Nigel Farage defended hiring his wife Kirsten as his assistant, claiming he would not have been able to do his job as Ukip leader without her.
He said he needed the help while doing two jobs - leading both Ukip and a group in the European Party.
During a head-to-head debate with Nick Clegg on LBC Radio he said: "I very much doubt that anybody else in British politics has worked the hours, and had so little fun as me, over the course of the last few years."
He added: "When you get home at midnight, if you're lucky, you need someone there to actually say 'I've done this, I've done that, here are the documents for tomorrow'.
"Without having unpaid assistance from my wife for seven years and paid, in a very modest way, for five years, I couldn't have done it."
But Farage insisted he enjoyed his job: "I was in business for 20 years, I got into politics because I felt that the career political class in Westminster had given away my birthright - our ability to govern our own country and I'm on a mission to get that back.
"I think those messages are getting through so, yes, I love it."
Farage's staffing arrangements have come under scrutiny following a claim by MEP Nikki Sinclaire - who left Ukip after a row with the party leader - that he employed both his wife and his "former mistress" Annabelle Fuller.
Fuller said she had been "continually hounded by the press with these false allegations since 2006" and Farage has also strenuously denied the allegation.
A snap poll carried out by YouGov declared Farage to be the winner of the debate. Some 57% thought that the Ukip leader performed best in the LBC debate and 36% Clegg.