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Petra Ecclestone splits from husband James Stunt after five years

The billionaire couple are parents to three young children

by Gemma Strong

Petra Ecclestone and husband James Stunt are ending their five year marriage. Petra, 28, who is the daughter of Formula One boss Bernie Ecclestone, appeared at London High Court on Wednesday for the first divorce hearing, supported by her father. Petra and James, 35, are set to become embroiled in an estimated £5billion divorce battle. Assets include a £158million mansion in Los Angeles, and a Grade II-listed home in Chelsea worth around £100million.

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Petra Ecclestone and sister Tamara with their husbands, James Stunt and Jay Rutland

Petra and James have hired some of the country's most high-profile divorce lawyers; Petra is being represented by Baroness Fiona Shackleton, who worked for Paul McCartney during his divorce from Heather Mills, while James arrived at court with his lawyer David Sherborne. During Wednesday's proceedings, the court heard that James – who runs a gold bullion firm – had signed a prenuptial agreement prior to his wedding to Petra. His personal assets are thought to include a wine collection worth millions, and two Chelsea properties.

Petra and James are parents to three children together; daughter Lavinia, four, and two-year-old twin sons James Jr and Andrew. The former couple tied the knot in August 2011 in a lavish ceremony at the 15th century Odescalchi Castle on Lake Bracciano in Italy – the same venue chosen by Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes for their 2006 nuptials.

 

Sisters by chance. Best friends by choice. Always in your corner. Love you to the moon and back ❤️

A post shared by Tamara Ecclestone Rutland (@tamaraecclestoneofficial) on

Tamara posted a sweet message for her younger sister on Instagram

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The initial divorce hearing fell on the same day that Petra's older sister Tamara Ecclestone celebrated her 33rd birthday. Tamara shared a number of photos from her family celebrations – alongside one snapshot she wrote: "I am so lucky to have such an amazing sister to throw me a surprise party. We have a lot to be thankful for, most of all each other." She also shared a photo showing her and Petra together, writing: "Sisters by chance. Best friends by choice. Always in your corner. Love you to the moon and back."