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Former wife of Roman Abramovich gives first interview 11 years after they split and discusses their children, her jet-set lifestyle - and how her marriage was like a 'gilded cage'

Daily Mail logo Daily Mail 12/09/2018 Will Stewart In Moscow for MailOnline

Former wife of Roman Abramovich gives first interview in a decade © Daily Mail Former wife of Roman Abramovich gives first interview in a decade Roman Abramovich's ex-wife has given her first interview 11 years after they split - and spoke of her pride in their five children.

Irina Abramovich, a London-based former Aeroflot stewardess who wed Russian tycoon Abramovich in 1991, also revealed she is now deeply religious.

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But the wealthy divorcee says she still has a jet-set lifestyle travelling the world while also admitting she closely guards her privacy.

a group of people sitting posing for the camera: Irina Abramovich (pictured with Abramovich and three of their children in 1999), a London-based former Aeroflot stewardess, wed Russian tycoon Abramovich in 1991 © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Irina Abramovich (pictured with Abramovich and three of their children in 1999), a London-based former Aeroflot stewardess, wed Russian tycoon Abramovich in 1991

She gave an interview with Russian Tatler, which reported: 'If an ideal divorce exists, this is the one of Roman and Irina Abramovich.'

The couple - who went their separate ways in 2007 with their divorce settlement a closely guarded secret - have not said 'a single bad word' about each other in public.

a woman sitting on a table: Roman Abramovich's ex-wife Irina (pictured) has given her first interview 11 years after they split © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Roman Abramovich's ex-wife Irina (pictured) has given her first interview 11 years after they split

'People close to them say that the Abramovich couple have amicable relations,' the profile adds.

In addition, his five older children are on good terms with his youngest son and daughter Aaron and Leah by Dasha Zhukova, Abramovich's third wife, from whom he has also now split.

'All Roman's children are friends and often spend time together and with their father,' Russian Tatler reported.

a group of people posing for a photo: Roman and Irina Abramovich had five children together before they split. Pictured, the former couple with three of their children © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Roman and Irina Abramovich had five children together before they split. Pictured, the former couple with three of their children

'If we do not see it, it is because Irina does not need to demonstrate this ideal life to the whole of Instagram.'

She continues to be 'pursued by journalists' but until now has 'politely' turned down interview requests, the publication said, adding 'she is not interested in being the ex wife of Chelsea owner, she has got a new and no less eventful life.'

Chelsea's Frank Lampard (L) and owner Roman Abramovich celebrate after the Barclays Premiership match against Bolton Wanderers. Chelsea claimed the title after their 2-0 win.   (Photo by Nick Potts - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Images Chelsea's Frank Lampard (L) and owner Roman Abramovich celebrate after the Barclays Premiership match against Bolton Wanderers. Chelsea claimed the title after their 2-0 win. (Photo by Nick Potts - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images)

But agreeing to talk to the Russian publication, Irina, 51, said it was a 'pleasure' to talk about her children, before lifting the veil on their current activities.

The Eclipse super yacht, owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, is shown at the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach, Florida, U.S. November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joe Skipper © Thomson Reuters The Eclipse super yacht, owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, is shown at the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach, Florida, U.S. November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joe Skipper 'The eldest one, Anna, 26, is graduating from Colombia University as a philosopher,' she said.

'Arkady, 25, works - he has a successful business.'

Sofia, 21, is known to be a keen horsewoman and graduated from Royal Holloway University in London, said her mother.

a person standing next to a dog: The wealthy divorcee says she still has a jet-set lifestyle travelling the world while also admitting she closely guards her privacy © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited The wealthy divorcee says she still has a jet-set lifestyle travelling the world while also admitting she closely guards her privacy

She 'is still active in sports, she takes part in show jumping competitions.

Arina, believed to be 17, 'is finishing college and plans to enrol into a zoology faculty in Australia'.

She said: 'Ilya, 16, studies in a London school, sitting his GCSE exams now.'

Businessman Roman Abramovich (L) and Evraz Group Chairman of the Board Alexander Abramov ahead of a meeting of Russia's President Vladimir Putin with Russian business community representatives, at the Moscow Kremlin. Sergei Savostyanov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Savostyanov\TASS via Getty Images) Businessman Roman Abramovich (L) and Evraz Group Chairman of the Board Alexander Abramov ahead of a meeting of Russia's President Vladimir Putin with Russian business community representatives, at the Moscow Kremlin. Sergei Savostyanov/TASS (Photo by Sergei Savostyanov\TASS via Getty Images) Irina made clear that she and her ex-husband are united in the way they have raised their children.

'We are trying to teach our children kindness, compassion, a hard working habit,' she said.

A wall around Chateau-de-la-Croe, a villa owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, on the French Riviera (Cote d'Azure). Dominique Boutin/TASS (Photo by Dominique Boutin\TASS via Getty Images) A wall around Chateau-de-la-Croe, a villa owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, on the French Riviera (Cote d'Azure). Dominique Boutin/TASS (Photo by Dominique Boutin\TASS via Getty Images) The then Irina Malandina met Abramovich when the Chelsea owner travelled on an Aeroflot plane when she worked as a flight attendant.

Her father had died when she was two, and she grew up in poverty in the Soviet era.

a person standing posing for the camera: Ambramovich's five older children are on good terms with his youngest son and daughter Aaron and Leah by Dasha Zhukova (pictured with Abramovich last year) from whom he has also now split © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Ambramovich's five older children are on good terms with his youngest son and daughter Aaron and Leah by Dasha Zhukova (pictured with Abramovich last year) from whom he has also now split During their marriage he switched from being a powerful but reclusive figure in Russia's post-Soviet rollercoaster business and political world to becoming a household name in the West as owner of the London football club.

