Joan Templeman: Biography
|Full Name: Joan Templeman||Husband: Ronnie Leahy (ex), Richard Branson|
|Birth Place: Glasgow, Scotland||Children: Clare Sarah Branson, Holly Branson, Sam Branson|
|Date of Birth: July 6, 1948||Occupation: Model|
Joan Templeman is the wife to billionaire Virgin founder Richard Branson.
She was born in Glasgow, Scotland on July 1948, in a large family of 7 children. Her father was a rich businessman who owned a ship building business.
Joan Templeman’s first marriage
In 1966, at just the age of 18, Joan got married to her childhood sweetheart, Ronnie Leahy.
Leahy was a keyboard player, who was just a year older than her. He would later make a decent music career for himself, joining several rock bands. However, he did most of this without Joan’s support, because the couple divorced in 1978.
For the 12 years they were married, they did not have any children.
Joan Templeman’s marriage to Richard Branson
Joan met Branson in 1976 at his Virgin Records Studio. This was 2 years before her divorce.
It is said that the two first met in the studio’s kitchen, where she was making a cup of tea. While the Virgin founder was impressed right away, his future wife was not. However, they were both in a low period in their marriages, with Branson also having marital problems with his first wife Kristen Tomassi.
Despite little interest from Joan, Branson chose to pursue. In his autobiography Losing My Virginity, he narrates the lengths he would go to woo her. He would visit the Victorian posters and antique’s shop near London’s trendy Portobello Road, where Joan worked, so he could catch her attention.
Already a millionaire, Branson would buy random and useless items in large quantities, just so he could get noticed by his future bride. On top of that, he befriended her friends so he could get even closer to her.
Despite all those impressive efforts, his boldest move to gain her affection came in 1978. One day, Branson picked up a phone and rang a realtor that was selling a private island in the British Virgin Islands.
“We were still in the early days of Virgin Records, and I by no means had the cash to buy an island. Luckily, the realtor didn’t know this and offered me an all expenses paid trip to see the Islands that weekend. I agreed to go on one condition — if I could bring a guest,” recalls Branson.
The asking price for the 74-acre Caribbean island was $6 million. Despite being relatively wealthy, his business was still in its early days and he could only come up with $100,000.
“Keen to impress my new love, I offered the highest amount I could afford: $100,000. As you can imagine, the realtor was less than impressed and left us high and dry to find our own way back home.”
A year later, the owner of Necker Island had gotten desperate to sell after receiving no other offers. “Virgin Records was in a much better position than it had been a year before, so I quickly agreed to a purchase price of $180,000,” he said.
He was offered the island on the condition that he would have to build a resort within 4 years.
And 11 years after that, on December 20, 1989, Joan Templeman and Richard Branson got married on that resort.
During their courtship and marriage, the couple were blessed with 3 children. Holly Branson, born in 1981, Sam Branson born in 1985, and Clare Sarah Branson – their first-born daughter born in 1979, but who unfortunately died just 4 days later.
Joan Templeman’s career
Although she has mostly settled down as a housewife to support her billionaire husband, Joan was always an independent woman who wanted to make money for herself.
She was born into wealth, but that did not stop her from taking up gigs here and there. She once worked in an antique store, but her most high profile gig was as a nude model.