James Cracknell has said he feels “very lucky” to be with his new girlfriend following the end of his marriage.
The Strictly Come Dancing contestant, 47, and TV presenter Beverley Turner, 45, announced earlier this year that their marriage was over.
The rower has since been pictured with US financier Jordan Connell, who is thought to be in her early 30s.
Speaking about his marriage, the double-Olympic gold medallist told the Mail On Sunday: “I would have left me a long time before we split. I don’t think I would have stuck it with me as long as she did.”
Cracknell, who fractured his skull and suffered a brain injury in a cycling accident in 2010, said: “Bev had it really hard. She had one husband for the first eight years we were married and a very, very different one for the rest.”
The father-of-three added: “The reality is that when I started to think ‘OK, I really need to do something here,’ Bev had already put so much effort in that she was understandably done.”
He said his relationship with Connell, who he met at Cambridge, marked a “new chapter in my life”.
“I was lucky at Cambridge to have met lots of people I wouldn’t usually have met but I didn’t think for one second one would end up becoming my girlfriend,” Cracknell, who helped Cambridge win the Boat Race, said.
“What I found really refreshing is that because Jordan is from New York, she had no perception of rowing.
“She knew nothing about it … It is really fun being with Jordan and I feel very lucky.”
Cracknell, who will be competing on Strictly alongside the likes of Anneka Rice and Michelle Visage, told the newspaper: “But I feel even luckier to have three amazing children who have an amazing mum.”