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Last Updated: Sunday, 30 April 2006, 05:03 GMT 06:03 UK
The minister's wife
Pauline and John Prescott in happier times
The Prescotts married in 1961 and have two sons together
Pauline Prescott, wife of the deputy prime minister, has been left "devastated" by lurid revelations about her husband's two-year affair.

Much photographed but rarely quoted, she has remained very much a private person.

She has two sons - Jonathon and David - with Mr Prescott, but it was the emergence of a third child that saw the politician's wife herself make the front pages in 2003.

It was revealed she had been reunited with the son she had put up for adoption as a teenager in 1955.

She had looked after him for the first three months of his life, but with her father dead and her mother struggling to make ends meet, she had placed him in a children's home.

Three years later he was adopted by school teacher Ted Watton and his wife Mary, a school district nurse.

Pauline Prescott and her son Paul Watton
Pauline Prescott and Paul Watton were reunited in 2001

John Prescott said he had always known about the child his wife had given away, but it was not until a tabloid newspaper tracked down fox-hunting Conservative voter Paul Watton that there was a reunion.

At the time Mrs Prescott said the reunion with her son was "just absolutely amazing".

In a rare interview, she told the Sunday Telegraph of her husband: "We have had a great marriage. John was wonderful and always knew that there was that little part of me that was always there."

Hair excuse

The former hairdresser grew up in Chester.

She met her future husband in 1957 while he was the boyfriend of a friend. She married Mr Prescott, then a Merchant Navy steward, in 1961.

Famed for her coiffed hair and striking outfits, it was his wife's hairdo that John Prescott famously blamed in 1999 when he was under fire for riding 250 yards by car from a hotel to Labour's conference in a windy Bournemouth.

He deflected criticism by explaining why he had taken the limo: "Because of the security reasons for one thing and, second, my wife doesn't like to have her hair blown about."

In 2005, Pauline Prescott again made headlines when Greenpeace protesters scaled the roof of the couple's home near Hull as a protest.

She was trapped in her bedroom, telling a court later she was "absolutely terrified" and in fear of her life because she at first thought the intruders were terrorists.

Now, as newspaper revelations over her husband's affair with his secretary Tracy Temple mount, Pauline Prescott is once again behind closed doors in Hull.

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