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THE heartbreaking secret that singing star Lena Zavaroni nursed all last summer was revealed by her mother yesterday.

Hilda Zavaroni, 43, sobbed: "It was Lena herself who told me that her father was dating a divorcee.

"He had been going out with her for two years before I found out. I still love him, but our marriage is over. It can never be patched up."

Lena, 22, was recovering from the slimmers' disease anorexia nervosa when she learned the devastating news about her parents' marriage break-up.

Hilda said: "Throughout her illness I stayed at home with Lena as any mother would do. But my husband Victor started coming home late at night after working as a pub entertainer.

"Then Lena told me that he was dating a woman he had met in one of the pubs. Her name was Christine."

The other woman turned out to be divorcee Christine Richardson. Victor is now living with her in a council house.

Since the family break-up six months ago Hilda has lived alone on the island of Bute while Lena and her sister Carla, 19, have been fending for themselves at the family home in North London.

Hilda is so distraught that she even forgot to send a good-luck message to the 'Wimbledon Theatre on Friday when Lena opened in the pantomime Aladdin.

© Hugh Farmer For The People 22 December 1985