Billionaire Phones 4u founder John Caudwell has revealed how family tragedy and a 'challenging' childhood spurred him on to become a success.
The 67-year-old business tycoon, from Birmingham, sold Phones 4u for a whopping £1.5billion in 2006.
Along with his wife Modesta Vzesniauskaite, a 36-year-old former Olympic cyclist, John lives in a lavish £250million Mayfair home in West London.
But his beginnings are far more humble than the opulence that oozes from his palatial home.
In fact, in a recent exclusive chat with the Mirror, John revealed how he grew up in a terraced home where the family took a metal bath off the wall outside, carried it in and put it by the fire.
"I was allowed one kettle-full of water," he said.
But after years of hard graft, he is now reaping the rewards.
The businessman has also laid bare his "challenging" childhood as he watched his father decline into ill-health after suffering a stoke when John was only 14.
He said: "My father had a stroke when I was 14. Seeing my father suddenly brought down, after he’d been so active and so capable, was very tough.
"The effect it had on me was quite traumatic. Watching the way my mother suffered as a result of his illness made its mark on me in two ways.
"It further reinforced my need to be successful – and in particular to have financial success, because a big part of the hardship was the lack of money.
"It caused me to become increasingly health conscious, not only for myself, but also for my family and friends."
But John said he used these struggles to push him to succeed later in life.
He added: "My childhood was a permanent challenge one way or another, either because of my father’s ill health, because of family finances or because of the environment I was brought up in.
"Even when I would go out into the streets to play football, I would find myself in a ‘dog eat dog’ environment most of the time.
"The constant battle against these challenges helped prepare me for later life, such that fighting against the odds became relatively normal.
"I was prepared for any personal and business challenge, or even trauma that came my way.
"My belief is that if you have tough time early in life and you manage to overcome the challenges that this will leave you stronger and more able to deal with the future.
"So try and take these tough times and take the positive learning from them and use them to your advantage."
Speaking of his home and luxury lifestyle and looking back at his childhood roots, he said: "John then, wouldn’t have been able to comprehend this house in his wildest dreams.
“Having a home like this that everyone on the planet wants to visit, even the rich, it’s an asset that helps. Princess Beatrice came one day to have a look and see me.
“She walked in – and it really tickled me. She said, ‘Oh, my gosh I’ve never seen anything like it’. I chuckled and said, ‘No, of course you haven’t’.”
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