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.
But the wealthy divorcee says she still has a jet-set lifestyle travelling the world while also admitting she closely guards her privacy.
She gave an interview with Russian Tatler, which reported: ‘If an ideal divorce exists, this is the one of Roman and Irina Abramovich.’
Roman Abramovich’s ex-wife Irina (pictured) has given her first interview 11 years after they split
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.
‘People close to them say that the Abramovich couple have amicable relations,’ the profile adds.
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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.
Irina Abramovich (pictured with Abramovich and three of their children in 1999), a London-based former Aeroflot stewardess, wed Russian tycoon Abramovich in 1991
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.’
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 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.
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.’
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.
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.
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.
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.
‘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.
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
‘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.
‘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.’
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.
‘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.
‘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.’
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.
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.
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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