Peter Morgan has made his name by charting the romantic ups and downs of life’s more complicated — and glamorous — people.
Most recently, his focus was on the Royal Family in The Crown and the ‘crowded’ marriage of Prince Charles and Princess Diana — with Camilla Parker Bowles the third party famously cramping proceedings.
The 57-year-old award-winning writer and producer probably never saw himself as the potential subject of a captivating storyline, with two hugely talented, and beautiful, women crowding his life and affections.
Yet last month it emerged that Peter had broken up with his long-term girlfriend, the acclaimed actress and The Crown star Gillian Anderson, and quickly ‘moved on’ to romance his friend, Jemima Goldsmith.
Last month it emerged that Peter Morgan, 57, had broken up with his long-term girlfriend Gillian Anderson, and quickly ‘moved on’ to romance his friend, Jemima Goldsmith (pictured together in 2013)
The pair were said to have enjoyed an intense romance that blossomed early in the New Year, and by mid-January friends were saying they were in a ‘legit support bubble’ during the third lockdown.
Gillian, 52, whom he had dated for four years, was said to be ‘bemused’ by the news — and, notably, by the speed with which it progressed, just weeks after they had parted ways.
Now it can be revealed, however, that this romance has come to an abrupt halt after just a month, and Peter has gone back to Gillian, leaving Jemima ‘shocked and confused’.
Peter is said have joined Gillian in Prague in the Czech Republic, where she is due to spend the next two months working on her latest film, White Bird: A Wonder Story, in which she plays a French matriarch who shelters a Jewish refugee.
One of Jemima’s friends says: ‘Peter pursued her, rather than the other way around. He persuaded her that they would be great together, but has now gone back to Gillian.
‘This has happened in the past week. She is pretty knocked for six about it.
‘People are appalled by his behaviour. It seems really rather unstable. He had said he was serious about Jemima and she was certainly serious about the romance with him.’
Jemima had endured gossip over an apparent breach of the ‘girl code’ in taking up with Peter. Even though she and Gillian were not close friends, she found the attention painful, particularly as she takes loyalty to girlfriends very seriously.
A friend of supermodel Elle Macpherson says: ‘When she romanced [financier] Arki [Busson] in 2007, she asked [his ex girlfriend] Elle if it would be all right by her. She isn’t the sort of person to breach things lightly.’
While all the attention has been on the two women, this situation does throw the spotlight on to the somewhat callous behaviour of Peter Morgan.
As one friend said: ‘So far the narrative has been all about the women but do not forget it was Morgan who caused all this emotional damage.
Gillian Anderson and Peter Morgan (pictured at the 77th Annual Golden Globe Awards ilast year) started dating in 2016
‘He has careered from one to the other and now back again with no regard for the damage he causes and the lack of courage he has shown in seeking only his needs.’
Jemima, 47, previously married to Pakistan cricket legend turned PM Imran Khan, is in the final days of the biggest challenge of her career as a film-maker, producing a rom-com, What’s Love Got To Do With It?, starring Lily James and Emma Thompson in London.
Initially, she and Peter — who was made a CBE in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to drama — were hailed as the new media power couple.
Sadly for heiress Jemima, it has turned out to be yet another doomed fling. There seems to be little prospect of repairing her friendship with Peter and there is sure to be awkwardness once lockdown is lifted and all involved start socialising again.
They have many of the same friends and, of course, attend the same film industry parties.
Jemima has spent ten years working on documentary projects and is at last making a comedy that she has written and is producing alongside the renowned British film-makers Working Title. Peter previously made the films Frost/Nixon and Rush with the same company.
Gillian is up for a Golden Globe next month for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown — which, of course, was written and created by Peter.
There was no hint that they had rekindled their relationship when she described to reporters how she would be ‘attending’ the virtual ceremony ‘alone’ in her hotel room in Prague.
In fact, she couldn’t have been clearer that she and Peter were most definitely over — referring to him as her ‘former partner’ and to their ‘past relationship’ throughout interviews.
She went on to describe how happy she was to be single. ‘I prefer to be alone,’ she said.
‘I have a very good support system here in the UK, and recently I’m finding that to be everything.
Gillian, 52, (pictured with Jemima at a party in 2018) was said to be ‘bemused’ by the news
‘I really rely on my girlfriends. I have increased my meditation, which always helps. The next thing to do is to not just talk about doing yoga but actually do yoga.’
She talked about buying a new vacuum cleaner just before the third lockdown (when Peter first started dating Jemima), saying: ‘It became pretty much my best friend, my lover, my everything, until we got a puppy.’
