Read Louise Davies’s true life story in Bella Magazine. Her story first appeared in the Daily Mirror shortly after it was revealed that Gordon Ramsay’s father in law Chris Hutchinson had been keeping a secret second family. Louise wanted to talk about how she coped when discovering the heart breaking truth about her own father. See her story below:
I FOUND OUT MY DAD HAD A SECRET FAMILY
I’d been listening out for it all day and when I finally heard dad’s car pull up outside I flew to the window.
‘He’s home,’ I shouted and my sisters Sally, nine, and Karen, three and stepbrothers Karl, nine and Trevor, 16, would all come running.
I was only ten and at the time and because dad worked away as a long distance lorry driver we never got to see him much.
When he was home he had us in stitches with his silly jokes and quick wit.
But the fun was always over too soon and after just one night he’d have to go back to work.
Life wasn’t easy for mum looking after four of us on her own and there was never enough money for treats or holidays, but I just assumed that was the way it was for all families.
When the kids at school bullied me for not having a dad I told them to shut up and go away. I did have a dad, he just had to work a lot.
I was 11 when I learned through a girl at school that dad had been married to a woman before marrying mum.
Obviously I knew my stepbrothers were from a past relationship, but I didn’t know dad had ever married their mother.
It got me thinking and I asked mum what her wedding to dad had been like.
She’d already told me her and dad had married in a simple registry office do and that she’d worn a pink trouser suit.
But whenever I tried to ask more questions mum would get annoyed.
Then I asked her to see some pictures and she told me they hadn’t invented cameras back then.
I knew it was a lie, but I didn’t understand why mum was being so cagey about it.
As I got older dad’s trips home became less frequent. It was clear him and mum were having problems.
I was devastated not to see him as often. But then once when I was about 14 he came home and took me out in the car.
In the back I found some lego bricks, but Carl and Trevor were too old to be playing with lego.
I asked dad who’s they were. He said he’d given a mate a lift into town with his son.
Soon after mum told me she and dad had split and from then on we only saw him about twice a year.
Mum didn’t like talking about anything so I had no choice but to just get on with things.
But I always envied friends with big happy families. We didn’t even have any grandparents, aunts and uncles on dad’s side.
I moved out when I was 17 and didn’t hear from dad again until I was 24 and pregnant with my second child.
He helped me move into a new flat and said he lived nearby and was working as a builder.
When he invited me round to see him I was pleased. The house was just four miles from mums.
He introduced me to his partner Julie but when I looked around there were photographs of children that looked to be the same age as my younger sister sally.
And they were all taken with dad. Suddenly I realised they must be dad’s kids.
In that second I knew why dad had hardly ever been home, he’d been keeping a secret family.
But I was too shocked and upset to ask anything and I didn’t know how much Julie knew, so I quickly left with my head spinning.
When I told mum she didn’t even look shocked. She must have known all along that dad was having an affair with a woman down the road. I was horrified but she refused to tell me anything else.
When I met Mark five years later I was keen to move away and start a new life.
We had a daughter together and I kept in touch with dad and Julie via email.
Then two years later I was told dad had cancer. I barely had time to get my head around it when I heard he and Julie had married.
‘But he’s still married to mum,’ I cried.
I decided to visit him for answers but the day before I was due to go he died.
Mark drove me to the funeral and I was stunned to see so many faces I didn’t recognise.
Then I saw Julie and her kids, Karen and Steven, sat at the front.
It felt odd. But then when the vicar started speaking he didn’t even mention mum and us. And then I saw all dad’s family that we didn’t know fussing over Julie.
It was a revelation. How could I have been so blind?
I had always believed we were dad’s family and Julie was a secret affair. Clearly it was the other way around.
Mum had had been his mistress and we were his love kids. I felt sick. ‘ You weren’t married to him were you mum,.’ I spat at her.
Our whole life had been based on lies.
I felt like I’d been tricked into believing we were a family, when in fact dad’s real family lived down the road.
I started talking to his daughter Rebecca and learned that her older brother Steven had even been born the same year as my youngest sister Karen. Disgusting.
She’s helped me piece together the truth about my so-called family.
Turned out dad hadn’t even told me his real age. He was 58 not 55 when he died. And he’d never even been a lorry driver.
Now six years after the funeral I still don’t speak to mum. I feel my life has been based on nothing but lies.
Rebecca Barton, 24, from Northampton, said: ‘ I can understand why Louise is so upset. She has been lied to and misled her whole life.
‘I grew up knowing that dad had other kids but there was never any doubt we were the real family.
‘He lived with us and took us on days out and holidays. I know it upsets Louise to hear that because she feels she missed on a father.
‘But he wasn’t a good father. The complicated way he lead his life shows he was only interested in himself and I don’t have happy memories of my childhood.
‘I’ve said to Louise that while she wishes he was around for her more, I wish he’d been around less. He was violent and drank a lot and made our lives miserable.
‘I always suspected he was having affairs but he only ever stayed away one night a week so I never considered it was a double life, just sex.
‘From my perspective he was just sleeping with Louise’s mum and my mum at the same time but somehow Louise was made to believe that she was part of a family.
‘Louise didn’t even know dad’s real job or age.
‘Because of all this I don’t speak to my family anymore. I don’t see mum or Steven and out of all my step siblings, Louise is the only one I have contact with.
‘I think my mother should have left him a lot sooner.’
Julie Barton, Northampton, said: ‘Poor Louise and her sisters have been lied to all their lives. I didn’t think Trevor was perfect but he told me he had split with Louise’s mum. Of course I didn’t know he was still playing happy families all those years.’