The West

Maths teacher divorces UKs richest woman
Maths teacher divorces UKs richest woman

A former maths teacher has split from his billionaire wife because he is sick of being wealthy.

London's Daily Mail reports that Tony Hawken, 57, is divorcing Xiu Li, 51, after 21 years of marriage

The couple were catapulted into the world of the super-rich after Li's idea of building shopping centres in disused Chinese air-raid shelters earned her about $1.9 billion by 2011 and placed her on Britian's Sunday Times Rich List.

The pair ditched their modest home in South Norwood, London, and bought a $2.7 million house in Surrey, according to the Daily Mail.

Ms Li, who is now worth $1.2 billion, quickly adapted to her luxurious lifestyle of swilling $1700-a-bottle wine on her superyacht.

But Mr Hawken told the Daily Mail he felt more comfortable shopping at op shops and having a counter meal at his local Wetherspoon's, a chain of English pubs.

He told The Times in London that he didn't like spending money.

"I think it made me uncomfortable because I'm not in the habit, I don't like spending lots of money - I've been brought up that way," Mr Hawken said. "Until recently I was never a wealthy person. I've been moderately comfortable because I have been careful with my money.

"I have got a settlement which is not great, but it's enough for me because I don't have an extravagant lifestyle. I won't have to work if I'm careful.

"I'm getting a pittance when you consider her potential wealth, but I don't really want to fight it."

Mr Hawken met Li on a blind date while he was still a teacher and she was studying English, according to the Daily Mail.

He told the Daily Mail his only regret was not getting a divorce sooner, but he "didn't push for it over fears it would affect the couple's teenage son".

Mr Hawken no longer teaches full-time, but instead gives free tuition to under-privileged children, the Mail reports.

The West Australian

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