Lord Alan Sugar returns to our screens on Thursday night in the 18th season of BBC One’s The Apprentice. The new series will see 18 candidates head to the iconic boardroom in the hopes of becoming Lord Sugar’s next business partner. After competing in a series of tasks and challenges, just one contestant will bag the £250,000 investment and mentorship from the business titan.

Lord Sugar has seen many aspiring entrepreneurs come and go throughout his impressive career, but one person who’s remained a constant is his wife Ann Simons. Keep reading for all we know about their 55-year marriage. 

Alan and Ann’s love story began back in 1966, when the future business mogul was just 18 and Ann was 16 and worked as a hairdresser. 

Sharing her first impression of Alan in a BBC documentary from 2009, Ann said: “He was very straight-talking, I wasn’t used to that type of thing but that’s what I liked about him,” she said, adding: “Don’t know why but I did!”

alan sugar wife ann© Photo: Getty Images
Alan Sugar with his wife Ann

The couple struck up a romance and two years later tied the knot on 28 April 1968 at Great Portland Street Synagogue.

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Recalling his proposal to Ann in a previous interview, Alan confessed that he didn’t make a grand gesture. “We were going over the Stratford flyover in the minivan at the time. It was more along the lines of, ‘I suppose we should get married then?'” he explained. “There was certainly no going down on one knee, with a rose, in a restaurant.”

The nuptials were followed by a two-week honeymoon in Majorca, and the following year the couple welcomed their first child, a son named Simon, who was followed by Daniel in 1971 and their only daughter, Louise, in 1974. 

Alan Sugar and his wife Ann on their wedding day in 1968© @lord_sugar/Instagram
Alan and Ann on their wedding day in 1968

In 2008, Alan and Ann celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary with a lavish black-tie party, with over 250 people on the guest list.

According to the Daily Mail, Alan made a touching speech about his wife, telling his guests: “I can honestly say I have never ever heard anyone say a bad word about Ann. As you know you can’t say the same about me. Talk about chalk and cheese. She always says the day she met me she knew she had met Mr Right; what she didn’t know was that my first name was Always.”

He went on to say: “A real successful man puts the love of his wife and children first, a real successful man’s greatest position in life is to have a great family. I am lucky enough to have had a wife for 40 years, who gave me three great children, who in turn have given us seven wonderful grandchildren.”

alan sugar© Photo: Getty Images
Alan and Ann have been married for 55 years

Nowadays, the couple reside in a sprawling £8.5 million mansion in Chigwell, Essex, which isn’t too far from his business headquarters in Brentwood. 

While Ann remains out of the limelight, she also has links to the entertainment industry as the aunt of EastEnders actress Rita Simons. 

Rita Simons
Ann is the aunt of actress Rita Simons

When Rita went into the I’m a Celebrity jungle back in 2018, she spoke about her relation to Alan and explained how she got her acting jobs through auditioning, rather than her family connections. “I never wanted to be famous, that was never my intention,” she said. “It was my intention to be an actor and a performer which is what I do, and not how can Alan help me do that?”

Watch The Apprentice on BBC One and BBC iPlayer from Thursday 1 February at 9pm.

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