So did she or didn’t she? Jennifer Arcuri continues to be not saying if she had an affair with Boris Johnson. Not precisely.
However she doesn’t need you to suppose, not for one minute, that she wasn’t somebody particular in his life. Mistress, girlfriend, lover, courtesan? Pray do inform, Jennifer, what was the precise nature of your function? We’re all dying to know.
‘I used to be Boris’s Anne Boleyn,’ says Arcuri in her first print interview for the reason that scandal broke. You had been? ‘I certain was,’ she insists.
‘Anne Boleyn made Henry VIII actually loopy for six years as a result of she wouldn’t give him her advantage. She by no means gave away an excessive amount of of herself as a result of she knew that if she did, what occurred to her sister would occur to her.’
‘I used to be Boris’s Anne Boleyn,’ says Arcuri (pictured) in her first print interview for the reason that scandal broke. You had been? ‘I certain was,’ she insists
Mary Boleyn had an adulterous relationship with the king and was later banished from courtroom.
But certainly Anne’s destiny was worse? She seduced Henry VIII, lured him away from his loyal spouse and little one, solely to be cruelly solid apart and her status ripped aside, earlier than her life ended on a scaffold on the Tower of London.
Fortunately, Jennifer Arcuri’s head continues to be on her shoulders.
Simply as Anne Boleyn as soon as loved the advantages of maintaining a robust man in her thrall, it’s clear Jennifer did precisely the identical in her relationship with the Prime Minister, again when he was the Mayor of London.
‘I used to be categorically clear that the second I gave Boris my advantage, I might be solid out. That’s why I made him my buddy. I might say issues like: “You don’t need me, I’m excessive upkeep and really demanding.” He used to chuckle and say: ‘I don’t imagine that in any respect.’
‘I used to be categorically clear that the second I gave Boris (Johnson my advantage, I might be solid out. That’s why I made him my buddy. I might say issues like: “You don’t need me, I’m excessive upkeep and really demanding.” He used to chuckle and say: ‘I don’t imagine that in any respect.’
He did? ‘He did. He would say: “Jennifer, you’re the Mount Everest each man desires to climb.” However the very last thing I wished to be was the lady that confirmed up, sh***ed him and left.’
Who does? ‘Proper. And it was much more rewarding for me to have a friendship with Boris as a result of he was charismatic and enjoyable and a stimulating particular person.’
Sitting throughout from me in the lounge of her Los Angeles residence, there may be certainly a faint contact of the dimpled Tudor wench about her. However together with her blonde hair, California tan and curvy determine she is a really trendy femme fatale.
In response to her model of occasions, Boris by no means acquired his crampons on and made a touch for the Jen-summit. Whereas it appears unlikely for a person together with his libidinous status, Jennifer appears eager to not put her outdated good friend underneath any extra stress, and isn’t going to elaborate.
What she’s going to say is that they had been pals from 2011 till they final spoke in 2016. A five-year ‘factor’, regardless of the ‘factor’ was.
How did they spend their time collectively within the capital? As soon as they went to a restaurant known as Fish! in Borough Market. On one other event they met in an Italian restaurant, however she felt uncomfortable as a result of individuals had been observing them as they sat at a nook desk.
She knew of his womaniser status, but it surely didn’t trouble her. ‘The affair with Petronella had occurred years in the past. (Boris famously dated the daughter of Labour grandee Lord Wyatt for 4 years whereas he was editor of The Spectator — and whereas married to long-suffering spouse Marina Wheeler — and acquired her pregnant at the least as soon as). I wasn’t sitting there, questioning him about his marriage. I didn’t care,’ she says.
The bold American, a former mannequin and DJ, agrees that it was a lift to her fledging profession in know-how to have one in all Britain’s most compelling politicians in her nook
Boris, nevertheless, was extraordinarily desirous about her love life. ‘He’d say: “Are you driving males loopy? Are the lads filling the streets with weeping tears? I noticed a person sobbing earlier — please inform me you didn’t break his coronary heart.” He’d ask me who I used to be courting and I’d say: “Everybody.” And he was like: “Oh! Did you give them your advantage?” ’
A few of their dates had been basic Boris, and never within the historic Greek sense. As soon as he organized to satisfy her at a pub close to Tavistock Sq. in Central London, however he fell asleep at residence and forgot.
‘Then he known as and mentioned: “Jennifer, the place are you?” And I mentioned I used to be going residence and who the hell did he suppose he was. I look ahead to no man, Boris, not even you.”
