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Who is Donna Air? Why did she split from James Middleton and who does she play in The Split?

DONNA Air has recently come back on our screens in her confusing portrayal in BBC Drama The Split…

Here’s a few things you need to know about the 40 year old Geordie…


Donna Air
Rex Features

Who is Donna Air?

Donna Marie Theresa Air is a 40 year old English actress, television presenter and media personality who grew up in Newcastle upon Tyne.

She is best known for her breakout role as Charlie Charlton in Byker Grove before moving on to present MTV Select and then to front The Big Breakfast.

A string of cameo film roles followed before she participated in reality shows Splash, Celebrity Masterchef and the tenth series of Dancing on Ice.

In 2000 Donna met zoo owner and conservationist Damian Aspinall and began a long term love affair with Donna giving birth to their daughter Freya Air Aspinall in September 2003 before they split up in 2007.

The couple controversially announced that they were happy to let their daughter be placed in the gorilla enclosure with Damian saying: “It is a ritual. I’ll probably give her to the dominant female who will take her off and introduce her to the others” before saying “Why would I not trust them, I grew up with them, they are my friends.”

Donna Air
Donna Air and James Middleton enjoyed a four year romance.
PA:Press Association

Why did she split from James Middleton?

Donna Air met James Middleton at the private members club 5 Hertford Street in February 2013.

He is the brother of the Duchess of Cambridge Katherine Middleton and sister Pippa Middleton.

The pair went on to have an off-on relationship for the next four years, often spotted out and about at exclusive parties and mixing in royal circles.

They reportedly “uncoupled” over Christmas 2017 with Donna saying “James and I are no longer an item. We parted ways in December but remain the very best of friends and always will be.”

But eagle-eyed viewers were keen to spot him in the audience when she took part in Dancing on Ice in February 2018.

Since they have split, James has gone on to have a relationship and announce his engagement to financier Alizee Thevenet whilst Donna went on to date property developer Ben Carrington before recently announcing that they too had parted ways.

Who does she play in The Split?

The Split is a British television Legal drama series that was first broadcast in April 2018 and is now on its second series with the first episode of series 2 airing on BBC One on February 11, 2020.

Donna Air has joined the cast playing celebrity presenter Fi Hansen who is married to former musician turned record producer Richie Hanson (Ben Bailey Smith.)

The pair have an explosive relationship and Fi has hired lawyer Hannah Stern to help her sort out her existing prenup before she files for divorce from her abusive partner Richie.

As onscreen partners the duo are under public scrutiny and in the public eye – something Donna is keen to shy away from herself saying: “I’m insanely private, but that’s the dream about acting-you can put all these bits of yourself , which you wouldn’t normally like to share, into a character.”

Fans were left bewildered with her bizarre accent as she dipped in and out of her native Newcastle tone with one saying: “Donna Air looking good. The accent, however, not so good.”

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