James Martin: The TV chef revealed he regretted ending relationship with film producer Barbara Broccoli

James Martin has talked about his relationship with film producer Barbara Broccoli. Speaking of their time together, James Martin reveals his biggest regret.

James Martin regrets relationship Barbara Broccoli
© Dave J Hogan / Getty Images
James Martin regrets relationship Barbara Broccoli

James Martin is best known as a TV chef. He has a regular Saturday morning show called James Martin’s Saturday Morning. Martin has been in the catering business since his college years and hasn’t looked back.

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Despite his successful career, James Martin has been dealing with several issues that have deeply impacted his life. Indeed, the TV chef has been dealing with cancer since 2018 with a return at the end of 2023.

Moreover, Martin recently split from his long-term girlfriend, Louise Davies. The two had been an item for 12 years and went their separate ways in December 2023 but only decided to share the news in April.

Louise Davies was not James Martin’s only serious relationship, he had previously been in a committed relationship with James Bondproducer Barbara Broccoli. However, the relationship ended when due to an extravagant gift from Barbara.

James Martin met Barbara Broccoli in 2001

As reported by Mirror, James Martin and Barbara Broccoli first met back in 2001 after Barbara had ‘won’ James at an auction, paying £18,000 for him to cook her dinner. Barbara, who is 12 years older than James, was so impressed by the meal he cooked for her, that she hired him again for a birthday meal.

Soon after, a romance blossomed. Talking about their relationship in his 2009 memoir Driven, Martin explained that despite their vastly different backgrounds, the two of them ‘just clicked’ and they started dating.

Thanks to her career as a film producer, Barbara was able to introduce James to some A-list celebrities, including Nicole Kidman and Halle Berry and would often invite the TV chef to events, as per Mirror.

As the two had very different careers and had a significant age gap, Barbara Broccoli used to somewhat spoil James Martin with lavish gifts.

Barbara Broccoli spoiled James Martin with gifts

James Martin revealed to Daily Mail back in 2008 that his girlfriend, Barbara Broccoli would often get him very thoughtful but expensive presents. Indeed, he explained that for one of his birthdays, Barbara had bought him a Picasso painting he had admired at an exhibition.

He added:

Not a Picasso print or a Picasso poster but a genuine Picasso. Actually, it wasn't just one, it was three.

Speaking about her gift-giving, which may be Barbara Broccoli’s love language, he said that she had a way of remembering details, whether a person had mentioned something six months or a year prior, they would get it as a gift.

He told Daily Mail at the time:

Barbara had an astonishing ability to remember detail. If you said you liked a painting, six months or a year later she would have found it and bought it for you.

On another occasion, the TV chef recalled the time he saw Ronan Keating on Top Of The Pops and liked the Tiffany ring the Irish singer was wearing. Next thing he knew, Barbara had bought him an identical ring for Christmas with a very sweet engraving: ‘Being with you is as easy as breathing’.

However, it was Barbara’s gift-giving that eventually caused their relationship to crumble.

The gift that ended James Martin and Barbara Broccoli’s relationship

At this point, James Martin and Barbara Broccoli had been a couple for five years, however, things came to an end after the James Bond producer gave the TV chef an extremely expensive gift.

As reported by Mirror, Barbara bought James a £180,000 Aston Martin, which left Martin feeling rather uncomfortable. Recalling this incident, James wrote in his memoir that the car wasn’t given to him for Christmas or even a birthday, it was just a ‘spur-of-the-moment thought’.

Martin then explained that this was a ‘defining moment’ in their relationship and he realised there would always be an ‘imbalance’ between them due to their age gap and vastly different careers.

He wrote, as per Mirror:

It wasn't as if it was my birthday or Christmas – it was just a spur-of-the-moment thought. It was a defining moment in our relationship. Deep down, I knew there was always going to be an imbalance.

James Martin reveals he regrets ending the relationship

Continuing to reflect on his relationship with Barbara Broccoli in his memoir, James Martin explains that after a while, the age gap began to make him feel uncomfortable and he was concerned that people would question his motives for dating someone 12 years older than him.

The age gap didn't help matters in public. When we went to functions I felt uncomfortable when people looked at me, this nobody, and probably thought, 'He's with her for the money'.

He then added that during his relationship with Barbara, he ‘never wanted anything’ from her but ‘male pride’ got in the way. He made an interesting admission in his memoir:

Maybe it's male pride but there were certain places I refused to go unless I paid.

James also recalls when he would say to Barbara that he hated the two of them being apart, the film producer suggested that James ‘give it all up’ and she would look after him. However, James, who loves his line of work, refused. He wrote:

That was the last thing I wanted. To be given a cheque every week? No thanks. I wanted to work.

Despite the power imbalance, James Martin does admit that he regrets breaking things off with Barbara Broccoli. As per Mirror, he said it may have been ‘the daftest thing I have done in my life’. Moreover, the TV chef also regrets speaking publicly about his relationship with Barbara and explains he wouldn’t do that again.

It was a big mistake. I stupidly didn't listen to people, but I won't be doing that again.

Indeed, he was true to his word and he spoke very little about his relationship with Louise Davies, and even waited months before announcing publicly that they had broken up.

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Sources used:

Mirror: ‘James Martin's huge regret over Barbara Broccoli split and lavish gift that doomed romance’

Daily Mail: ‘James Martin, 51, in his own words on the 'love of his life' Barbara Broccoli, 63, and the dark side of their age-gap romance that 'dented his male pride' - as he moves on from long-term girlfriend Louise Davies with Arun Nayar's ex-wife Kim Johnson’

Daily Mail: ‘Why did I split with Barbara Broccoli? She tried to buy me a £180,000 Aston Martin, by TV chef James Martin’

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