The cookery writer, 54, added that she stayed with the TV baker, 52, after his first affair with his US Bake Off co-host for sake of their teenage son Josh.
Speaking to the Daily Mail's Weekend magazine, she said: "It's such a big thing to comprehend, to end a marriage. But I had to do the right thing, and to have self-respect as well…
"Any marriage is about respect and loyalty and friendship. Also self-respect, and I respect myself."
The writer, who married Paul in 1998, admitted that she believed staying with the Bake-Off star following his 2013 indiscretion with Marcela Valladolid, 34, was the best thing for their family.
Reflecting on the difficult time, she said: "I believed I was doing the right thing… I think everyone is entitled to one mistake."
The comments come as lawyers for Alex and Paul are still locked in talks which could see her walk off with half his estimated £10million fortune.
Meanwhile, Alex had a fiery clash with his young lover when they bumped into each other while shopping at Marks & Spencer.
Witnesses told The Sun exclusively that Alex called Summer Monteys-Fullam, 23, a "slut" and "whore".
Cops were called amid claims one of Summer's group hammered on her window as she drove off after the row spilled into the car park.
Furious Alex told Summer: "Do you know how much you've hurt my son?"
A shopper in Canterbury, Kent, said: "I was totally disgusted by the language. She called the younger woman a slut and whore.
"It's just not the sort of behaviour you expect at Marks and Sparks. But she also said, 'Do you know how much you've hurt my son?', and that's when you realise what it was all about."
But mum Alex insists she was an innocent victim in the row at 4pm on Tuesday — and called police complaining of harassment.
The fireworks began when the pair bumped into each other at the store's checkouts. Summer was with sister Saskia, 26, and mum Sabina, 48, while Alex was alone.
A friend of Alex's said: "She was so shocked to see Summer that all she could say was, 'Do you know how much you've hurt my son?'
"Summer laughed and started filming as Alex walked to her car. That's when the other women started verbally abusing her. Alex was shaken and called the police."
Kent Police confirmed they had attended reports of a disturbance adding: "Enquiries were carried out in which all parties involved were given words of advice."
Summer has always insisted their relationship did not begin until after his marriage breakdown.
Following the November 2017 split Alex accused Paul of adultery in divorce papers without naming Summer.
Her spokesman said last night: "There was an unpleasant incident at the supermarket on Tuesday afternoon which frightened Alex and as a result she called the police.
"They dealt with the matter accordingly." He also insisted she did not use the words "slut" or "whore".
A spokesman for Paul declined to comment at the time.
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