‘He mentioned: “Keep there, I’m coming.” So I waited within the pub and at last he arrived, all sweaty and out of breath together with his bike helmet nonetheless on. He went to the bar however got here again as a result of he didn’t have any cash and mentioned: “Jennifer, can I borrow £3.10?” I went: “Oh My God” and acquired him a beer.’
She additionally prides herself on the truth that they might be frank with one another. ‘He requested me at some point: “How do I look?” And I mentioned: “Pale and fats — and nobody likes a chubby chief!” I informed him to put off the gluten and eat extra greens and he thought that was wise. I might speak to him like that as a result of I used to be his muse.’ Muse, Anne Boleyn, advantage keeper, Himalayan mountain, private dietitian and, after all, tech assist skilled who might clarify the intricacies of ‘Google hangout’ to the nice Boris mind — this lady’s function in his life is getting difficult.
And, to be sincere, it looks like an terrible lot of effort for a 55-year-old, twice-married man with haystack hair who’s hardly the catch of the century.
Jennifer appears to be like a bit damage at this. ‘I simply thought he was probably the most charismatic and interesting human. I used to be very a lot in awe of his presence. It was an advanced friendship that would have gone someplace in one other life, but it surely didn’t.’ Actually, regardless of the friendship parameters had been between these two high-octane blond(e)s, it appeared to work for them each.
The bold American, a former mannequin and DJ, agrees that it was a lift to her fledging profession in know-how to have one in all Britain’s most compelling politicians in her nook.
Jennifer persuaded then-mayor Boris to ship the keynote speech at a networking tech occasion in London that she helped organise in 2012, giving her on the spot credibility in her adopted nation.
The 34-year-old went on to arrange a sequence of firms that had been awarded £126,000 in public cash and went on three abroad commerce journeys led by Boris after officers initially turned her down for 2 of them.
This has proved problematic. The PM is now going through battle of curiosity allegations and is underneath investigation by the London Meeting over his hyperlinks to Arcuri throughout his interval of workplace.
He has refused to disclaim that he had an affair with the feisty American however insists that ‘every thing was achieved with full propriety’ when quizzed on the matter. And unsurprisingly, she agrees.
‘All of the grants my firm acquired had been completely above board and, as a businesswoman, I had each proper to be on these commerce delegations,’ she tells me.
‘My achievements are my achievements and it’s not due to Boris Johnson that I’ve been in a position to do all of the issues I did in England like give a TED [Technology, Entertainment, Design] speak and construct profitable companies.’
Truly, it was due to two independently organised talks in Manchester and Liverpool about her views on cyber expertise and cyber safety — however nicely achieved, Jennifer.
Because the information broke final month, she has refused to enter element concerning the extent of her relationship with the chief at the moment battling for Brexit.
She has teased and hinted — not admitting something however not denying it both. On ITV’s Good Morning Britain this week, Piers Morgan requested six instances if she had been intimate with Boris and 6 instances she refused to reply. Again residence in California, she is enjoying the identical sport with me.
‘I don’t wish to say there was no affair and I don’t wish to say there was an affair,’ she says solemnly. ‘I simply need individuals to see there was a singular connection between me and Boris. We undoubtedly acquired on.’
Certainly, in contemporaneous images of the pair it’s apparent that there was explosive chemistry surging between them.
Folks observed how struck she and Boris had been with one another once they appeared at public occasions — and rumours of an affair have been circulating for years.
‘There have been instances, at crowded occasions, the place he’d search me out,’ she acknowledges. ‘I do know this sounds loopy however once I enter a room I’ve a sure type of presence, one which made him completely happy to see me. We did appeal to consideration, sure.’
On a commerce journey to Malaysia the place each had been current, she addressed the rumours challenge with Boris’s PR chief Will Walden. ‘I walked proper over to Will and mentioned: “Look — no story. It’s full smoke and mirrors.” ’ And what did Mr Walden say? ‘He mentioned: “Let’s simply maintain it that means, Jennifer.” ’
You may see why Boris — or any red-blooded man — would discover Jennifer engaging.
Along with her low, throaty voice and mane of golden hair she oozes intercourse enchantment and is nice enjoyable.
She does a intelligent Boris impression (‘Jennifer, do I look fats on this go well with?’ she growls, in a honking posh voice) is unapologetically loud and clearly the life and soul of any celebration — as long as it’s a celebration that doesn’t go on for too lengthy.
At one level she goes upstairs and reappears sporting the Again Boris T-shirt she wore throughout his mayoral marketing campaign. ‘After all I stored it,’ she says, and does a little bit dance.