Then on Instagram she called the labradoodle puppy, Stella, ‘my new gf’ (girlfriend), maybe implying a vacancy had recently been created. It’s thought she named the dog after Stella Gibson, the character she played in TV detective drama The Fall.
Gillian and Peter started dating in 2016, at least 18 months after his marriage ended, and they appeared a good match.
She also got a gong in 2016 — an obe. Often described as a ‘complicated man’, he had been married to Austrian aristocrat Lila Schwarzenberg, with whom he has five children.
Gillian, meanwhile, has been divorced twice and has three children. In 2012 she described herself as bisexual and revealed a long-term relationship with a girl she had met at college.
Recently, she described in an interview how she had been in therapy since she was 14 and she writes a nightly gratitude journal. Although she and Peter never lived together, she said that they were a committed and loving couple.
‘If we did [live together], that would be the end of us. It works so well as it is, it feels so special when we do come together.
‘And when I am with my kids, I can be completely there for them. It’s exciting. We choose when to be together. There is nothing locking us in, nothing that brings up that fear of, ‘Oh gosh, I can’t leave because what will happen to the house, how will we separate?’
Gillian is up for a Golden Globe next month for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in The Crown
‘I start to miss the person I want to be with, which is a lovely feeling. And it is so huge for me to be able to see a pair of trousers left lying on the floor at my partner’s house and to step over them and not feel it’s my job to do something about it!’
Each would support the other at premieres and on the awards circuit. She hesitated before taking the Thatcher role, hoping that the experience of working together would not finish them as a couple.
She said: ‘For our own sanity and, actually, for the benefit of the relationship, we had very clear boundaries: ‘I am not going to comment on the script, but you are not allowed to comment on the performance!’ ‘
Gillian told another interviewer: ‘I was in a relationship with the showrunner [Peter] at the time, and I saw so much stuff even before the final cut. Sometimes it would be easy to hear it in another room, and sometimes it wouldn’t be. I worked very hard on [Thatcher’s] voice specifically.
‘It needed to be a particular pitch and way of talking that felt like it would be natural and grounded somewhere in me, and also one that I could keep consistent.’
It had gone so well that they were thinking of other projects to work on together. However, they broke up not long afterwards. The split was partly blamed on work commitments and family logistics.
Gillian lives in London with her children, Piper, 26, Oscar, 14, and Felix, 12. Daughter Piper is from her marriage to art director Clyde Klotz at the height of her fame on The X-Files; sons Oscar and Felix are with former partner Mark Griffiths. She was also married to documentary film-maker Julian Ozanne.
Peter has five children with Lila, born Princess Anna Carolina zu Schwarzenberg. He had previously said that he and Lila were ‘wildly chalk and cheese’, noting that she was far more sociable than he.
He went on to hint that there was plenty of bickering between them during dinner parties. ‘People come to our house . . . and they leave so happy not to be us.’
Lila, a journalist, wrote a series of columns for an Austrian magazine that revealed a union put under strain by her husband’s tantrums.
She recalled that her ‘macho’ spouse went into a fury when asked to travel by Smart car, which he called a ‘hairdryer’. He declined to go in it, and took a Mercedes taxi home from the airport.
Another flashpoint came when she served him fishfingers. She wrote in 2013: ‘He always says you can gauge the state of our marriage on the number of fishfingers he gets served up in a week.
It appears I went too far once again with my culinary neglect towards Peter as I served him the leftovers of the kids’ meal (guess what it was?).
He took one look and said: ‘I am neither five years old nor a f*****g penguin.’ He left the table and left the house in the search of a decent dinner, as he puts it.’
She also described how he once gave her a copy of Fifty Shades Of Grey during a holiday to Ibiza.
She said: ‘I should have just been happy but after a few chapters I began to think that maybe this wasn’t just a selfless purchase. According to a book critic: ‘E.L. James’s words bring women into a wave of lust and desire.’ Perhaps that was my husband’s hope, too.’
Jemima has a reputation for high-profile romances. After her divorce from Imran Khan in 2004, she has had romances with a succession of men who have seemed, at best, idiosyncratic choices.
There were long relationships with actor Hugh Grant, who was previously caught in flagrante with a prostitute, and comedian Russell Brand, a recovered sex and drug addict. She also dated twice-divorced PR man Matthew Freud.
It was hoped that in Peter Morgan — with his excellent film credentials and hitherto unremarkable romantic history — she had found a steady soulmate at last.
A friend of hers said last night. ‘He told everyone that Jemima was the one and had made that pretty clear to her.’
Yet, sadly, another drama was just around the corner, leaving her single again. Another friend said: ‘In my view, after what he has just done, she has dodged a bullet.’
When approached by the Mail, Peter, Gillian and Jemima did not respond to requests for comment.