I thought my new husband was my soul mate and that blood was thicker than water. I was wrong…
By Julie King, 45, from Blackpool
I was watching TV when the phone rang. It was my daughter Christine, 26. ‘Hi Mum! Is it alright if I pop around with a mate?’ she asked.
‘Who’s your mate?’ I replied warily. I didn’t like opening my door to strangers.
‘My new lodger, Vince – you’ll like him,’ she explained.
I relented and let the pair join me. Christine was right, I did like Vince. He was bubbly and funny and I really enjoyed his company.
Then one night in July 2012 a group of us all headed down to the pub. Vince and I were standing having a cigarette when my daughter Leanne, 24, smiled at us.
‘I’ve never seen my mum so happy,’ she said to Vince. ‘You two would make a really nice couple.’
I felt my cheeks blush bright crimson. After my previous husband had cheated on me, I wasn’t looking for love. I’d had my fingers burnt and I’d learnt to rely on myself.
Besides, I didn’t think of Vince that way and catching his eye, we both laughed nervously.
Ignoring her comments, we headed back inside and I was enjoying a drink with the group when Vince appeared on stage with the karaoke mic.
Silly sod, I thought to myself, wondering which tune he was planning on murdering. But no song started.
‘Julie King, will you please go out with me?’ He shouted to the packed-out pub.
I nearly spat out of my drink! What is he thinking?
The pub cheered but I refused to reply. When Vince approached me after his stunt, I was mad.
‘That’s a question you ask in private,’ I scolded.
‘Well then will you go on a date with me?’ He asked again, drawing my body in close.
I relented and let his soft lips touch mine. The hairs of my neck stood on end as he passionately kissed me and I accepted his invitation.
Vince came around to my house the next day and cooked me dinner. As we snuggled up on the sofa with a bottle of wine, I smiled to myself. I could get used to this.
Vince and I became an item after that and I swiftly fell in love. I couldn’t have been happier.
A couple of months later, Vince and I were out shopping in the city centre when I suddenly felt overwhelmed by the busy crowds.
‘I’m tired,’ I complained. ‘I need a rest.’
‘Come on Julie, I know a perfect place we can stop,’ replied Vince.
We carried on a little further until Vince halted in front of the registry office.
‘Let’s just pop in here,’ he said. ‘I wonder how much it costs for a marriage licence?’
‘Stop being silly,’ I said, laughing.
‘Let’s find out,’ he added, with a big cheeky grin on his face.
I was in shock but managed to follow Vince’s lead to the reception and before I knew it, he’d bought a marriage licence.
‘You’re mad!’ I told him, dizzy with excitement.
But in truth I was bowled over by his romantic gesture. I couldn’t believe I was going to be Vince’s wife!
Time flew by and we married three months later, in a private ceremony in December. It was magical. I’d finally found my soul mate.
Life was great and 2013 began perfectly. What better way to begin the year than with a new, handsome husband?
But a call in the dead of night in March rocked our world.
‘Mum, it’s Leanne,’ my youngest daughter whispered.
‘What’s wrong?’ I asked, concerned. I could tell immediately she was crying.
‘It’s Mia – she’s dead.’ I couldn’t comprehend what she was saying to me, but managed to digest enough information to make it to Liverpool Children’s Hospital.
Leanne’s daughter – my eight month old granddaughter – had died of cot death. We were distraught.
But Vince was my rock and at the end of every night he would take me in his arms, making it easier for me to slip off to sleep.
As a family we were hit hard but together we managed to plough on, rallying around Leanne, who was lost in grief.
Then in May that year I was out shopping in town when my mobile beeped. It was a text from Christine.
Something is going on between Vince and Leanne, it read.
I had to steady myself as I took in the words. I called Christine straight away.
‘I don’t like their body language when they’re together, Mum,’ she revealed. ‘He’s always touching her knee.’
I was appalled. I called Vince and demanded he met me.
‘Of course nothing’s going on,’ Vince said, brushing off the accusation. ‘Why would I have married you if Leanne was the one I wanted?’
Convinced it was a misunderstanding, I put Christine’s suspicions behind me. My husband and my own daughter would never betray me like that… would they?
Then a few months laetr, in September that year, I was working out our finances when I noticed a shortfall.
‘We have to be more careful with money,’ I told Vince.
‘I am,’ He spat. ‘Why do you have to always be on my back?’ At that he stood up and stormed out.
It was a silly argument and I didn’t think much of it… until a couple of days later when Leanne showed up at my house to drop a bombshell.
‘I slept with Vince the other night,’ she confessed, sheepish.
I was stunned. My husband of less than a year and my own flesh and blood, how could they?
‘Get out of my house!’ I screamed, tears streaming down my face. She left and I fell to my knees, utterly heartbroken.
When Vince returned home, I was in bits.
‘How could you? I cried. ‘Out of all the women in the world to have an affair with, why did you have to set your sights on my daughter?’
‘I’m sorry,’ said Vince. ‘I was weak.’ He reached out but I swiped his hand away in disgust.
‘Don’t touch me!’ I was sobbing my heart out.
‘I’ll do anything to save our marriage,’ he pleaded. ‘I’ll try wedding counselling – anything.’
‘If you want to be with her then tell me now,’ I said defiantly. ‘At least have the decency to let me get on with my life if this is over.’
Vince was adamant he had made a mistake and eager to make my marriage work, we started couples counselling.
But his promises were empty and it soon became apparent that Vince wasn’t interested. Our relationship was doomed and in February 2014, I kicked him out.
I was devastated at the failure of yet another marriage and I tried to get on with my life. I missed Vince’s company but I was used to being on my own. Everyone else seemed to let me down anyway.
I cut all contact with Leanne as well and heard nothing from her until five months later when she called with news that nothing in the world could prepare me for.
‘I have something to tell you,’ she said. ‘I’m pregnant – and Vince is the father.’
I dropped my phone in horror. It was almost too much to bear.
But I couldn’t stay mad for long. Leanne was my daughter and blood is thicker than water.
‘I’ll speak to her but she has to make the first move,’ I told a friend.
Leanne called soon after and we swapped small talk over a cup of tea in a cafe that October.
When their baby girl was born in December, I couldn’t bring myself to be at her bedside. It was too soon.
But the thought of losing my daughter and granddaughter was too hard to handle. Losing my husband was heartbreaking enough.
What Leanne did was unforgivable but I understand that she was vulnerable – she was grieving for her baby daughter. Vince, on the other hand, should have known better. He ripped our family apart but we won’t let him beat us.
Neither of us have any contact with that rat now as we try to piece our shattered family back together.
Our relationship is fragile but I am hopeful it will strengthen in the future.
When we asked Leanne if she was sorry for what happened she said: “Not really. Life does go on, that’s it isn’t it? It is all my fault… There’s two sides to every story. There’s her side, there’s his side, there’s my side. I don’t see why it should keep getting brought up.”
Vince says: “It’s in the past and no comment.”