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‘Drunk’ Richard Branson’s ‘blatant flirting’ left Jensen Button’s girlfriend Jessica Michibata ‘uncomfortable’

Richard Branson's 'blatant flirting' left Jensen Button's girlfriend 'uncomfortable'
Richard Branson (left) and Jessica and Jensen (Picture: Getty)

Jenson Button has revealed how Richard Branson once openly flirted and ‘touched’ Button’s girlfriend Jessica Michibata inappropriately.

The story come from his new autobiography, and Button claims that Branson was inebriated when he began his ‘blatant flirting” and ‘put his hand on [Jessica’s] face’.

He wrote that he had left Michibata at a dinner event in Australia the night before the 2009 Australian Grand Prix to go to the bathroom when Branson joined her and Button’s manager at the table.

Richard Branson's 'blatant flirting' left Jensen Button's girlfriend 'uncomfortable'
Jessica Michibata and Jenson Button in 2015 (Picture: Getty))

‘He lurched over to our table and plonked himself down and started behaving like a party-starter,’ wrote Button.

‘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.” She pointed out that she wasn’t staring at him. “Stop staring at me,” he insisted. 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.”’

Richard Branson's 'blatant flirting' left Jensen Button's girlfriend 'uncomfortable'
Jenson Button of Brawn GP celebrates clinching the F1 World Drivers Championship in 2009 (Picture: Getty Images)

Button then goes on to reveal that he would never have punched Branson before a race – Branson’s company Virgin was a sponsor of Brawn GP, the team Button then raced for – ‘but even so I was furious to return and find His Excellency with his hand on my girlfriend’s face’.

The story has been published in The Telegraph as an extract from his new book Life To The Limit.

Branson reportedly apologised to Button and Michibata after the event and Button claims Branson even gave up drinking ‘for months afterwards’.

Branson himself has also previously discussed the moment, writing in his own autobiography Finding My Virginity: ‘Jenson and his girlfriend were sitting at the next table, enjoying a far quieter evening as he had to race the next morning.

‘By contrast, through a mixture of tiredness, jetlag and drink, I soon found myself very, very inebriated. This wasn’t like me; I can’t remember ever getting that drunk before or since.’

He went on to reveal how he remembered telling Michibata ‘how gorgeous she was’ but that ‘Jenson understandably took offence and I decided to retreat quickly from the table (thankfully, we smoothed it out).’

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