Behind every man there's a great woman

a young Richard Branson and Joan Templeman smile at one another in black and white
Virgin Galactic
Richard Branson's signature
Published on 6 July 2015

Anyone who’s read my autobiography, Losing My Virginity, will know the story of how I met my wife, Joan Templeman. I fell in love with her from the first moment I saw her, while she worked in a bric-a-brac shop in Westbourne Grove, in London. 

A blonde-haired, down to earth, Scottish beauty who didn’t suffer fools, Joan was unlike any other women I had ever met. To win her heart, I had to persistently hang around the shop and buy countless objects before we started courting – my favourite was on old advertising sign for Danish bacon of a pig and a hen singing after it had laid an egg, with a caption that read: ‘Now, that’s what I call music’; a phrase that went on to inspire the Now CD compilations.  

Richard Branson and wife Joan on their wedding day with children Holly and Sam
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From the beginning Joan was a very private person, and the over four decades we have been together she has remained so. She has always been keen to avoid the public eye, to the point that she has never given an interview – however, that just changed when she did her first ever interview for an upcoming film about my ballooning adventures. But while she has preferred to stay behind the scenes, she has always stood by me mentally, emotionally and spiritually. 

Joan Branson smiling
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Today is Joan’s 70th birthday, and while I know she doesn’t like the spotlight, I cannot let such a momentous occasion go by without praising her and everything she has done for me and our family. 

Holly Branson and Freddie Andrewes pose for the camera at their wedding alongside Sam Branson, Bellie Branson, Richard Branson and his wife Joan
Image by Jack Brockway

Joan is my rock, my confidant and my guiding light. She is the most amazing mother to our two wonderful children - our daughter Holly and our son Sam, and the perfect grandmother to our three beautiful grandchildren, Artie, Etta and Eva-Deia.

Richard Branson and his family pose for a family photo
Image by Rebecca Wedding Photography

As the saying goes, behind every man there's a great woman. Joan you are the greatest woman of all. Happy birthday and thank you for choosing to come on this adventure with me.