Susie Dent: who is Countdown star, why is she not in Dictionary Corner - and has she left Channel 4 show?

Susie and husband Paul Atkins have split after 20 years but remain on amicable terms, having told family and friends according to reports
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Avid viewers are wondering why the Countdown star has been missing from Dictionary Corner of late.

Countdown star Susie Dent and her husband are to split after 20 years of marriage, it has been reported.

The 56-year-old wordsmith, who’s been a staple of the Channel 4 quiz show since 1992, is believed to have split from her teacher husband Paul Atkins on amicable terms.

Susie Dent (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)Susie Dent (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)
Susie Dent (Photo by Jeff Spicer/Getty Images)

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The couple, who have two daughters, have told family and friends, the Sun reports.

A source told The Sun: “It’s obviously a very sad situation, but Susie has handled everything stoically.

“She has ploughed on professionally with all aspects of her working life and is simply trying to make the most of a heartbreaking scenario.

“Obviously Susie and Paul did all they could to make things work, but decided in the end to part ways.”

Who is Susie Dent?

Susie Dent first appeared on the show in 1992, alongside host Richard Whiteley.

The Oxford graduate has been a staple of the iconic Dictionary Corner on the Channel 4 show.

When she began working on the show, she had just started working for the Oxford University Press on producing English dictionaries.

She also appears on the post-watershed comedy version of the show, 8 Out of 10 Cats Does Countdown, which is hosted by Jimmy Carr.

Dent remains part of the current Countdown line-up, alongside Rachel Riley, and new host Anne Robinson.

The TV star has written several books on the English language and launched an award-winning podcast, Something Rhymes With Purple, alongside frequent Dictionary Corner collaborator Gyles Brandreth.

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Who is Susie Dent’s husband?

Paul Atkins is an experienced primary school teacher, based in Oxford. They married back in 2001.

The pair have two children together, Lucy, 17, and Thea, nine.

It is thought the pair met in the 90s, but she rarely opened up about her private life and says there's good reason for that decision.

Speaking about her reluctance to keep her private life out of the spotlight she said: "I've been a worrier for as long as I can remember.

"When I was growing up, I worried that people would dismiss me as a boring swot because I always had my nose in a vocabulary book — usually in French or German.

"My constant fear was that people were judging me, although, more recently, I've come to an understanding that that needn't be in a negative way.

"My work, my love of words, became my refuge, both when I was working on bilingual dictionaries for Oxford University Press and then via my involvement with Countdown — and now Catsdown, as I call it.

"I know what I'm doing which makes me feel safe and in charge of myself."

Has Susie Dent left Countdown?

The TV lexicographer has been missing from Countdown since 20 July, with a variety of guests covering her role in Dictionary Corner.

She has been forced to self isolate after being pinged by the NHS app, but is understood to be doing okay and will return soon.

Countdown host Anne Robinson explained in a previous episode: "Sadly we haven't got Susie with us because she is self isolating, so Rachel (Parris) is doing both jobs".

Comedian Rachel Parris had been covering for Susie but yesterday (Thursday), musician, priest and presenter Richard Coles took the reins.