Victoria Price has been in the news a lot this week.

The former EY partner has just joined Alvarez & Marsal to lead their private capital team in the UK but the headlines have had little to do with her career.

Instead the focus has been on her relationship with Asda co-owner Mohsin Issa.

The headline in the Evening Standard screamed: ‘Mohsin Issa confirms relationship with ex-EY tax partner after Asda auditor resignation.’

The story in The Times followed a similar theme with the headline ‘Asda co-owner ‘in relationship’ with ex-EY tax partner’. A statement said the couple were ‘building a life together’.

Then there’s the Daily Mail which took it to a whole level by  managing to get references to ‘billionaire Asda brothers’; ‘£18m home’; and ‘new lover’ in the same headline.

The main justification for the coverage is that Price was a partner at EY, one of the famous ‘Big 4’ accountants, while they were Asda’s auditors.

It was Mark Twain who famously said ‘never let the truth get in the way of a good story’ but the truth is this. Price wasn’t an audit partner at EY and didn’t work on the Asda business.

The difference is that Mohsin Issa and his brother Zuber – who founded EG Group (previously Euro Garages) in 2001- became big news when they bought supermarket giant Asda in 2020.

Hardly surprisingly then that Price and Issa have chosen to keep their relationship relatively low key.

As such I’d like to present a side of Price that you probably won’t see reported in the media.

I first met her more than a decade ago in Manchester at the regional final of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Awards.

Legendary dealmaker is back – in Dubai

The awards celebrate high-potential entrepreneurs and their contribution to the UK economy and Price increasingly became the public face for EY.

By chance I found myself sitting next to Price during the awards dinner and immediately decided to break the ice.

“Tell me something about yourself that would surprise me Victoria?” I asked.

It’s a question I ask everybody and the honesty of the answer goes a long way to deciding how enjoyable the subsequent evening is.

“Would it surprise you if I said I became a mum at the age of 18?” she replied with disarming honesty.

I wouldn’t normally share private stories likes this but Price has spoken about it in various interviews and it provides a bit of balance to the way she’s currently been portrayed.

Over dinner Price told me how she became pregnant at the age of 17 while doing her A-Levels.

After leaving school – and despite being pregnant – she took a string of low paid jobs, including selling calendars on a market stall, waitressing in a Chinese restaurant and working in a clothes shop.

At the age of 18 her son was born seven weeks prematurely and the new teenage mum had to spend two weeks in hospital with pre-eclampsia.

She continued her studies at night school and obtained A, A, C in her A-Levels.

Unable to afford to go to university she bought herself a stack of books and taught herself to become an accountant.

When she sat her Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) exam she won a prize for getting one of the highest marks in the country.

Price quickly landed a job at North West accountants Tollit & Stockton and in 2006 joined EY.

By the age of 25 she was a mother of three young children and a leading advocate of women throughout the business, speaking about the importance of flexible working.

She led the UK & Ireland private team, helping it triple in size, and was appointed partner in 2015 in her early 30s.

After that first meeting, I’ve followed Price’s career with interest and our paths have occasionally crossed.

Partly because of her own experiences, Price became a big supporter of the EY Foundation, an independent charity supporting young people from low-income backgrounds get paid work experience.

Through her work with the EY Foundation, she’s done everything from trek across the Sahara to climb Kilimanjaro.

Former work colleagues remember her as family-first, ambitious, loyal to her team and fiercely determined.

She reportedly gets up at 5am to go to the gym and still cares for her 102-year-old grandmother.

In 2018 she presented Mohsin and Zuber Issa with the award for Entrepreneur of The Year 2018 North in a ceremony at The Lowry Hotel, in Manchester.

Other than issuing a statement to confirm that they’re ‘building a life together’ Price and Issa haven’t commented publicly on their relationship.

Since leaving EY she’s visited seven countries across five continents and even written a book.

Entrepreneur’s top 10 tips to win over Dragons

However last week Price took to LinkedIn to reveal she’d joined Alvarez & Marsal and was spending her first few days in Florida with her new global leadership team.

She concluded by saying: “As they like to say here… love what you do, love who you do it with.  It’s good to be back.”