“What first attracted you to short, balding millionaire Paul Daniels?” Mrs Merton once memorably asked the dancer Debbie McGee.
Similar questions are being put to Anna Chapman, the glamorous 30-year old Russian arrested for espionage in 2010, after it emerged that she was romantically involved with the rather less glamorous John Altorelli (pictured right), a partner at DLA Piper, before her deportation from the US.
Chapman, who previously lived in Stoke Newington with her British ex-husband, apparently started going out with Altorelli after he lost a lot of weight following his separation from his wife. Soon after, the pair began living together in his Manhattan apartment.
According to the New York Post, the lawyer, who recently left troubled firm Dewey & LeBoeuf, told friends that Chapman had given him the “best sex” he ever had while boasting of her adventurousness between the sheets. These friends also reported that Altorelli had showered Chapman with gifts, including clothes and jewels…
It is believed that Altorelli had no idea about Chapman’s secret life as a spy. When she first got into trouble with the law, she is said to have told him she was “having problems with her visa.”
Other lawyers to have made romantic forays into notably higher leagues of late include 40-year old London-based SJ Berwin in-house barrister David Wilman, who recently explained to The Times how he persuaded a 25-year old blonde bombshell to marry him.
However, Wilman’s triumph is trumped by that of Cadwalader lawyer Ira Schacter, 51, who finds himself engaged to Playboy-bunny Lace Rose Allenius, 26, a former girlfriend of actor Matt Dillon.