UKIP leader Henry Bolton says he has ended his relationship with his girlfriend after she reportedly made racist comments about Meghan Markle.
He said their romance was “obviously quite incompatible” with his role as party leader but he had no intention of resigning.
Jo Marney had sent texts saying black people were ugly and Prince Harry’s fiancee would “taint” the Royal Family.
Mr Bolton said it was against UKIP’s constitution “to be racist in any way.”
Ms Marney apologised in the Mail on Sunday for her remarks and claimed they were taken out of context.
The former army officer took over as UKIP leader in September, becoming the party’s fourth leader in 18 months.
Senior party members have questioned Mr Bolton’s judgement, calling his private life an “unhelpful distraction”.
Mr Bolton told BBC Breakfast Ms Marney’s comments were made “some time ago”.
He said they were “utterly indefensible” but there was “some context to them” which will be revealed in time.
Mr Bolton added that no context “defends or justifies” some of the comments made adding he was “appalled and shocked” when he first heard them.
Asked about Ms Marney’s suspended party membership, he said he would support whatever decision the investigation came to.
Mr Bolton, 54, said the 25-year-old model had been suspended immediately after the party found out about the comments.
The messages were sent three weeks before the couple began their relationship, according to the Mail on Sunday.
They confirmed their relationship in a letter to UKIP supporters earlier this month.
Responding to party criticism, Mr Bolton said certain individuals “should start working towards the betterment of the party itself, working as part of a team rather than coming up with divisive and self interested comments”.