Celebrity chef Simon Gault and his wife Katrina have split.

The Kiwi restaurateur and former MasterChef New Zealand judge is no longer living with his hairdresser wife and is distraught his marriage of more than five years is over.

"Katrina and I have split and I'm absolutely gutted," Gault told the Herald on Sunday. "It breaks your heart."

The couple - who have a 2-year-old daughter Hazel - wed in a low-key ceremony at boutique Auckland hotel Mollies in September 2010.


"We are living apart," he confirmed this week. "It's been a while now. That is all I want to say at this stage."

Gault, 52, built a dream $2 million love nest for his bride in South Auckland. The property holds a special significance for the couple as Gault proposed to Katrina, 42, at a nearby lake.

Shortly after the wedding, the chef told Woman's Weekly it took some effort to woo Katrina, who was a regular at his Auckland waterfront eatery, Euro.

"She made me work for it, I tell you," he said. "The number of free desserts and complimentary things I sent out whenever Katrina was in the restaurant."

In the same interview, Katrina said the couple had known each other for four years before they became involved.

"I always thought, 'I'm just a punter who goes into his restaurants'.

"My friends used to say, 'I think Simon likes you,' and I said, 'that's ridiculous, no way'."

Gault said before he met Katrina he was "married to restaurants" but he was happily married to the perfect wife and would like things to stay that way.

Gault could not hide his excitement when the couple discovered they were expecting a baby. Hazel was born in late 2013 and Gault declared he loved being a dad. He set about trying to lose his MasterChef New Zealand nickname as the "cuddly judge" and shed a significant amount of weight so he would be around a lot longer for his child.

It was later revealed he was also battling Type 2 diabetes.

"Hopefully my daughter might see me in 20 years time and my family is behind me 110 per cent," he told the Herald on Sunday at the time.

Last June Gault revealed he was hanging up his hat on his restaurant business to be a better father. He announced he would leave the Nourish Group, which owns nine restaurants, including Euro, Jervois Steak House, The Crab Shack and Fish, as he feared fatherhood would pass him by too quickly.

Gault is presently filming a three-part documentary for Prime called Why Are We Fat?