We meet at her spacious, four-bedroomed rented residence in Huntington Seaside, a metropolis south-east of Los Angeles, which she shares with husband Matthew Hickey and their pleasant two-year-old daughter Madeleine.
The couple met in 2016, rapidly married and are co-directors of their enterprise which trains cyber safety professionals.
‘I’ve been sincere with my husband about Boris. He didn’t wish to know any particulars, but it surely’s an outrage that my husband’s status is being dragged via the mud due to all this. He’s an absolute genius and works extremely exhausting,’ she says loyally. She complains that the couple’s enterprise ‘is a tiny start-up that’s simply making an attempt to outlive however it’s being dissected like a multi-million-pound company’.
There’s a slight air of chaos round her residence, with unwashed dishes within the sink and piles of child toys and garments strewn across the room. She says she has been underneath siege for the reason that rumours about her relationship with Boris exploded and that she has let the house responsibilities go hold.
It hasn’t helped that the intrigue has been ratcheted up by pictures of her trying buxom in a maid’s outfit and her and Boris standing carefully by his mayoral marketing campaign bus.
To not point out the final hilarity about the truth that she had a dancing pole put in in her top-floor flat in Shoreditch, East London.
A lot has been manufactured from the truth that Boris visited her there on plenty of events and we hate to be British about this, Jennifer, however we’re fascinated by your pole. ‘Huh? I solely had it put in as a result of it’s good train. I might activate YouTube and do exercises on it. Plus, I used to be renting the flat out on Airbnb. You already know, having that pole in the lounge acquired me numerous renters.’
Did she and Boris ever get pleasure from it collectively? ‘I didn’t pole dance for Boris and Boris has by no means pole danced for me,’ she shrieks.
‘And he wasn’t coming to my residence — he was coming to my workplace. It’s common for individuals in start-ups to do business from home.’
What the tales and raunchy footage don’t converse of is her intelligence, apparent ambition and entrepreneurial expertise. Jennifer is
no dumb blonde. She studied at two American universities and took film-making and economics courses on the American College in Paris.
She got here to the UK seven years in the past to launch her profession in tech and it was this work that led to her to cross paths with Boris. They met at a British Enterprise Capital occasion when she went up and launched herself.
‘He was like “whoa!” she recollects modestly. ‘I didn’t tremble. My voice wasn’t shaky.
‘I used to be very keen about my work and he might inform that instantly. Later he informed me: “After I noticed you, I went ooh; she’s completely different.” He was intrigued by me.’
The second time they met was on the Conservative battle bus when he was campaigning for his second time period as London Mayor. She recollects how Boris climbed to the highest deck of the bus, sat immediately behind her and began speaking.
He was carrying a group of brief tales by Voltaire they usually talked about literature, discovering a mutual ardour for Shakespeare.
Jennifer has studied his works since she was 9 and may reel off enormous passages verbatim from King Lear and A Midsummer Evening’s Dream.
She does this now, at a roaring Vanessa Redgrave pitch. One wonders how Boris ever acquired a phrase in edgeways however by some means he did. She gave him her quantity, he texted her that evening and the remaining is historical past, if solely both of them would affirm it. Although it was 2016 when she final noticed him, curiously, she says she has held on to the texts he despatched her however stopped answering them when she turned pregnant.
If Boris was such an expensive platonic good friend, wasn’t it merciless and certainly irrational to drop him so all of a sudden?
‘It was. It’s one of many issues I’ve considered up to now three years.
‘A good friend informed me I didn’t owe Boris something and I keep in mind pondering that, sure, I do. However I had a tough being pregnant and was unwell for a lot of it. So I put Boris in a field,’ she shrugs.
‘Clearly he didn’t care that a lot. He and his spouse are divorcing and he’s acquired a brand new girlfriend. If discovering anyone to maneuver on with in his life was the objective, I hope he’s discovered that with Carrie. But it surely’s unhappy. I want that I had talked to him a little bit extra.’
So what subsequent for this pair of star-crossed completely not lovers, to paraphrase their beloved Shakespeare?
In London, Boris battles on together with his Brexit technique.
In California, Jennifer is concentrating on rebuilding her life and repairing the reputational harm achieved to her enterprise. She’s been inundated with gives to go on tv and is contemplating an look on Unfastened Girls.
She’s additionally hoping to write down a ebook about feminine entrepreneurship and the issues that may journey ladies up.
She is unquestionably the go-to lady for that.