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Hilary Devey’s Family Angst Revealed after the ‘Dragons’ Den’ Star Dies at 65

Gaone Pule
Jun 14, 2022
11:30 A.M.
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English television presenter Hilary Devey had her fair share of troubled life that included devastating heart-breaks, making her fear marriage afterward.


"Dragons' Den" star Hilary Devey has passed away following a long battle with illness, The Sun reported. Devey was living at her holiday home in Morocco when she tragically died on June 11, 2022, at age 65.

The TV favorite's spokesman confirmed her passing to the publication, revealing the businesswoman had been ill for a while.

Businesswoman Hilary Devey attending the British Comedy Awards at Fountain Studios on December 16, 2011 in London, England. / Source: Getty Images


"I can confirm that Hilary sadly died yesterday. She had been ill for some time," said the spokesman. Devey's publicist described her as a "remarkable lady and an inspiration" who was "so proud" of her work on "Dragons' Den."

Meanwhile, the managing director for Factual Entertainment and Events at BBC Studios stated the TV star would forever hold a special place in their hearts:

"Hilary Devey will always hold a unique place in the hearts of ‘Dragons’ Den’ viewers and the program team. We are all extremely saddened by her loss and our thoughts at this time are with her family and friends."

Hilary Devey during the Pride Of Britain Awards at The Grosvenor House Hotel on October 31, 2016 in London, England. / Source: Getty Images


"Dragons' Den" is a reality show where entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to five multi-millionaires known as the "five dragons," who pledge to invest their fortune in ventures they believe would do well.

In paying tribute to Devey, fellow co-stars from the show took to Twitter to share their sincerest condolences on the platform. Deborah Meaden tweeted: "Very sad to learn that Hilary Devey has passed away at only 65. She was unique in every way and brought grit and warmth with her into the Den."


Peter Jones described Devey as an inspiring woman with whom he had a good time on the TV series. While Theo Paphitis said: "She left us all with some fantastic memories. May she rest in peace."

Duncan Bannatyne commented, saying the multi-millionaire entrepreneur was "so young. Too young. Rest in peace, Hilary."


Devey joined BBC Two program "Dragons' Den" in 2011 and left in 2012 to present Channel 4's "The Intern." The TV personality became famous for her robust approach and usually sported shoulder-padded business wear.

Devey founded the multi-million-pound freight distribution business Pall-Ex, after her sacrifice of selling her home and car in the 1990s to finance it. Through her business, she employed 7,500 people across nine countries.


The "Hotel GB" star was referred to as Cruella de Vil in "Dragons' Den" because she was a strong, self-made businesswoman playing an iconic role in the show paying tribute to the thing that made her successful, using pallets as shoulder pads.

Yet Devey told The Scotsman in June 2012 that money did not bring her happiness, adding it only brought the opposite of what one may expect:

"Money doesn't bring happiness. It brings sadness. Materialistic success doesn't mean much, to be honest. You can see the pain in my eyes."



Devey was born in March 1957 to parents Wyn Cross and Arthur Brewster. Her father ran a successful central heating business, and she described both parents as a perfect pair like "Don and Betty Draper."

However, when Brewster went bankrupt when she was only seven years old, things turned upside down. Devey's family had bailiffs come into their family home to repossess everything in it as her dad owed his biggest client after things fell apart on the business side of things.

That was before her mother discovered years into her relationship with her spouse that he had another secret family. A wife and four kids. Devey told Desert Island Discs that her mother eventually left her father, but he managed to win her back - "my mother was the love of my father's life."


Hilary Devey during an appearance on "The Graham Norton Show," at The London Studios in London./ Source: Getty Images

Heartbreakingly, history later repeated itself when Devey revealed how "devastated" she was in the 1980s after receiving a call from a woman who claimed she was her partner's wife and they had five children together.


She recalled when her child Mevlit, whom she shares with former lover Hussain, was 18 months old when the pair were watching television and the phone rang. The unidentified woman told Devey that she wanted to talk about the five kids Hussain, a Turkish businessman, had left behind:

"When I did find out in later years and asked him why he'd be lying, he said ‘because I didn't want to lose you.’"

Hilary Devey attending the Pride of Britain Awards at the Grosvenor House, on October 7, 2013 in London, England. / Source: Getty Images


She parted ways with him but returned numerous times because she loved him. Devey was married three times. Her first marriage was to Malcolm Sharples in 1976, whom she wed when she was only eighteen. Sharples was her childhood sweetheart and first boyfriend.

The former couple divorced in 1978. The mother of one later divulged that Sharples was not strong enough and was the complete opposite of who and what she was.

The brunette's second marriage was to Ed Devey, whom she said 'I do' to after founding her thriving business, Pall-Ex. At the time, she already had her son, Mevlit, who did not get along with Ed.

Hilary Devey spotted at BBC Radio One on December 7, 2011 in London, England. / Source: Getty Images


Moreover, she discovered that he only loved her for her money: "My money has been loved more than me," said Devey. Therefore, their union was short-lived.

She wed for the third time to Philip Childs in 2011, a former pub manager and property developer. The duo met when Devey was remodeling her holiday home in Spain. However, Devey and Childs filed for divorce in 2013.

Hilary Devey during Pride of Britain Awards at Grosvenor House, on October 3, 2011 in London, England. / Source: Getty Images


Devey wrote in her book, "Bold As Brass: My Story" that after marrying Childs, she realized they both came with baggage as they wed in middle age and revealed to The Scotsman that their marriage was over before it even began:

"The marriage lasted one day, then it was over, down the pan almost before the wedding reception was finished. Of course, it was hard knowing I'd got it wrong, yet again."

Devey said she had made peace that she would be alone for the rest of her life, adding she enjoyed her own company. "Looking back has been painful. All that heartache. Revisiting the past has been hard," she stated.

Hilary Devey pictured on stage during the 2012 National Television Awards at the O2, Greenwich, London. / Source: Getty Images


When speaking on her third divorce, "The Business Inspector" star said the experience was "one of the unhappiest periods of my life," stating it was difficult knowing that she endured another failed marriage:

"I feel hurt, angry, and a little bewildered because I can't seem to get it right with men. I will never marry again."



Devey has an adult son, Mevlit Brewster-Ahmet, who is 35 years old. When Mevlit was in his teens, he developed a chronic drug addiction spending $700 a day on heroin.

His mother revealed in February 2011 that she spent over $600,000 on his recovery, adding though he no longer took heroin, he occasionally smoked marijuana. Devey shared that her son almost died from drug intake when she found out about it.

In October 2015, the doting mom divulged on ITV's "Loose Women" that she smothered Mevlit growing up. At age 10, he was allowed to share a bed with his mother and could still come and sit on her bed at age 29. Devey defended her way of parenting, saying it was a motherly instinct.


When she was 35, she discovered that her child had severe dyslexia with a reading age of five at 11. Devey later told the Daily Mail that it was a good thing she could afford to enroll Mevlit at a boarding school in Lichfield in Staffordshire.

However, she realized it would only cause a rift between them because he thought he was being pushed away. Things became worse when she remarried and later divorced Ed. Mevlit began taking drugs and became manipulative, leaving his mother oblivious to his actions.

When he told her over the phone years later, Devey did whatever she could to save her son. Following the rollercoaster ride of drug addiction, the mother and son remained close, with Mevlit living at the family home.


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