One thing Jo hasn't spoken much about in the press is her first marriage. Before she became one of the world's richest women, Jo led a modest life working as a secretary in London. When Jo was 25, her mother died of multiple sclerosis—sending Jo into an emotional tailspin. Desperate to escape the pain, she moved to Portugal, where she met and married her first husband. Jo eventually gave birth to her oldest daughter, Jessica. The marriage soon came to an end, and Jo packed up her things and moved to Scotland with Jessica.
Despite what she describes as a "short and catastrophic" marriage, Jo says she would do it all again to have Jessica. Eventually, Jo was able to look back on the marriage and see that she has a strong survival instinct. "When I knew that it was time to go, I left," she says. But she says she still felt completely shell-shocked.
"I had a very, very tiny baby, and then I went straight into poverty and depression," she says. "But in a strange way, all of that was enormously illuminating. And I did a lot of thinking after that marriage ended. I did a lot of thinking primarily about me—why things had been as they had been. And it was seven years before I met that right man. But I think it needed to be seven years."