Viewers are sure to be hooked by the next instalment of Doctor Foster. But for some, the on-screen drama is all too realé
What happens when he marries the mistress?
This week, BBC one’s Doctor Foster returns to our screens, and the second series is set to be even more gripping than the last.
Two years have passed since that explosive dinner party. Gemma Foster is still working as a GP and living with her teenage son, Tom, while her ex, Simon, has moved away with his mistress Kate.
All seems well in Parminster… That is, until the couple – and their new baby – return to live in a plush mansion close to Gemma’s home, and host a party to celebrate their marriage. Sent into a rage once again, Gemma has to come to terms with watching Simon and Kate play happy families, spending time with her friends and, even worse, her son.
Addictive viewing? Yes. But for some, it’s a situation that is all too familiar. Here, we speak to one woman who knows exactly how Gemma Foster feels…
‘i was Devastated, But terrified of Raising A family Alone’
waited, hoping the affair would fizzle out. But by March 1999, I’d lie awake thinking about my husband with another woman. I knew I deserved more and asked him to leave. He begged me to give him a second chance, but the trust had gone.
I knew he would go to his mistress, but I never expected him to be so brazen as to move her into a flat directly across the road from me.
From my house, I’d get a glimpse of them cooking together in the kitchen, or snuggling on the sofa, and each time I’d feel a pain in my chest, as though my heart was breaking a little bit more.
Even worse was watching her with my children. We had joint custody – he saw them every weekend and whenever he wanted during the week. Henry, then four, was very wary of this unfamiliar woman, but Matthew, just a baby at 18 months, innocently smiled when she cuddled him. It felt like she was replacing me.
Thankfully, all but a few of our mutual friends stayed loyal to me, appalled by the way he’d behaved. But even after all my husband had done, I still loved him. I even tried to make friends with the other woman, knowing she’d be looking after my children.
And yet, four months later, I knew I couldn’t go on living in such close proximity to the people who’d wronged me. Defeated, I told Brent he could have our house, and moved away. I hoped that would be the end of my sorrows, but twice a year, Brent and his once mistress would take the children on long, expensive holidays to Europe or America. The boys would come home full of excitement and I’d feel so jealous about it. While Brent was a successful broadcast journalist, I’d put my career as a best-selling novelist on hold to look after the boys, so I didn’t have the finances to spoil them.
It wasn’t until April 2001, when I met Erik at a friend’s wedding, that I finally started to come to terms with the affair. Finally, I had a man who loved and respected me. I found that my anger slowly started to fade away.
Now Erik and I are married, and we have a daughter, Lily, born in September 2002. Brent and his mistress got married, too. I heard it was an extravagant affair.
Time has passed, but just the mention of an affair can still bring back those feelings of shock and betrayal. Watching the drama unfold on Doctor Foster will be hard. I know how it feels to watch someone replace you without a second thought. Even now, almost 20 years on, I’ll never forgive them. ✱ Tess is the author of The Adultery Club (£7.99, Panmacmillan) and 11 other bestselling novels. Visit tessstimson.com
Doctor Foster starts Tuesday, 5 September at 9pm on BBC one
Author tess has never been able to forgive her ex-husband for his betrayal
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