Revealing one of the best kept secrets of his personal life, the bachelor industrialist Ratan Tata has said that he had fallen in love and had come seriously close to getting married as many as four times.

But in the hindsight, he thinks it was not a bad thing to remain unmarried and the situation would have been more complex had he got married, Mr. Tata said in an interview to CNN International's Talk Asia programme.

“When you asked whether I'd ever been in love, I came seriously close to getting married four times and each time it got close to there and I guess I backed off in fear of one reason or another,” he said.

He replied in the affirmative when asked whether he had ever been in love. When asked how many times, he replied, “seriously, four times.”

Mr. Tata, 73, heads one of the country's biggest business empires with nearly 100 firms and revenues totalling about $67 billion. He is scheduled to retire in December 2012 when he turns 75.

Asked to speak more about his love life, Mr. Tata said: “Well, you know one was probably the most serious was when I was working in the U.S. and the only reason we didn't get married was that I came back to India and she was to follow me... and that was the year of the, if you like, the Sino-Indian conflict and in true American fashion this conflict in the Himalayas, in the snowy, uninhabited part of the Himalayas was seen in the United States as a major war between India and China and so, she didn't come and finally got married in the U.S. thereafter.”

Asked whether any of the people he was in love with were still in the city, he replied in the affirmative, but declined to elaborate.

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