James Cracknell opens up after splitting from his wife Beverley Turner after 17 years

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  • Double Olympic gold medallist James Cracknell opened up about how a devastating brain injury has affected his marriage.

    Today, rowing champion James Cracknell revealed why he and his wife Beverley Turner announced their surprise split last month.

    The news shocked fans of the couple, who had been married for 17 years and seemed to have a rock solid marriage.

    ‘We can confirm that sadly we separated last year,’ they said in a joint statement. ‘Together, we remain committed to our amazing children. They are our absolute priority and we wish people to be kind and mindful of this.’

    Beverley had stuck by James as he recovered from a serious brain injury, which altered his personality and left him with epilepsy after he was hit by a fuel truck travelling at 70 mph while cycling across America.

    At the time, a neuropsychologist warned the couple that three-quarters of people in their situation end up divorcing. But while Beverley vowed to ‘tough it out’, James has now revealed that the accident played a part in their decision to split.

    ‘It’s not like the accident was last year,’ he told BBC Radio 5 Live today. ‘It was nine years ago, but I guess there’s an element of if you’re the partner you always judge your other half through the prism of what has happened.’

    James Cracknell

    Credit: Getty Images

    James confessed that while his injury left him with a shorter fuse, he’d always been ‘slightly single-minded and stubborn, which is great if you’re a sportsman but not great to live with. So if you become more of that, that’s an issue.’

    But he credited Beverley and their three children Croyde, 14, Kiki, 10, and eight-year-old Trixie with being ‘a large part of why I recovered as well as I did and exceeded what a lot of neurologists expected.’

    ‘What is really important is for your partner and friends and family to be really honest with you,’ he explained. ‘Their support comes from an unconditional place of love and trust. I found I was getting a lot of sympathy, but you need someone to tell you straight.

    ‘We’re also, as any couple is, different people from who we were 17 years ago,’ he continued. ‘And we can look back and say we did everything.’

    He also admitted that the marriage had become a ‘struggle with three kids and two careers.’

    46-year-old James is set to become the oldest person ever to compete in the Boat Race on Sunday, after enrolling at Cambridge University as an MPhil student in human evolution.