“I found out my husband had another wife – and five fiancées”
Mary Turner Thomson was stunned to discover that she was married to a bigamist with 13 other children – but says his deceit has made her stronger…
With a doting husband and W three beautiful children, Mary Turner Thomson, 53, thought she had the perfect family. However, after being married to her partner, William Allen Jordan, 53, for four years, her world was torn apart when she discovered that her husband not only had another wife, but was also engaged to five other women.
And shockingly, the American IT worker had also fathered at least 13 children with six different women – telling them he was working for the intelligence services to explain his frequent absences.
Mary, who is the director of a publishing company and lives in Edinburgh with her three children – Robyn, 19, Eilidh, 16, and Zach, 13 – says, “My world shattered when I realised that William had been living a double life. Our whole relationship was a lie.
“William drained me mentally, physically and emotionally – but he’s never shown any remorse. Now I want to help women going through similar ordeals. Bigamy may seem extraordinary, but it really could happen to anyone.”
Mary first met William in November 2000 on a dating website. She says, “I was a single mum with a ninemonth-old baby and was struggling to find romance when I received an email from William. Initially, I was wary because he seemed too good to be true, but I believed he was genuine and he loved that I had a daughter because he claimed he couldn’t have children himself. “We clicked straight away and talked every day for two weeks before meeting up for our first date at Pizza Hut. William liked all the same books and films as me and was incredibly charming.” Their relationship moved quickly and William proposed after just two weeks of dating. Mary says, “I turned him down as it felt too soon, but after six months I felt ready and we got engaged. Two months later, I fell pregnant, which was a huge surprise as William claimed he was infertile. But we were both so happy. We got married in October 2002 and when I had our second child, in 2005, it felt like our family was complete.” William often worked away – saying he was an IT specialist for the American intelligence services, which made the extraordinary things he told Mary believable. Mary says, “William was a brilliant dad and husband when he was around. He’d always do the cleaning and cooking and the kids adored him. I never once doubted that he loved me and was completely faithful.”
LIVING IN FEAR
But unbeknown to Mary, when William was away, he wasn’t actually working – he was in fact visiting his other wife and fiancées.
She says, “William was very convincing so I never felt suspicious. One time, he told me he was working in Palestine for three months – he sent me photos, starved himself and even wore boots two sizes too small so it looked like he’d been injured when he saw me.
“Then, two years after we were married, he told me he needed to pay off enemies who had threatened to murder and chop up our children. I was absolutely terrified as I knew his line of work could be so dangerous. So I sold my flat and gave him £200,000. I was scared that the kids would die if I didn’t hand over the money. I was living in utter dread and was constantly on edge, waiting for something terrible to happen.”
Mary continued to live in fear, until William’s lies
unravelled in April 2006, when Mary received a phone call from a woman claiming to be “the other Mrs Jordan”.
She says, “One of his fiancées had called the police when he’d fraudulently used her credit card. The police found him at a local garage and arrested him – and inside his car they found hidden wedding certificates. He was then arrested for bigamy.
“The other wife had been notified and she told me that she and my husband had been married for 14 years and had five children together. I found out that William had indulged in numerous affairs over the years and had even fathered two children with her nanny. It meant that we’d all been pregnant at the same time.
“I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. My whole life was a lie – I was shaking with anger. Deep down there was so much proof, I knew it all must be true.”
Mary knew her relationship with William was over for good.
She says, “I sat our children down and explained that their daddy was married to another lady and he wasn’t coming home. They were devastated and we spent a long time crying while trying to process what had happened.”
From that point on, more of William’s lovers came forward and the women agreed to tell their stories to the police. William was sentenced to five years in prison for bigamy and fraud in December 2006. He served two and a half years before being deported back to America.
Mary says, “I was so glad he was out of my life and I never had to see him again. Before the trial I had tried to contact him because I wanted answers. But I quickly realised there was no way I was going to get any truth out of him. He’s a psychopath. William was very good at finding someone’s weakness and using it to his advantage. I was the perfect prey – a lonely, single mum who wanted someone to love. I never felt angry towards the other women – they were victims too.”
But Mary says the experience has made her a stronger person.
She says, “At first, it was hard and I’d cry every day. But after a few months, I pulled myself together and was determined to focus on the future.
“I’m still in regular contact with William’s other women and we are able to support each other. And even though the kids don’t speak to William, all of our children have met and stay in touch. They’ve handled it amazingly well.
“Some of William’s lovers feel ashamed and embarrassed about what happened. And while I sometimes find it hard to trust people, I refuse to let it ruin my life. So I wrote a book to show women that they’re not alone – and I receive messages every day from people going through the same thing.
“I haven’t had another partner since William, but I’m not interested in finding love – I’m happy and confident enough to be by myself. Being married to a bigamist has made me realise that I can survive anything.”
❛ MY WHOLE LIFE WAS A LIE – I WAS SHAKING WITH ANGER ❜
● The Bigamist by Mary Turner Thomson is out now
William proposed after just two weeks of dating
Mary thought she had the perfect husband