Fans of Food Network guru Bobby Flay were shocked when news broke that the married TV
chef reportedly had been involved in a three-year affair with his assistant, Elyse Tirrell.

And though an eyewitness at Flywheel Sports in NYC tells ‘Closer,’ “I’ve met [Elyse] many times,” and describes the 28-year-old as “very sweet” with “an innocent demeanor,” the allegations from Bobby’s wife of 10 years, ‘Law & Order’ star Stephanie March, 40, of a not-that-innocent affair between Elyse and her 50-year-old boss is the reason Stephanie kicked him out of their home.

bobby flay and stephanie march

Bobby and Stephanie in January 2013.

“Stephanie found out about Elyse around Thanksgiving of last year and she was heartbroken and livid,” a friend tells ‘Closer.’ “She confronted Bobby, and although he denied it, she felt her sources were too good.”

Related: Bobby Flay’s Obsession With His Career Led Him to Divorce Stephanie March

In fact, insiders around Bobby’s restaurant empire have been noticing Elyse’s closeness with the chef since 2012. “Suddenly she wasn’t just a hostess at the Bar Americain, she was his ‘personal assistant,’ spending more private time with him,” says another friend.

After Stephanie confronted Bobby with her suspicions, they entered couples therapy together, but she questioned his commitment when he began canceling appointments.

To read the full story on Bobby and Stephanie, pick up the new issue of ‘Closer Weekly,’ on newsstands now!