he’d forked out for a tractor to help tend his sprawling estate, which boasts a rambling garden, walled garden, a small forest, pond, glass houses and stables.
In the next few years they revamped the pile overlooking the Firth of Clyde with improvements including the conversion of potting sheds into a wine cellar and office.
When they put the five-bedroom home on the market at offers over £795,000 in 2016, the sales blurb said it was “refurbished and embellished with flair and imagination”.
And in 2014 they paid £3million for palatial Frognal House, built for a tea merchant in 1909, after viewing it for just ten minutes.
But in August last year, cracks appeared to begin to show in the couple’s marriage when Colin handed over the gaff to Chris – and he bought a pad of his own.
In 2015, the Weirs pumped £1m into Championship side Partick Thistle and wiped out their debt at a stroke.
The Jags-mad couple put in the dough in return for a ten per cent club stake.
Colin said: “I have been a Thistle fan since I was a boy and spent many hours at Firhill — some more enjoyable than others.
“Chris and I are delighted to be part of the effort to help the club achieve financial security — no mean feat for any Scottish club today.
“We also support the establishment of Partick Thistle Football Club Trust to give fans a greater say and were pleased to help get it off the ground.”
Chris gave the club £750,000 in 2013 to kickstart the Thistle Weir Youth Academy.
They also pumped £800,000 into their local side Largs Thistle and gave tennis prospect Ross Wilson £50,000 to train at the academy Andy Murray used.
In 2012, the big-hearted pair bought teenager Kieran Maxwell from Heighington, near Darlington, a prosthetic leg after his was amputated.
The couple heard about the then 13-year-old’s plight through the grandmother of one of his friends and agreed to donate a five-figure sum.
Colin said at the time: “When we heard about Kieran and his family’s fantastic efforts to raise money for a new prosthetic leg, we had to help. It is a privilege to support him.”
They also put up nearly £30,000 so then three-year-old cerebral palsy sufferer Skye Swinton, from Cheltenham, could have pioneering surgery.
The pair also described themselves as ‘lifelong supporters of independence’ and donated £4.5m to the SNP since their win – although £1m of that was repaid.
The couple also donated £3.5m to the pro-independence Yes Scotland campaign ahead of the 2014 referendum.
They also set up the Weir Charitable Trust which aims to support Scottish-based community groups and small charities to provide services across the country.
The Trust will considers funding specific activities and services in sport, recreational facilities, animal welfare, health and cultural projects.
Travel-daft Chris said she splashed the cash on a cruise aboard the luxury liner Queen Elizabeth and planned to travel to the Far East after their win.
But she added: “We’re no different as people. Our friends have been wonderful.
“We know the people we are friends with. They are the same people we have always been friends with.
“I believe that things do happen for a reason.
“And we also believe that with great wealth comes great responsibilities.”
Colin said they went public with their win so people would not think they were linked to gangsters.
He said: “You can’t hide that sum of money. People would think you were money-laundering.”
CAN’T BUY ME LOVE
LOTTO couples throughout the UK have proved money can’t buy love.
Adrian Bayford and his Scots ex-wife Gillian, split just 15 months after winning £148million in 2012.
Adrian Bayford and wife Gillian split just 15 months after winning £148million in 2012. Adrian, 48, was dumped by his next two squeezes and Gillian, 46, married convicted conman Brian Dean in August 2018[/caption]
Adrian, 48, was dumped by his next two squeezes, while ex Gillian, 46, from Dundee, married convicted fraudster Brian Dean in August 2018.
Gareth and Catherine Bull, of Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, scooped the £40.6millions in the Euromillions in 2012, but they parted ways five years later.
And a £45.5million win saw marriage end in divorce for Les and Samantha Scadding.
The couple, of Gwent, Wales, parted ways four years after their massive windfall in 2009.
And Jason and Victoria Jones of Devizes, Wiltshire, had been married for only a month when they scooped £2.3million on the lottery in 2004.
But becoming stinking rich “ruined their lives” and they split in 2016.
And self-confessed ‘white van man’ Nigel Page, 43, scooped a cool £56million in February 2010.
most read in uk news
The skydiving enthusiast, of Cirencester, Wiltshire, married his girlfriend Justine but ended up having to give £2m to ex-wife Wendy – despite the pair separating ten years before his bumper win.
Lotto Lout Rangers fan Michael Carroll, who frittered away the £10million fortune he won in 2002, got hitched to Sandra Aitken a year later.
But she left him shortly afterwards, after becoming disgusted by his playboy lifestyle.
Callie Rogers was the youngest lottery winner when she won £1.9million in 2003 at 16. She called it a ‘curse’ and 13 years later had £2,000 left. She said: ‘It was too much for someone so young.’[/caption]
Lee Ryan won £6.5million 17 weeks after Lotto’s 1994 launch. He was then locked up for handling stolen goods[/caption]
Lotto Lout Michael Carroll, who frittered away the £10million he won in 2002, got hitched to Sandra Aitken a year later. But she left him soon afterwards, disgusted by his playboy lifestyle[/caption]
- GOT a news story? RING us on 0207 782 4104 or WHATSAPP on 07423720250 or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org