Snooker legend Willie Thorne’s 24-year marriage ended after his wife decided she could no longer live with his “lies”, a pal has revealed.
Jill Saxby, a former Miss Great Britain, had desperately wanted to make it work – but things had become too much after years of dealing with Willie’s gambling addiction.
The friend said: “She’s a Sheffield lass and as tough as steel – she knew it was a decision she had to make.
“Jill doesn’t want to be defined by Willie Thorne, she’s her own person and won’t be walked over by anyone any more.
“She could no longer live with his lies over money and felt she had no choice.”
Jill’s daughter treated her to a trip to New York as a belated 60th birthday gift so she could gather her thoughts after the split. Willie, 65, ran up £1million of debts during years of gambling addiction.
The friend said: “Jill feels hurt after everything she did for Willie.
“She nursed him through mental health and ill health issues, including his prostate cancer in 2015.
Now she finds herself at 60 looking for a new place to live after their home was repossessed.
“But being away with her daughter and strolling through Central Park has let her take stock of her life.
“She’s determined to rebuild things as quickly as possible.
“She wants to inspire others whose partners have addictions, that they can rebuild their lives.”
Former BBC commentator Willie, who moved to Villamartin in Spain with Jill earlier this year, announced the split on social media last month.
In a now deleted post, he said: “Just so everybody knows… Jill and I have separated. I hope to be staying here in Spain.”
The Sunday Mirror told two weeks ago how their home in Broughton Astley, near Leicester, had been repossessed after mortgage payments fell behind.
Jill and Willie both declined to comment.
In 2015, the year he was made bankrupt, Willie told how Jill found him in a hotel room seconds from killing himself.