Why James Middleton's Relationship With Actor Donna Air Ended

James Middleton is the youngest sibling of Catherine, Princess of Wales.  Due to his royal connections, Middleton, along with his romantic partners, have received lots of media attention. Since September 2021, Middleton's been married to Alizee Thevenet, but before that, he was in a relationship with Donna Air.

Middleton and Air started dating in 2013. Air's no stranger to the spotlight, since she started out as a child actor and has continued her on-camera work as an adult. In addition, in 2000, Air began a relationship with a wealthy and prominent aristocrat, Damian Aspinall. After six years, however, Air and Aspinall moved on to other partners. 

Air's always made it a practice to separate her personal and professional lives, and it's believed that Middleton preferred discretion in deference to his royal in-laws.  Despite their efforts, Middleton and Air often waged a losing battle with media coverage. Unfortunately, some of this information included false claims that they'd broken up. After one of these stories was published in September 2015, the couple pushed back, stating to Hello!: "Happily, we can report that our relationship is NOT over. We are still very much a couple and have not parted ways." However, by 2017, Middleton and Air's relationship was truly over. Years later, Air indicated that the former couple's split was amicable. "It wasn't meant to be ... he's a great guy, we had a lot of fun. The timing wasn't right," she recalled to the Daily Mail in 2020.

Middleton and Air's split had a complicated timeline

Although slightly ambiguous, Donna Air and James Middleton's reason for breaking up sounds fairly standard. However, the more curious aspect is the timetable of their break-up announcement. The former couple went public with their split months after it occurred. "We parted ways in December but remain the very best of friends and always will be," Air belatedly explained to the Daily Mail in February 2018. In addition to keeping the news from the media, Air and Middleton didn't even update their friends about their relationship status until a week before they told the press.

To obfuscate matters further, the couple had already split when Air did an interview with The Telegraph. At the time, the actor seemed to imply that she and Middleton were still together. "I never talk about my relationship, but what I will say is it has never been on-off. And I'm very happy," she said. Despite these assertions, by February 2018, Air had not only announced her break-up, but she was already in another relationship.  A few months later, Middleton moved on and began dating Alizee Thevenet

Even so, it does appear that Air and Middleton maintained a strong friendship even in the early days after their breakup. In January 2018, Middleton attended Air's performance in the TV competition show "Dancing on Ice." Afterward, Air noted how much she appreciated having her friends there to cheer for her.

Middleton and Air were lukewarm about marriage

Besides break-up rumors during their relationship, there was also speculation about whether James Middleton and Donna Air would get married. "I love Donna very much," Middleton told Hello! about a month before their split. "Marriage is absolutely not something I'm scared of, but it isn't necessarily the be-all and end-all." In addition, while Middleton asserted their mutual contentment with each other, he noted at the time that kids were farther off in his future. Over five years later, Middleton and his wife, Alizee Thevenet, announced their first baby a few months ahead of their son Inigo's birth in October 2023. 

Air expounded her views on marriage around the time of her break-up with Middleton. "I've never really been driven by marriage — but I am open to it," she explained to The Telegraph in 2018. "My priority is being the mother of a teenage girl." Air was referring to Freya, whom she shares with Damian Aspinall. In November 2016, she took a similarly relaxed approach to the prospect of having more kids, noting that while she was receptive to the idea, she prefers to take life as it comes. 

Air has never been married, and in 2020, she noted that she was also happily single. At the time, she was focused on her acting career as well as parenting her daughter. However, similar to her comment four years earlier, Air was also comfortable with being spontaneous about any prospective romances that might come her way.