Lovestruck Lauren Wall was so grateful to her mum for paying for her wedding that she even took her along on her honeymoon.
And while she was delighted her mother and her groom got on so well, it quickly became clear that may have been a mistake.
Just eight weeks after the £15,000 ceremony, her hubby Paul White moved out – and nine months later her mum Julie gave birth to his child, announcing that she and Paul were now a couple.
Lauren said: “Paul always got on really well with Mum. I never thought it strange though, as she was his mum-in-law and he was just being friendly.
“They’d laugh a lot together. I didn’t think to be worried at all. Who would?
“I couldn’t wait to settle in to marriage but the ink was barely dry on our certificate when Paul changed.
“He went out for hours and became protective over his phone. Four weeks after we said ‘I do’, I found out why.”
Lauren’s sister was using mum Julie’s phone – and found what Lauren claims were texts between Julie and Paul.
And after agonising privately over the discovery, Lauren finally voiced her fears.
She said: “Mum denied everything, saying, ‘You’re crazy!’ When I confronted Paul he went white as a sheet – and refused to let me see his phone.”
Days later, Paul removed his wedding ring and walked out on his new bride and their seven-month-old daughter.
Although Julie and Paul have always denied having an affair, Lauren said: “I felt like my world had ended. I was a 19-year-old kid with a kid.”
When she heard talk that airport worker Paul had moved in with her mum, Lauren was dumbstruck.
She said: “I couldn’t believe the two people I loved and trusted most in the world could betray me like this.
“It was sick. It’s one of the worst things a mum can do to a daughter.
“Paul may have been a gutless groom but she’s my mum. She’s meant to love and protect me above all others.
“Instead, she stole my husband, shattering my family and my dreams. For that, I’ll never truly forgive her.”
That short-lived dream had begun on Valentine’s Day two years previously, when she and Paul – a year older than her at 18 – went on their first date.
Lauren, of Twickenham, south-west London, recalled: “I met him at a local pub – I fancied him straight away.
“He asked for my number and the next day he texted asking to go on a date to the cinema. We started going out straight after that.”
The blossoming relationship got off to a happy start a few months later when Lauren found herself pregnant.
Their daughter arrived in March 2004 – and the pair then married in the August after Paul got down on one knee to propose.
Recalling the lavish ceremony put on with the help of her mother, business development manager Lauren said: “Although we hadn’t planned a family so soon, when our daughter was born we were thrilled.
“Five months later we were getting married in a beautiful church ceremony with friends and family. Mum looked on proudly as we exchanged vows.
“She even splashed out £15,000 on the occasion. And it was a fairytale wedding – I had my dream dress and Paul was showering me with compliments.”
Lauren, 34, added: “I must have been young and naive as I thought everything was going well.
“He told me that he wanted to be with me for ever.”
The couple went on a week-long honeymoon to Devon – and gratefully took Julie with them.
But within two months, that family harmony was painfully blown apart.
And if losing her husband had been hard, Lauren had worse still to endure.
Just weeks after hearing rumours that Paul and Julie were now living together, she saw her mother walking down the street, apparently pregnant.
Lauren said: “When I saw her in the street and noticed she had a bump, my mind raced. She clutched her stomach and told me, ‘It’s a cyst’. I felt so sick, I went home and destroyed all the photos of our wedding.”
She also set about getting a divorce and rebuilding her life.
In July 2005 – nine months after Paul had walked out – Lauren’s mum Julie had his baby.
Lauren was unable to resist one last jibe.
She admitted: “I texted her to say ‘Removed the cyst then?’
“She tried to claim the father was another boyfriend but I knew the truth. Paul and Mum officially announced themselves as a couple that summer and my world crumbled.”
Five years after his marriage to Lauren, Paul was taking his wedding vows again with Julie.
And that was a new anguish for heartbroken Lauren – who bravely attended for the sake of her daughter.
It followed a painstaking attempt to rebuild bridges with her mother. Lauren said: “She initiated it. I dropped my brother off at her house and she got in my car, started crying and just said, ‘I’m sorry’.
“I told her, ‘Get out of my car’. She wrote me a letter a couple of weeks later apologising.
“And that was the start of us mending our relationship.”
That was in 2006. Unsurprisingly, Lauren still finds it hard. She said: “We’d get on all right, have a massive falling out, and then get on again.
“I still bring it up and make a comment and she doesn’t like it.
“Just because we spoke after doesn’t mean I’m over it. Paul never said sorry or tried to apologise to me.
“I speak to him as he’s married to my mum. I’ve asked him before to explain to our daughter and he just says it’s forgotten about now.”
When Julie decided to marry Paul, she wanted her daughter close by. Lauren said: “She rang me up and invited me. It was awkward. I got married on the 14th August 2004, they married on the 15th August 2009.
“It was almost too much to bear but I did it for my daughter.
“I went to watch Mum marry the same man I’d wed five years earlier.
“As they exchanged vows it was hard not to think of the day Paul had said the same words to me, when Mum had stood alongside me, the proud mother of the bride.”
A decade on from that second wedding, Lauren is philosophical about how her relationship fell apart.
She still has infrequent contact with her mother, who works in child services and who remains married to her former son-in-law.
Lauren herself has managed to move on and has recently found a new partner. She is now happily pregnant with her fourth child.
But she admits her path has not been easy. She said: “What’s happened still has an impact on me, and on any relationship I’ve had.
“It’s going to give me trust issues for the rest of my life.
“Time is a great healer, and Mum and I have tried to have a normal relationship. But we will never be as close as we were – and I’ll never fully trust her again.”
Speaking from the home she shares with Paul, Julie, 53, told us: “We are married. We didn’t have an affair. We are married and that’s it.” Paul, now 35, declined to comment.
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