Celebrity photographer Terry O'neill has confessed he came close to asking lifestyle queen Martha Stewart to be his wife - but she treated him too well.

The top snapper reveals Stewart was "a wonderful woman" but he was not ready for such a full-on romance after his marriage split from actress Faye Dunaway.

He tells Parade magazine, "I’ve never met a more wonderful woman in my life, but I met her too soon after I broke up with Faye.

"Martha treated me like a king. And I couldn’t believe it. She was so kind to me. It was all too much. I just wasn’t used to it. One day I couldn’t take it. I just wanted to get away and breathe for a while on my own."

But looking back, O'Neill is convinced he let a "perfect wife" slip away.

He adds, "I ran. I waited until Martha went out, and I got the car to the airport and went home. I didn’t even talk to her for a couple of months. I was ashamed. I never said goodbye. I just didn’t know how to deal with it. I behaved badly."

O'Neill, who famously photographed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones before they hit the big time, is currently married to modelling mogul Laraine Ashton, while Stewart recently confessed to using online dating sites to find romance.