F1 driver Jenson Button says a 'very, very drunk' Richard Branson once made his ex-wife 'uncomfortable'

Jenson Button and his girlfriend JessicaGetty ImagesJenson Button and his ex-wife Jessica Michibata.
  • Formula One driver Jenson Button accuses Richard Branson of making his ex-wife uncomfortable.
  • He says the “very drunk” Branson flirted and touched Jessica Michibata’s face during an encounter in Australia.
  • Button says he was “furious” about the incident.


Former Formula One world champion Jenson Button has recalled an incident in which a “very, very drunk” Richard Branson left his ex-wife feeling “uncomfortable.”

Button wrote about the incident in his book, “Life to the Limit,” which is being serialised in The Daily Telegraph.

The Virgin Group founder later apologised and quit drinking, Button said. The company did not immediately respond to Business Insider’s request for comment.

Button said it happened during race week at the Australian Grand Prix in 2009, when his father, his manager Richard Goddard, and his now ex-wife Jessica Michibata were all at the restaurant Nobu.

“Sir Richard Branson was arriving and he was very, very drunk,” Button recalled.

Richard BransonGetty ImagesRichard Branson was ‘very, very drunk.’

“What he did in the restaurant was less excusable [but] he apologised for what happened that night, and even said that he gave up drinking for months afterwards.

“He lurched over to our table and plonked himself down and started behaving like a party-starter. I had to make a toilet visit so I didn’t see what happened next, which was that he leaned over to Jessica and told her, ‘Stop staring at me.’

“Although Jessica was a model she was quite shy, so this was making her feel uncomfortable. Especially when Sir Richard followed up his blatant flirting by putting his hand on her face. ‘Look, I think you better leave,’ warned my manager Richard, ‘or you’re going to get chinned when Jenson gets back.'”

Button stressed that he wouldn’t have punched Branson, but he “was furious” to see his hand on his ex-wife’s face. Button told Branson “enough” and that it was “well out of order.”

He continued: “But he was so hammered that he simply didn’t understand.”

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