Dragons Den star Deborah Meaden felt 'forced' into wedding with husband Paul in candid confession

Deborah Meaden in red heels posing outside for a photo with her husband Paul
Deborah Meaden and Paul Farmer attend a dinner to mark the 25th anniversary of Tusk Trust (Chris Jackson)

Deborah Meaden, 65, is known for her no-nonsense approach to business on Dragons Den, but her husband Paul managed to change her mind on one very big life decision – marriage.

The millionaire has admitted she never wanted to get married before she wed Paul 30 years ago. In a candid comment about her private off-screen relationship, Deborah said they split over their different stances on marriage, and she was "forced" into it after rekindling their romance.

Deborah Meaden in a black dress with her Paul Meaden in a tux
Deborah Meaden and Paul Meaden at the Tusk Ball, Kensington Palace, (Richard Young/Shutterstock)

The businesswoman began by speaking positively about her marriage, telling The Guardian: "It just works. Listen, everybody goes through ups and downs. But there was never a point at which… no, that’s not true. We split up before we got married. He wanted to get married and I absolutely didn’t.

"We used to have those circular arguments, him saying, 'But why won’t you get married?' And me saying, 'What’s the point, we’re gonna stay together for the rest of our lives?'– 'If that’s right then Deborah, why don’t we just get married?' You know, we’d go round and round in circles. I still say to this day, he made me, he forced me."

Deborah Meaden in a floral dress with her husband Paul
Deborah Meaden and her husband Paul at the Best of Britannia show (Dominic Lipinski - PA Images)

Reflecting on their love story, Deborah said her initial reluctance was unwarranted and she has since warmed to the idea. "I was literally standing there outside the church, saying, 'I’m doing this for Paul'. He knows this! But I also say, and he knows this, too, that it’s the best thing I ever did," she added.


During an appearance on Loose Women, Deborah elaborated further, stating that she realised she'd made a mistake after they split.

"I thought, 'Oh [expletive], I really quite like him, this is the man I want to spend the rest of my life with,'" she said, adding: "He really wanted to and I thought we need to get married if I'm going to stay with him."

When Stacey Solomon probed her on her reservations, Deborah replied: "I thought I might lose my independence and I'd fought for that all my life, and then I realised I'd met somebody that I could still be me, he could still be him and we could still be together. That's the thing that made me think, 'Actually, what am I scared of?'"

She sweetly concluded: "For me, it just added to it, it didn't take anything away."

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Deborah and Paul met in their early twenties while he was working at Weststar, and they began dating in 1985. Eight years later, they tied the knot in 1993.

Throwback photos shared on X, formerly known as Twitter, show the newlyweds beaming on their wedding day, showing no signs of cold feet.

Deborah bucked tradition and opted for an unconventional red skirt teamed with a gold embroidered off-the-shoulder top. The bride's hair was styled in curls and pinned up, finished with a sparkly headpiece, drop pearl earrings and an ivory veil.

Her husband, whom she described as "very thoughtful", rocked a matching gold patterned waistcoat layered underneath a cherry red blazer and finished with a black tie.

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