Fired McDonald's boss's ex says he changed after CEO promotion

Fired McDonald’s CEO Steve Easterbrook’s former girlfriend has spoken out for the first time about their whirlwind romance and said the accusations against him ‘are not the gentleman I knew', in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com. 

Easterbrook, 53, was fired by McDonald's last November for having an inappropriate sexting relationship with an unnamed female subordinate, walking away with a compensation package reportedly worth more than $40 million. 

Then, McDonald's filed a lawsuit this month to get the money back, accusing Easterbrook of fraud, lying and concealing evidence of several other relationships, including deleting from his company phone and computer dozens of nude or sexually explicit photographs of employees he had sexual relationships with.

Denise Paleothodoros, 47, who was with Easterbrook from 2014 into early 2018, described their relationship as an intense romance, where she was whisked away on vacation on McDonald's private plane and had plans of moving into his $2.5 million condo in Chicago.

The mother-of-two said while working together – she as a consultant for a public relations firm – they bonded over their divorces, rapidly confessed their love to each other and got the approval of their respective companies to continue their relationship.

But after he was promoted to CEO in 2015, Easterbrook's 'priorities changed and I was not high on his list of priorities,' Denise said. 'He widened his social circle and I wasn't a part of it, I was hurt by being excluded.' 

In light of the recent allegations made against him, Denise said she was 'shocked and disappointed', adding: 'His actions described are not the actions of the person I knew. He was very careful about his image.' 

Fired McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook's former girlfriend Denise Paleothodoros has spoken out for the first time, saying the accusations against him 'are not the gentleman she knew' but admitted their relationship changed after he landed the top job, she said in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com

Fired McDonald's CEO Steve Easterbrook's former girlfriend Denise Paleothodoros has spoken out for the first time, saying the accusations against him 'are not the gentleman she knew' but admitted their relationship changed after he landed the top job, she said in an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com

Easterbrook, 53, was fired by McDonald's last November for having an inappropriate sexting relationship with an unnamed female subordinate, walking away with a compensation package worth more than $40 million

Easterbrook, 53, was fired by McDonald's last November for having an inappropriate sexting relationship with an unnamed female subordinate, walking away with a compensation package worth more than $40 million 

Paleothodoros, 47, who dated Easterbrook from 2014 into early 2018, described their relationship as an intense romance, where she was whisked away on vacation on McDonald's private plane and had plans of moving into his $2.5 million condo in Chicago

Paleothodoros, 47, who dated Easterbrook from 2014 into early 2018, described their relationship as an intense romance, where she was whisked away on vacation on McDonald's private plane and had plans of moving into his $2.5 million condo in Chicago 

The former PR executive met Easterbrook in 2014 while working for Golin, one of the many companies McDonald's hired to handle its PR. At the time, Easterbrook was McDonald's Global Chief Brand Officer.

'We initially met during the Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russia,' Denise said, and although nothing romantic happened on the trip, after months of casually flirting and a few dinners 'things started to heat up.'

They were both ending their marriages and Denise explained: 'I guess we connected on that level, we were going through some of the same things, and we had a strong emotional connection.'

Easterbrook was splitting from his British wife Susie, who he shares three daughters with. Denise was divorcing her husband, who she has two children with.

 Our relationship was above board and McDonald's knew about it and my company knew about it. People within both of our companies knew about our relationship.

When they both realized things were turning into a more intimate relationship by the end of summer 2014, Denise said they both notified the proper people within their respective companies.

'Steve disclosed our relationship to the board and I told my bosses at Golin, I was taken off the McDonald's account,' Denise said.

'We both alerted the necessary people and some adjustments were made, neither company had a problem with our relationship.'

She added: 'We didn't flaunt our relationship but we didn't really hide it either. Our relationship was above board and McDonald's knew about it and my company knew about it. People within both of our companies knew about our relationship.'

Once their relationship started to heat up, it moved fast and within months they both said 'I love you'.

Easterbrook whisked Denise on luxury vacations, taking her on McDonald's private jet three times. Denise said he reimbursed McDonald's for the costs of the plane.

Among the ritzy destinations were Cabo San Lucas, New Orleans, Lake Tahoe, Hilton Head South Carolina, Scottsdale and New York.

They even had plans to move in together and in 2017 Easterbrook plunked down $2.5 million for a sprawling 19th floor 3500 sq. feet, 3 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom luxury condo in downtown Chicago.   

The former PR executive met Easterbrook in 2014 while working for Golin, one of the many companies McDonald's hired to handle its PR. At the time, Easterbrook was McDonald's Global Chief Brand Officer

The former PR executive met Easterbrook in 2014 while working for Golin, one of the many companies McDonald's hired to handle its PR. At the time, Easterbrook was McDonald's Global Chief Brand Officer

When they both realized things were turning into a more intimate relationship by the end of summer 2014, Denise said they both notified the proper people within their respective companies

When they both realized things were turning into a more intimate relationship by the end of summer 2014, Denise said they both notified the proper people within their respective companies

They even had plans to move in together and in 2017 Easterbrook plunked down $2.5 million for a sprawling 19th floor 3500 sq. feet, 3 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom luxury condo in downtown Chicago (pictured)

They even had plans to move in together and in 2017 Easterbrook plunked down $2.5 million for a sprawling 19th floor 3500 sq. feet, 3 bedroom, 3.5 bathroom luxury condo in downtown Chicago (pictured)

'I had my own key and parking spot,¿ she said. The plan was for her to eventually live there permanently with him when her kids were old enough and out of the house

'I had my own key and parking spot,’ she said. The plan was for her to eventually live there permanently with him when her kids were old enough and out of the house

She said: 'Steve's a great guy. Kind-hearted, giving, almost the perfect guy. The Steve I knew is a normal, a guy's guy. He's into sports and likes to drink beer. '

Easterbrook truly loved company's food, with Denise adding when they went on road trips they often stopped for fast food and Easterbrook would

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