Sports presenter Richard Keys is divorcing his wife sick with cancer 34 years – after she discovered he was having an alleged affair with one of her daughter’s friends.
The 59-year-old, who previously admitted behaving in a ‘prehistoric way’ toward women, is said to have had a relationship with a lawyer of 27 years old.
Keys has moved to the Middle East since he left his job at Sky Sports in disgrace after making sexist remarks.
And his wife Julia, mother of two children, had settled in a luxury villa in Qatar with her husband.
But Mrs. Keys, who has thyroid cancer, has returned to the UK amid allegations her husband was having an affair with Lucie Rose, who believed he had been a friend of her daughter Jemma, 31.
The 56-year-old is said to have confronted her husband before deciding to file for divorce on the grounds of adultery.
Keys and Miss Rose are understood to have been introduced by a mutual acquaintance on the expat social circuit in the Qatari capital Doha.
Pictures on social media of the lawyer – often in low-cut tops and figure-hugging skirts – suggest she was a regular on the party scene.
Last night sources told the Daily Mail it was ‘particularly cruel’ for Keys to behave like this while his wife was having treatment.
One said: ‘This is the most appalling behaviour.
‘He knew that Julia was very ill but carried on anyway. It has knocked Julia for six and it has had an adverse effect on her health. She is absolutely devastated.’
Lawyers acting for Mrs Keys submitted divorce papers to a British court in August.
They have sent the papers to Keys and Miss Rose.
The presenter is understood to be returning to Britain next week for a showdown with his wife.
But Mrs Keys, who is a psychotherapist, feels her husband has ‘run out of chances’ and wants ‘closure so she can rebuild her life’. A source said: ‘When Richard made those sexist remarks at Sky Sports there was a lot of bad feeling towards him.
‘Despite the outcry, Julia stood by him and made a highly public show of her support for him.
‘She was his rock back then and now when she needs him the most to help her fight her illness, he does this. It is despicable.’
Keys presented Sky Sports’ coverage of Premier League football for 19 years, before resigning from his £500,000-a-year job in disgrace in 2011.
He and co-presenter Andy Gray had made disparaging off-air remarks about female match official Sian Massey, claiming she did not know the offside law.
In another studio conversation, which was filmed but not transmitted, Keys asked pundit Jamie Redknapp about a former girlfriend. The presenter asked him: ‘Did you smash it?’ – slang for: ‘Did you have sex with her?’
At the time, Sky Sports insiders revealed that Keys and Gray had been dubbed the ‘Axis of Evil’ by colleagues because of their abrasive style. One who had worked with the pair for many years said: ‘That was a response to them being a law unto themselves and notoriously difficult to control. Basically they thought they ran the operation – and treated the producer as just a necessary lieutenant.’
Keys then presented a Saturday football show on TalkSport radio, before being lured to Qatar.
He is now the face of the BeIN sports channels and has a lucrative contract until the end of the World Cup in Qatar in 2022.
Friends fear the alleged affair with Miss Rose will have a devastating impact on Jemma, who starred in Channel 4 soap Hollyoaks from 2004 to 2007, and the couple’s son Josh, 27. Jemma is believed to have become friends with Miss Rose in Qatar before the alleged affair developed.
Miss Rose worked in the legal department of the Qatar Investment Authority for almost two years before returning to Britain to live with her sister in a flat in Hackney, east London. She now works as private equity lawyer at the London branch of international law firm Baker & McKenzie.
Last night Mrs Keys, who lives in Berkshire, failed to respond to requests for comment about the divorce proceedings.
Keys and Miss Rose also refused to comment.