A Devoted Father
The news hit him like a sledgehammer. But that couldn’t be right? He was a devoted father to his three sons and really wasn’t given any reason to believe that they weren’t actually his. Unfortunately, though, this businessman would come to realize that his whole life was basically one big lie. But now that he knew, what was he going to do about it?
He was going to make her pay.
Businessman Turned Millionaire
Richard Mason is a 55-year-old businessman and millionaire from the United Kingdom. He was also co-founder of a successful British price comparison website called MoneySupermarket.com. During that time, Richard was married to then-wife, Kate.
They met while working at a branch of a bank in the ’80s. Together, they share three sons (or so Richard thought).
Their oldest son, Will, is 23 years old. They also have twins, Ed and Joel, who are 19 years old.
By the beginning of 2007, however, Richard and Kate’s marriage was pretty much on the rocks. The two decided to separate and were divorced by early 2008. But Richard had no regrets about his failed marriage – he loved his sons and made sure to provide for them after he and Kate parted ways.
In the financial settlement, Kate’s $5 million lump sum also included private school fees for all three boys. Even with that, though, Kate “hounded me for years… and tried to make me pay more,” Richard said.
As far as Richard was concerned, their sons were the only good things to come out of a “cold and joyless” marriage. But there was a surprise waiting for him in the wings.
The Day It All Changed
Fast-forward to 2016. At this point, Richard had already been divorced from his first wife, Kate, for 10 years when he finally discovered the truth about his life.
One day, the millionaire businessman woke up and unknowingly got ready for the doctor’s appointment that would change everything. He had no idea that in just a few hours he’d be left reeling and furious.
The appointment was meant to be a standard routine check-up with his doctor. Little did he know, though, that it wouldn’t be as standard as he expected it to be. After the doctor performed some tests, Richard wasn’t expecting to have his world turned upside down.
But disaster struck when the doctor revealed to Richard that he was suffering from cystic fibrosis. The sad news didn’t end there, though.
Cystic fibrosis is a disease that causes persistent lung infections, and, over time, damages the lungs and reduces their capacity. Eventually, breathing becomes progressively more difficult.
The disease is genetic. In fact, Richard’s sister had passed away from the same disease years ago. Richard was devastated, and then he began to panic. Did this mean that he had passed it on to his sons?
The doctor reassured him that it was impossible for him to pass the disease on to his children and Richard felt an immense sense of relief wash over him. But his relief was short-lived — he hadn’t waited for the doctor to finish.
The doctor then went on to explain that there was another specific reason for that.
Richard remembers the moment his life came crashing down: “When the discussion then turned to fertility and he said,‘Look, yourself and Emma – you know – you’re gonna have difficulty having children because you are, as a man with cystic fibrosis, infertile.’”
But that couldn’t be right. A small seed of hope began to grow inside his heart. Was it a medical miracle? Or, even better, was the diagnosis wrong?
Clutching At Straws
“‘Well, you must have the diagnosis wrong because I’ve already got 3 boys,’” Richard said proudly. “I actually felt pleased to be able to tell him this, because in my mind it proved his diagnosis was wrong,” he recalls.
But the doctor, feeling awkward and stunned, just shook his head sadly. And then, Richard knew he had been clutching at straws.
In A Daze
The realization dawned on Richard slowly, then the truth hit home like a sledgehammer. He replayed his life with Kate and looked at every detail with fresh eyes.
He remembered times when some red flags, in retrospect, should have set off alarm bells. And then, he began to feel sick. This could not be happening.
Had there been a scandal going on right under his own roof? If there had been, Richard had been too blind to notice. After all, he worked late most nights, too. He hadn’t batted an eyelid when Kate called him late one night from a hotel in London to tell him that her flight had been delayed. Richard snorted in disgust. It was a “work trip,” she had said.
But there were other details emerging that he hadn’t thought much of… until now.
When his twins were born, of course, people began to comment. But remembering the usual and innocent croons of “…oh, look, they have your eyes, Kate,” now began to take a darker turn in his mind. But there was another red flag that Richard hadn’t thought much of at the time.
Right after Kate found out she was pregnant with their first son, she began to express an interest in something she had never mentioned during the seven years of their marriage.
A Sudden Change Of Heart
Kate was ecstatic to be pregnant for the first time. She read all the maternity books and went to birthing classes. But when she suddenly took an interest in Judaism, Richard was surprised. He and Kate had both been raised as Christians. Kate even went as far as giving all three of their children Jewish middle names, and she refused to have them Christened. She had also been seeking advice from a Rabbi.
Maybe this was an insight into the double life she had been leading. And maybe, this clue pointed to the man she had been seeing…
Richard knew that his boys didn’t resemble him at all. But… they did look familiar. The clues were adding up, and Richard was starting to think that he knew who the man his wife had been seeing was.
But, perhaps he was getting ahead of himself. There was something else that he was forced to consider. But would Kate confess? Or was this all just a terrible mistake?
