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Wallace 'hit man out of the blue'
MasterChef star Gregg Wallace attacked a guest at a luxury dinner out of the blue, it has been reported.
Publisher Paul Bates, who was pictured grappling with the former greengrocer-turned-TV presenter after it was alleged he had groped his girlfriend, told the Daily Mail the scuffle was "something and nothing".
Mr Bates, from Cheltenham, Gloucestershire, said: "I had my daughter with me for the evening. We had dinner and Gregg was the guest of honour. We adjourned to the bar and I was chatting with his girlfriend. Out of the blue, he just turned on me and pushed me across the room and I fell on a table. But later, Gregg gave me an apology and we had a couple of whiskies together."
Wallace, 48, is reported to have punched him several times because he apparently pinched his 27-year-old girlfriend Anne-Marie Sterpini's bottom after the £75-a-head evening with him at a hotel.
The fight broke out after the TV personality had hosted Dinner With Gregg Wallace at the Wood Norton Hotel in Evesham, Worcestershire. The hotel's website described Wallace as "the bald one who likes puddings" and promised guests a champagne reception followed by a five-course dinner.
But the scene turned ugly. A picture in The Sun showed white-shirted Wallace grappling with the man while another man tries to restrain him as other guests look on.
A spokeswoman for Wallace said: "Gregg and Anne-Marie's memory of the incident differs to Mr Bates. Perhaps he was unaware that his comments and actions made Anne-Marie feel very uncomfortable. However, as in previous statements, we have made clear that the situation was resolved on the night. Both parties would like to put the incident behind them and move on."
The alleged incident comes months after Wallace predicted his career would end if fans knew that he had "clumped" some of the people who were rude to him. He later retracted the comment.
Wallace separated from his third wife Heidi - a young teacher who had contacted him on Twitter to ask him a question about celery - last year after 18 months. He had been married twice previously and admitting cheating on his second wife, Denise - the mother of his two children - with other women.
In his autobiography, Life On A Plate, Peckham-born Wallace revealed how he was sexually abused by the husband of his childminder when he was a boy. His mother later left to live with a man who Wallace was to discover was his real father. He has told how he has been seeing a therapist about several issues, including his marriage break-up, workaholism and being unhappy despite amassing a small fortune through his grocery business, restaurant and TV appearances.