It took Trinny Woodall 9 years to finally grieve her first husband.

This story mentions suicide. 

When Trinny Woodall separated from her long-term partner, Charles Saatchi in March this year, it was the first time she’d been alone in a house in more than 35 years.

Ten of those years were spent with Saatchi. Many of the years before then, she spent with her first husband, Johnny Elichaoff. He had a son, Zak, and together they had a daughter, Lyla. 

Life was busy. Motherhood and a booming career meant Trinny was rarely alone. Trinny and Elichaoff’s marriage broke down in 2009, but they remained on good terms, and she still found herself mostly in the company of others. 

“I’d always been the one to travel for work,” Trinny told No Filter. “I mainly worked when Lyla was with her dad.” 

Listen to the full conversation between Trinny Woodall and Mia Freedman here. Post continues after audio.

In 2014, Trinny received the devastating news that her daughter’s father had died by suicide, falling to his death from a car park roof. He had been battling an addiction to painkillers for 20 years.

By then, Trinny was in a relationship with Saatchi, an advertising tycoon turned art dealer. Her career was continuing to rise. She had an eleven-year-old daughter who had just lost her father. A grieving stepson too. Life was busy, and she was surrounded by others. 

Johnny Elichaoff passed away in 2014. Image: Getty.


Trinny didn’t have time to grieve. There was simply too much to do, and too many people around.  

“When Johnny died, there was so much shit I had to deal with. I didn't grieve his death until March this year," she told Freedman.

That’s when she separated from Saatchi, moving into a new home for the first time, in a long time. It’s not like she hadn’t done it before, but this time, her daughter was all grown up. 

“And it happened one night. So Lyla went away for a week. And it was the first time I was on my own in a house for 35 years,” says Trinny.

Trinny and Saatchi separated in MarchImage: Getty.


“Oh my God, I had always been the one to leave. I'd always been the one to travel for work, or I'd always been the one who went away, you know. 

“And I mainly worked when Lyla was with her dad, so he was always there … so it was just weird. 

“I didn't feel lonely, but it made me be alone.”

Lyla enjoyed her trip, handling the time away from family well enough to decide to study abroad in Spain. Trinny made the trip with her, but just to get her settled. 

“She wanted me to stay there a week. There was a lot of ‘I’m going to miss you Mummy’, a bit of that stuff.”


Before she left Spain, Trinny set about leaving post-it notes for her daughter so she didn’t feel alone. 

“So by her bed, I put a post-it note saying, ‘get off and get moving’, and then by her mirror, I put, you know, ‘99 per cent of what you worry about never happens’, and by her bathroom, I put ‘don’t pick your spots’. I just put like 20 post-it notes. So wherever she looked, I was still there.”

When Trinny returned home, she was alone. And she didn’t like it. 

“Because I love the company of other people!” says Trinny. 

Trinny says she loves the company of others. Image: Getty.


She decided pretty quickly that she didn’t want to live alone. And she didn’t have to for very long. After returning from Spain, Trinny’s stepson, Zak, told her he was going to stay for a few days. 

“And my nephew a month before had said, ‘I’m going to be chucked out of where I’m staying, is there any way I could stay with you for a month in September?’.

“And I said, ‘yes, please!’. So, now I have my nephew in one room and I have Zak in another room.”

That was seven weeks ago. 

Despite being successful and single, Trinny says she loves the buzz of life with young adults living in the house. 

“(My nephew), Richie is like, 33 and Zach is 30 and it's like a frat house. It is," she told No Filter. 

“I have a slightly new dog, so it’s like you've got a puppy who's insane.

“And so I have this frat house and on some levels, it's funny because I never experienced irrational children. So it's like I’m experiencing unruly boys, which I know you deal with every day. Wow.”

Feature image: Getty.

If you think you may be experiencing depression or another mental health problem, please contact your general practitioner. If you’re based in Australia, please contact Lifeline 13 11 14 for support or beyondblue 1300 22 4636. 

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