Ted Turner’s complicated love life

The unlikely Lothario who divides his time between four girlfriends.

Like most billionaires, Ted Turner doesn't suffer from self-doubt. As a teenager, after nearly being expelled from his Ivy League college for entertaining a girl in his room, he told people he had three goals in life: "To be the world's greatest sailor, businessman and lover, at the same time." Well, he's "come close", says John Harlow in The Sunday Times: he's won the America's Cup, shaken up the broadcasting world with CNN and bedded some of the world's most beautiful women.

He's now back in the headlines, thanks to a piece in The Hollywood Reporter. According to this, he divides his time between four girlfriends (each of whom gets one week a month with him to share his 28 ranches and apartments), bird-watching and BBQ cookouts in Montana. Are the women, all much younger than Ted, happy about this? "Sort of," he says.

He's an unlikely Lothario, as Harlow says. At 73 he wears two hearing aids, "shuns popular TV and goes to bed at eight to read The Economist and don a face mask to aid his breathing through the night". Having once driven fast cars and worn white linen suits, like a latter-day Gatsby, he now drives a Toyota Prius and hasn't bought new clothes for five years. Nor does he drink any more, not even wine.

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Turner blames his father for his philandering, saying he was raised as a "male chauvinist pig". His father was a successful but unhappy entrepreneur, who made a fortune from billboard advertising, but shot himself. A constant womaniser while Ted was young, he crept into his son's bedroom to recount his adventures, saying women were "like buses: there will always be another one along in a minute".

Ted evidently believes the same, though he seems happier than his father and, to his credit, remains friendly with Jane Fonda, to whom he was married for ten years: they talk on the phone once a month.

An oligarch's unusual offer

The number of central London houses under British ownership continues, slowly but surely, to decline. In The Daily Telegraph, Boris Johnson tells how he met a "distinguished gentleman" who had lived in his house for about 35 years. The house is large and terraced "creaking staircase, cracks in the wall, a faint suggestion of cats as you enter the front hall".

In other words, it's the kind of Georgian or Victorian house you find all over London and nowadays it's worth a fortune. Boris's gentleman and his wife have brought up their children there and had no intention of moving. Yet he was flattered to be approached "by a nice Russian man who looked vaguely as if he might be an oligarch taking refuge from Putin. I want to buy your house,' said the oligarch, and named a stonking sum." The owner "goggled and Googled the oligarch".

Having discovered how much the man was worth, he got in touch again. "Why do you want to buy my house? Surely it isn't quite big enough for you?' Oh no,' said the oligarch crushingly. It's not for me. It's for my cleaner. She has said she wants to live nearer her place of work'."

Tabloid money The "galloping greed we've come to expect from top banks"

"It is one of the great puzzles of the age," says Rod Liddle in The Sun. "Why do people have lots of children they can't afford to provide for then demand that you pay out instead? Take Iona Heaton, from Blackburn. In fact PLEASE take Iona Heaton, right now to the clinic to get her tubes tied up or her legs sewn together whatever is cheapest.

She's expecting her tenth kid and her family is costing you £30,000 a year at the moment. Soon it will be more, when little Chardonnay or Tyson Heaton pops out of her mum's state-sponsored womb. Oh, and she wants you to pay for a new house because the present one isn't big enough....We might as well hand over a small county Leicestershire, say and let her carry on breeding."

And why does she have so many kids? "She wanted them. That's all. She'd always wanted a large' family. Well, I've always wanted to take Nastassja Kinski on a yachting holiday to the South Seas but I don't expect you to pay for it."

Barclays Bank has been accused of running a tax avoidance "factory" and has been told to repay £500m, says Fiona McIntosh in the Sunday Mirror. "This is despite its oily chief executive Bob Diamond urging bankers to be good citizens' and signing up to a voluntary code of practice, pledging not to engage in tax avoidance."

This is just another example of the "galloping greed we've come to know and expect from our top banks. If Mr Diamond really meant what he said about being a good citizen', he'd cap his executive bonuses and then lend the cash to struggling small businesses."

George Osborne should use this month's Budget to scrap the 50p top tax rate, says Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun. "It raises nothing and discourages the rich from spending more in Britain. Whingeing Lib Dems want something in return. So, let's lift more low earners out of tax altogether... a win-win deal for all sides."