The Man In Question
Richard pondered the information and mulled it over in his mind. He had three clues to go on. The first was the fact that his ex-wife had probably been meeting up with the man while she was away on business trips.
The second was that his children resembled a man he had met before — a business colleague of Kate’s — that would make sense. And, lastly, that the man was Jewish… which didn’t make sense. But twins are rare, after all…
In the general population, identical twin pregnancies occur 0.45 percent of the time, or 1 in 250 births. It’s also a well-known fact that using fertility treatments increases the likelihood of conceiving twins. Had Kate realized that they were having fertility problems before he had? After all, they had been married for seven years when Kate finally fell pregnant.
But that was enough speculation for one day. It was time to confront her.
He angrily typed a message to Kate, demanding an explanation.“Hi, I went to the Liverpool Chest Hospital today… to finally receive my diagnosis that I have cystic fibrosis. In their experience, they have never had a male with CF who has fathered a child, let alone three.”
“It is 98% certain that I am not the father of any children,” he added.
Kate had read the message, but she wasn’t replying. Seeing that being civil wasn’t getting him answers, Richard decided that it was time to take a harder approach.
Asking For Answers
“I was hoping that you could relieve me of [the] further indignity [of more tests] by letting me know now if I am the father,” Richard wrote. “I am happy to go along with your advice as to how best tell the boys. But, if you force me to go through these extra tests then I shall be telling them as I wish.”
Kate, cornered, sent her reply within minutes this time.
Deny, Deny, Deny
“Of course the boys are yours, no matter what the science might suggest,” she wrote. Richard was incredulous! She was flat-out denying everything. Okay, he thought. If Kate wanted to play hardball, he could play.
He approached his eldest son, who was a university student at the time, and told him everything. But how did he take the news?
“I told him I’d just been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which he took surprisingly calmly,” Richard explained.
“And I said, ‘Yes, but one of the things that I’ve just been told is that it is extremely unlikely that someone with cystic fibrosis could father a child.’ He said, ‘I’m already ahead of you, Dad. You’re saying you’re probably not my father?’”
Emotional And Angry
Richard, heartbroken at the thought that he wasn’t his son’s biological father, recalls that “it would have been the hardest sentence to utter, and he did it for me.” Then Richard told his eldest son that of course, he was still his “dad, obviously,” but that he didn’t think that he had conceived him.
“It was very emotional but I was also very angry,” Richard said. He had been dealt a double-blow that day. So, what was he going to do about it?
Richard believes that your children define who you are. So, not only had he been diagnosed with a dread disease, but he now knew that he didn’t actually have any children. His legacy would stop with him, and that thought was almost too hard for him to bear.
Then, two days later, he finally heard from Kate.
It turns out that Kate had been confronted by her eldest son. She called Richard and confessed.
She admitted that she had been seeing another man during their 20-year marriage, and to add insult to injury, Richard had even met him in passing. The man worked at Barclays Bank.
She and the man would meet at a hotel in London while she was traveling for work as a union official. But she still insisted that Richard was their children’s father. He had no choice but to get an expert’s opinion. He knew the last 20 years of his life had been a complete lie.
He was going to make her pay.
Taking Matters Into His Own Hands
Richard decided to seek out advice from paternity fraud expert, Roger Terrell. After he underwent numerous tests, it was confirmed that Richard was indeed incapable of fathering children.
The next step was to obtain DNA samples from his sons. The DNA test results proved that the twins weren’t his, but to complicate matters further, his eldest son refused to provide a sample.
Still His “Dad”
Richard’s eldest son stated: “as far as I’m concerned, he’s my dad and that’s that.” But Richard still had all the proof he needed to launch a legal case against Kate. In December 2016, he began proceedings at Birmingham County Court.
But Richard’s oldest son had another message for the man he knew as his father.
The Consequences Of Kate’s Lies
“My eldest told me, ‘Dad, if you sue Mum, I will never speak to you again,’ Richard confessed. And the teenager remained true to his word. Of course, this caused Richard immense heartache: “the ripple effect of Kate’s lies has been massive.”
But the reaction from the twins as the case progressed was quite different.
A Message Of Support
The twins still regard Richard as their dad, even though they know that he is not their biological father. One of the twins even sent Richard an overwhelming message as a show of support.
The message read: “Dad, as I explained from the beginning you would never not be dad to me regardless of all this. Of course I’ll stay in touch, that will never change… I’m always here for you too and you will always be Dad. Love you x.”
A Hollow Victory
When Kate’s unbelievable lies were exposed in court, Richard won his case and Kate was ordered to pay him over $300,000. Kate agreed to settle, but on one condition: the man who is the real father of her sons must remain anonymous.
But it was a hollow victory for Richard. And he has a message for the boys’ real father, too.
He Wants Him To Come Forward
Richard stated that he “would like the biological father to read this article and come forward.” He believes that the boys have a right to know who their father is.
“Not least for the boys’ sake because they will want to know who their real father is, even if hopefully they will always think of me as their dad,” he added.