Businessman Roman Abramovich at the 2017 Kinotavr Film Festival in Sochi. Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS (Photo by Vyacheslav Prokofyev\TASS via Getty Images) Businessman Roman Abramovich at the 2017 Kinotavr Film Festival in Sochi. Vyacheslav Prokofyev/TASS (Photo by Vyacheslav Prokofyev\TASS via Getty Images) Their life together was compared to living in a 'gilded cage' with security guards who formerly worked for Russian and British intelligence.

While she has shunned publicity since her divorce, she said: 'I can't agree that my lifestyle is too private.

Chelsea club owner Roman Abramovich  (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Chelsea club owner Roman Abramovich (AP Photo/Matt Dunham, File)

'Yes, it lacks the beau monde shine - but there is enough light in it.

'And this light comes from communication within my family, meetings with friends, frequent trips around the world, meetings with people from different cultural backgrounds.

Alexander Shokhin (L), president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), and businessman Roman Abramovich   (Photo by Sergei Savostyanov\TASS via Getty Images) Alexander Shokhin (L), president of the Russian Union of Industrialists and Entrepreneurs (RSPP), and businessman Roman Abramovich (Photo by Sergei Savostyanov\TASS via Getty Images) 'Maybe you can hardly see me at public events but we can often see each other in the church, at an exhibition, in a museum or the theatre.'

Irina stressed: 'My home is always open to my friends. I prefer parties at home to restaurants.

The Eclipse superyacht, owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, is seen at the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach, Florida, U.S. November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joe Skipper © Thomson Reuters The Eclipse superyacht, owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich, is seen at the Port of Palm Beach in Riviera Beach, Florida, U.S. November 24, 2017. REUTERS/Joe Skipper 'It is much more precious for me when I can share the events of my life with the people spiritually close to me, to be happy alongside them, to complain about something, to ask for their prayers.

'Many of them are well-known public people who value friendship and sincere relations very highly. It is a mutual thing.'

The Prestige star Sir Michael Caine with Irina Abramovich in 2006 (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) © PA Images The Prestige star Sir Michael Caine with Irina Abramovich in 2006 (Photo by Yui Mok - PA Images/PA Images via Getty Images) Asked about her interests today, she said: 'First of all, everything that can make you really happy.

'Interaction with God, children, close friends. I am constantly interested in everything going on in the world of culture.

Businessman Roman Abramovich  (Photo by Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images) Businessman Roman Abramovich (Photo by Anton Novoderezhkin\TASS via Getty Images) 'I collect Byzantine and Russian icons.'

Irina is known to support the Church of Antipa on Kolymazhny Yard in Moscow.

While ex-husband Abramovich now has an Israeli passport and is interested in his Jewish roots, Irina has found solace in the Orthodox Church.

Businessman Roman Abramovich (L) and chairwoman of the board of directors at Forward Media Group, Polina Deripaska,  (Photo by Vyacheslav Prokofyev\TASS via Getty Images) Businessman Roman Abramovich (L) and chairwoman of the board of directors at Forward Media Group, Polina Deripaska, (Photo by Vyacheslav Prokofyev\TASS via Getty Images) 'There is an expression – we are what we eat,' she said.

'It is partly right. We also are what we believe in.

'You should agree that faith helps us to overcome various difficulties and the main thing is that it in any circumstances it helps us to remain truly human.'

In this historic church she said she had 'met many amazing people with different views (and) professions but with equally strong faith.

'It is one huge friendly and united family, a home where joy and love always rule.'

a man sitting at a table and smiling at the camera: Irina spoke of how she travels the world, continuing an adventure that began on her ex-husband's famous fleet of ocean-going super yachts © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited Irina spoke of how she travels the world, continuing an adventure that began on her ex-husband's famous fleet of ocean-going super yachts

She spoke of how she travels the world, continuing an adventure that began on her ex-husband's famous fleet of ocean-going super yachts.

Asked to name a memorable trip, she mentioned a visit to Peru.

Actress Yulia Peresild, Polina Deripaska, chairperson of the Board of Directors at Forward Media Group Publishing House, and Russian businessman Roman Abramovich (L-R)   (Photo by Vyacheslav Prokofyev\TASS via Getty Images) Actress Yulia Peresild, Polina Deripaska, chairperson of the Board of Directors at Forward Media Group Publishing House, and Russian businessman Roman Abramovich (L-R) (Photo by Vyacheslav Prokofyev\TASS via Getty Images) She found an 'incredible mixture of civilisations, and the majority of them have only speechless monuments left. More questions than answers.'

Irina explained why she had restricted access to her Instagram which had been previously open.

'Nothing extraordinary happened,' she said.

'I simply understood that many people are interested in minor details that are not important at all: what kind of dress I wear, where dinner takes place, who (my) friends are.

a person wearing a white shirt: She revealed she was inspired by rereading the writings of former Gulag inmate Yevgenia Ginzburg © Provided by Associated Newspapers Limited She revealed she was inspired by rereading the writings of former Gulag inmate Yevgenia Ginzburg

'And for me Instagram is just one of the most comfortable means of communication with friends and acquaintances around the world.'

She revealed she had been inspired by rereading the writings of former Gulag inmate Yevgenia Ginzburg called Journey into the Whirlwind detailing the privations of repression under Stalin.

'It is not only about how bad everything is,' she said.

'On the contrary, it is about the fact that good things are made by people with strong faith and firm spirit.'

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