The 51-year-old later posed for pictures with his wife Catherine FitzGerald, 49, and said they were “very much still together”.

Standing outside their house in Wiltshire, they signed a note saying their marriage was “strong” before sharing an awkward kiss for the cameras.

But it has now been claimed that FitzGerald, who has four children with West, is preparing to end the relationship.

A source close to the pair told The Sun she was prepared to forgive him until he admitted having feelings for James, who is 20 years his junior. They said: “Catherine feels crushed by it, naturally. It’s a huge thing to be coming to terms with.”

West and James were pictured during a short trip to Rome where they were seen riding on a scooter and visiting a restaurant together.

The pair will soon be seen side by side in a BBC drama The Pursuit of Love about the troubled love lives of a high society family in the Thirties and Forties.

West’s agent has been contacted for comment.