I’ve been my ex’s wife and his mistress
Denice doesn’t know Alex Hall, who recently claimed she’d had a decade-long affair with the TV presenter behind his current wife Frances’ back, which Clarkson denies.
But she knows only too acutely the shock, humiliation and heartbreak of discovering her husband was sneaking back into his ex wife’s bed.
“I have a great deal of unanswered questions and feel a lot of anger towards him and just as much anger towards her. I know exactly how Jeremy’s wife feels.”
Denice’s husband Michael, 40, seems to have had some trouble deciding which of the women he married he wanted. Because just months after moving back in with his first wife, he was sleeping with Denice again.
“I know it sounds hypocritical,” says Denice. “I resented Michael’s first wife for being his ex-missus who then became his mistress.
“But after he’d moved back in with her, I slept with him so did exactly the same thing.
“I didn’t think of it as cheating. Being intimate with Michael again was just what I wanted, and just what I felt I was promised and deserved.”
Denice got together with Michael, a divorced builder, as quickly as their relationship was to end.
“We clicked – big time,” she says. “We spoke every day for six weeks. Then Michael flew over to London for two weeks to see me.
“It wasn’t love at first sight because I don’t believe in that. But it was love. He checked into a posh hotel in Knightsbridge and we spent the entire time together.
“When Michael went back to America I missed him terribly. Things moved quickly because I was pregnant. I was so nervous about telling him on the phone.
“But Michael was thrilled. He said ‘No way? Really? Oh my God. Come over – now!’ He was over the moon and I thought my life was falling into place.
“He sent me the tickets to fly over to California and a week after breaking my pregnancy news I moved into his apartment. My only worry was things seemed too good to be true.”
Three months later, Michael proposed and the pair married in a simple ceremony in Santa Monica.
“We had a $40 ceremony with two strangers there as our witnesses,” says Denice. “It wasn’t my ideal wedding day, and Michael promised we’d have a better ceremony later on. But I didn’t care. I had my perfect man and a baby on the way and that was everything I’d dreamt of.”
Within weeks the newlyweds moved back to England, where they settled into a rented house in North London. “Michael couldn’t have been more attentive and generous,” recalls Denice.
“He was working a lot, but whatever I wanted before the baby arrived he happily bought. We fixed up a beautiful nursery and were so excited about being parents.”
But at seven months’ pregnant, Denice’s happiness screeched to a halt.
“Out of the blue, Michael said ‘I don’t want to be with you any more. I’m sorry. I’m going back to my ex-wife’. He said it so coldly, as if discussing something as mundane as a telephone bill. I was utterly in shock. I was his wife. I was going to have his baby.
“I screamed, cried and beggedhim to stay. I was extra emotional because I was pregnant.
“I just didn’t know what to do. And I was embarrassed because I thought it was my fault. Maybe if I’d been sexier, younger, wilder in bed or better looking he’d stay.
“I put all the blame on myself. Friends and family kept trying to reassure me but it didn’t make me feel any better.”
Michael returned to Denice’s side the day their daughter Charisma was born in January 2011. “He held our little girl with tears in his eyes and was so overwhelmed with love for her,” Denice says.
“For a moment, I felt sure he was back in my life. He didn’t have children with his ex-wife after seven years of marriage so this was his first child.
“I thought I’d won him back. I thought seeing his first child born would have rocked his world, and he’d say ‘I’ve made a terrible mistake’. I’d have let him come home with no issues.
“I was completely prepared to take him back. But at the end of that amazing day he told me to make a list of all the things I needed for our baby and promised he’d take care of us.
“He kissed me on the forehead and left. A kiss on the forehead for the woman he’d loved, married and who had just given birth to his child? I didn’t have the energy to punch him.” Denice spent the first weeks of motherhood breastfeeding, crying and wondering how it had all gone so wrong.
“Financially, Michael did take care of us,” she says. “I didn’t have to worry about going back to work. But although I know I didn’t have hardship like a lot of women, I still felt hard done by.
“As Michael lived only a few miles away with his first wife he would spend time with the baby every night at our house for hours. I’d make something to eat, then he’d go back to her. It was odd. I’d look over at him and feel so angry I’d want to throw something. Then I’d look at him and think ‘Why do I still want you?’.”
Soon the unconventional domestic arrangements shifted up a gear. Denice says: “Michael came around one day and as usual I said ‘Hi’ at the door – and he kissed me. It wasn’t just a kiss and things went on from there. Charisma was asleep and we ended up in bed together.
“It was wonderful. He was more loving than he’d ever been.”
Two days later, Michael returned and again he and Denice ended up in bed. And again, two days later.
“Then I started to make silly excuses to get him around,” recalls Denice. “I’d get dressed up and buy his favourite wine. I’d have taken him back in a heartbeat.
“We slept together four times. But one morning Michael said ‘I can’t do this any more. I’m really sorry, I love my wife. I’m ashamed’. And after promising we’d never want for anything he kissed me on the forehead again and left.”
Denise was devastated. “Michael was the first and last thing I thought of each day, and occupied my thoughts all the time. My heartbreak was all-encompassing.
“If I didn’t have our daughter I could write Michael off as a bad thing that never happened,” she says.
“But there’s a baby involved and I always want him to be involved in her life.
“As the days go on I care about him less and less. He’d see Charisma every day if I’d let him and already sees her around four times a week. But my heart is now firmly closed to him.
“I feel horrible for his other wife but she obviously had no idea what was going on. But I feel horrible for me, too.”
Michael says: “Yes, I was married to Denice and went back to my wife. And yes, I did sleep with Denice after that. But let’s leave it at that.”
● MICHAEL’S NAME HAS BEEN CHANGED
By: Julie McCaffreyUK Mirror