James on Tamara

She keeps me in check

Mr and Mrs James Lohan, with their son, Tom, and daughter, Alexandra.
Mr and Mrs James Lohan, with their son, Tom, and daughter, Alexandra.PHOTO: MR AND MRS SMITH

His wife, Ms Tamara Heber-Percy, is an Oxford graduate with an Angelina Jolie-esque beauty, says Mr James Lohan, 45, who co-founded the Mr and Mrs Smith collection of boutique hotels with his spouse.

"She's beautiful and looks a little like Angelina Jolie,'' he says, alluding to the star who acted in the 2005 Mr & Mrs Smith thriller.

"Tam is very intelligent and went to Oxford. She speaks five languages - English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and Italian,'' he says. She has a degree in Spanish, Italian and South American literature. "But I hated boarding school and dropped out of A levels," he says.

She landed good jobs, while he yearned to be a designer and took a foundation fashion course.

At 18, his first job in the fashion industry - in a warehouse and chasing orders from India and other countries - was unglamorous and full of dreadful people.

"Tamara worked for big corporations that would never let me walk through the door,'' he says.

Her portfolio includes a marketing executive role with Honda and she also took over her mother's dating agency.

Mr Lohan points out that his wife, in her early 40s, is the technology brainiac at Mr and Mrs Smith, overseeing the development of the booking engine, iOS app and global websites. "The company cannot be where it is without her technology know-how. The nuts and bolts for the business would not be there.

"I have huge admiration for her. She's not only running the business but also brilliant with the kids." Their children are Tom, eight, and Alexandra, six.

Every morning and evening, his athletic wife makes the 25-minute run between home and office.

She leaves at 6pm to be with the children, who have a nanny, while he returns later.

He grins and says his spouse has not prepared home-cooked meals for 15 years. "I do all the cooking." Family favourites include the British classic - roast chicken - and spaghetti carbonara.

They can never fully relax, with their offices in Los Angeles, New York, London and Singapore active at different hours. "The work is relentless. She keeps me in check.''

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 18, 2016, with the headline 'She keeps me in check'. Print Edition | Subscribe