21/10/2012 08:21 BST

Masterchef Star Gregg Wallace Reveals He Was Sexually Abused As A Child

Top TV chef Gregg Wallace has told of his torment after he was sexually abused by his babysitter's husband when he was aged eight.

Wallace, who has helped make Masterchef one of the most successful cooking shows on British TV, kept his ordeal a secret until he was persuaded to speak out by his ex-wife Heidi.

He told the Sun on Sunday: "Heidi said at the time, 'You really should.' She said, 'It shows paedophiles are not terrifying people, they're friendly, happy nice people.'"

Wallace added: "I felt ashamed as if I was complicit. I should have told somebody. Something should have been done about it."

In his new book Life on a Plate, the chef reveals he was left in a "state of total confusion" when he was preyed on at his home in Peckham, south London.

He writes that his attacker had ordered him not to tell anyone and was too terrified to speak of the assaults, insisting: "I never did tell mum, or anyone else. I didn't really understand what had happened, and somehow I also knew he'd be in really big trouble."

Wallace added to the newspaper: "After writing it I finally told my mum and she said, 'You can't do that - his family might know.' I said, 'So what!'"

Wallace separated from his wife in March after just 14 months of marriage and now wishes they had sought help before they parted.

He explained: "I think it was too troubled, two unusual people that should have maybe got some help. I think we could have saved it."

Wallace, who has two children from a previous relationship, is now dating former glamour model Cara Franco but there are unlikely to be wedding bells any time soon.

He confessed: "I keep messing up in relationships of all sorts. I couldn't get married again - I'd be too scared."