Michelle Mone reveals she first felt ‘financial pressure’ aged 10 when her parents were fired

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Baroness Michelle Mone has revealed she first felt ‘financial pressure’ at the age of 10 when her parents were fired following the death of her younger brother. 

The Ultimo founder, 48, from Glasgow, lost her little brother to spina bifida when she was just nine, and the death caused both her parents to lose their jobs as a result of depression

The mother-of-three has admitted she felt a ‘burden on her shoulders’ to help her family after seeing her parents in ‘so much pain’ at the loss of their son. 

Speaking on The High Performance Podcast, she told how she left school at 15, and then had to ‘take responsibility’ for her family when her father Duncan became paralysed from the waist down.  

Baroness Michelle Mone, pictured in 2015, has revealed she first felt 'financial pressure' at the age of 10 when her parents were fired as a result of their depression following the death of her little brother

Baroness Michelle Mone, pictured in 2015, has revealed she first felt ‘financial pressure’ at the age of 10 when her parents were fired as a result of their depression following the death of her little brother

Michelle left school when she was 15, after her father Duncan, now 70, woke up paralysed from the waist down because of a disease on his spinal cord. Pictured: a photo of Michelle and her father shared in 2018

Michelle left school when she was 15, after her father Duncan, now 70, woke up paralysed from the waist down because of a disease on his spinal cord. Pictured: a photo of Michelle and her father shared in 2018 

‘There was that determination to help my parents,’ she said. ‘When I was 10 years old, my little brother died. 

‘I just watched my mum and dad in so much pain, as you can imagine. I was going through pain as well, but I just wanted to help them out… My dad got fired for being depressed. My mum got fired for being depressed. That wouldn’t happen nowadays. 

‘That’s when I started my first business, when I was 10 years old, [it] was to help my mum and dad. I felt this burden on my shoulders that I have got to look after people. I’ve got to look after my mum and dad, and I was only 10 years old.’

Michelle founded lingerie brand Ultimo in 1996, which she sold in 2014, and became a Tory peer in 2015. She’s believed to be worth around £47million. 

The mother-of-three founded lingerie brand Ultimo in 1996, which she sold in 2014, and became a Tory peer in 2015. She's believed to be worth around £47million

The mother-of-three founded lingerie brand Ultimo in 1996, which she sold in 2014, and became a Tory peer in 2015. She’s believed to be worth around £47million

At 12 the entrepreneur began working for a fruit shop, and was soon headhunted by the local sweet store. 

‘I felt this financial pressure at the age of 10,’ she explained. ‘Then I went on, I started a paper route when I was 10. I then had 17 teenagers when I was 11 to cover the whole of the East End and the papers, and then I went on to work in a fruit shop at the age of 12. 

‘Then when I was 13, I get headhunted by the sweet shop across the road, Pack a Pack, who offered me 10 pence more an hour. Then more disaster happened.’ 

Michelle left school when she was 15, after her father Duncan, now 70, woke up paralysed from the waist down because of a disease on his spinal cord. 

She explained: ‘When my dad was 38 years old, young, fit guy, used to play football after work and everything, and he woke up and he was paralysed from the waist down. I just thought, “Oh my God, I have got to leave school”. I left school. 

‘I had the school board chasing me for about nine months. Then I just took on that responsibility to look after my whole family and that was it. 

It was her father and mother who inspired Michelle's success, with the businesswoman revealing her parents 'always have believed in her'. She is pictured on the set of Good Morning Britain in 2019

It was her father and mother who inspired Michelle’s success, with the businesswoman revealing her parents ‘always have believed in her’. She is pictured on the set of Good Morning Britain in 2019 

But it was her father and mother who inspired her success, with the businesswoman revealing her parents ‘always have believed in her’ and saying she would constantly share her dreams with them. 

She explained: ‘My mum and dad said, “You can be whoever you want to be Michelle.” I was always telling them my dreams. 

‘I was always telling them, “I want to get you a bigger house. I want to get your car,” because they didn’t have a car. I want to take you on your holidays in a plane. 

‘I watched Dallas and I watched Dynasty, and I saw the sweeping staircase and I said, “One day I’m going to get you a house like that and everything else.”

‘I suppose that they always, always have believed in me and everyone around me were like, “You’ll never do it. You’ll never do it.”‘ 

The High Performance Podcast with Jake Humphrey and Professor Damian Hughes is available on all podcast providers. 

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