Paul Hollywood regrets ever stepping into the Great British Bake Off tent because of the damage it did to his personal life.

He has been a presenter on the programme since 2010, amid its move from the BBC to Channel 4.

The Channel 4 presenter, 56, said the scrutiny he has faced since heading the baking show has “cut him to the core” and almost resulted in him losing his entire family completely.

Paul said his family relationships took a “massive hit” once he stepped into the limelight – especially once he was caught and nationally outed for his affair with fellow US Bake Off judge Marcela Valladolid in 2013, which led to his wife of 20 years Alex leaving him.

He said: “Would I have done Bake Off if I’d known all this stuff was going to happen, the loss of my private life? No, I wouldn’t have done it.

“Yes, the financial benefits are great. It’s a job, and to earn money you have to work hard, but ultimately what matters is your private life and your anonymity.”

Hollywood has since hit headlines for his romantic interests and again was under scrutiny for his recent relationship with barmaid Summer Monteys-Fullam, who he has been seeing since his divorce.

She ended things in 2019 after a two year relationship when he allegedly asked her to sign a legal non-disclosure order forbidding her from talking about their relationship.

He continued: “Anything to do with family, you have to be careful. Trying to maintain family relationships is really difficult when they’re in the public domain. It’s hard enough outside the public domain, but to do it in the public domain is impossible.

“I’m not a politician, I’m a judge on a baking show. The Bake Off job is pretty straightforward, it’s my passion, so to be able to evangelise through the programme is great. But the other stuff that goes with it is brutal and cut me to my core. I’ve had a few friends from childhood I’ve confided in but it’s difficult.”

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