Dragons’ Den has featured some of the most famous and successful business people since its inception in 2005.
Peter Jones is the only original dragon left – he’s been in all 16 seasons – while Duncan Bannatyne, Theo Paphitis and James Caan are all notable former dragons.
But there is one dragon who has continually outshone her male counterparts since she joined the show in its third season, in 2006. She has been the only female dragon in every series since, bar seasons nine and 10 when Hilary Devey briefly joined.
But how did Deborah Meaden make her fortune? Here’s how Deborah Meaden got rich, and everything else you need to know about her.
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How Old is Deborah Meaden?
Deborah Meaden is 59 years old.
The businesswoman-come-dragon was born on the 11th of February, making her an Aquarius. We wonder what the star signs of the other dragons are and how compatible they supposedly are…
What Did She Do Before Dragons’ Den?
Well, she was a businesswoman, duh.
No, but Deborah’s road to success is pretty impressive. Her first paid job was leading pony rides along Minehead seafront when she was just eight years old.
She left school at 16 and studied business at Brighton Technical College before moving to Italy at 19 to set up her first business. Her company, which sold glass and ceramics, failed after 18 months.
Since that experience, she has created several businesses, all of which have been successful. This ultimately led to her seat in the den.
How Did Deborah Meaden Become Rich?
Most of Deborah’s pocket change comes from selling on her shares within big businesses.
Her big break came when she joined holiday park company Weststar Holidays, having learnt the trade while working on her family-owned holiday park.
In 1999, she led a management buyout and acquired the majority shareholding of the company. Six years later, the company was worth £33 million and she made a partial exit when it was sold to Phoenix Equity Partners.
Two years after that, when the company was worth £83 million, she made a full exit and she sold her 23% stake in the company, which is rumoured to have been worth £19 million.
Who knew working for a holiday park company could wind up making you £19 million?
What is Deborah Meaden’s Net Worth?
Unsurprisingly, Deborah’s net worth is in the millions.
Since she sold her Weststar Holidays stake in 2007, her net worth has continually grown.
Today, her net worth is reportedly £40 million. This is pretty impressive, but she’s actually the fifth richest dragon to have entered the den.
Duncan Bannatyne (net worth of £320 million), Peter Jones (net worth of £220 million), Theo Paphitis (net worth of £160 million), and James Caan (net worth of £85 million) are all ahead of her.
How Many Investments Has Deborah Made on Dragons’ Den?
A lot. Like, a hell of a lot.
In total, she has so far invested in 63 businesses to the value of over £3.3 million. This makes her the highest investor on the show by average.
Where is Deborah From?
Deborah’s business background echoes her family background.
However, while seaside towns may be what she is most connected with, she was actually born in Taunton, Somerset. She’s shed that accent, right?
She now lives in Primrose Hill in London.
Is Deborah Meaden Married?
She is married! And her romance with husband Paul is quite something.
The two met in the summer of 1985, while he worked at Weststar during his summer break from university. However, they separated when it was made clear Deborah didn’t want children and Paul did.
But upon her return from a trip to Venezuela, the two met again in London and married in 1993.
They’ve been together ever since and celebrated 25 years together this year. The couple do not have any children.
WATCH DRAGONS’ DEN ON BBC TWO ON SUNDAY, AT 8 PM.