We managed to help Jan Ford publish her feature in the Daily Mirror and Best magazine securing her two payments. Jan was thrilled with the publicity and has since received even more media offers from TV . If you think you have a story worth telling then contact Photo-Features today. Read Jan’s true life story below:
Janice Ford, 62 loves the thrill of finding a new hubby, so much so she’s on the hunt for number SEVEN. The mum-of-two admits she was so obsessed with being a wife she simply married anyone who asked. But her obsession with finding a husband meant she kept marrying the wrong guy again, and again, and again…
‘When people hear I’ve been married six times already, they presume I’ve given up on love.
‘But nothing could be further from the truth because despite walking down the aisle six times already I’d love to do it again – and will keep on getting wed until I find the one.
‘It’s ironic really, when I was a younger I never even wanted to get married – but my first trip down the aisle changed everything.
‘I hope telling my story will help explain how I became addicted to husbands and stop any future spouses running a mile when I tell them.
‘You see, I was 18 when I discovered I was pregnant by my boyfriend Dennis Parsons, 23. Three weeks later, we were married in a big white church service. As far as my parents were concerned, we had to do ‘the right thing’ for the sake of the neighbours.
I was only a child, really. I was hardly ready to be a mum, let alone a wife. I was out of my depth. Especially when after our son Paul was born that summer and Dennis, a sailor, went back to sea leaving me holding the baby.
Paul was a bad sleeper and things were tough. I had no support from my family at all. Still, I threw myself into being a good wife and loved the idea of creating a perfect family – something I’d never had as a child.
Only, with Dennis at sea for months at a time, I was desperately lonely. As the years went by I felt like nothing more than a housekeeper – someone to wash clothes and put dinner on the table when Dennis home on leave.
I spent so long being on my own that I started to think I may as well be. This wasn’t the family life I dreamed of. When Paul turned five I gave him an ultimatum: ‘It’s me or the Navy.’
As he sailed off into the distance, I filed for divorce.
But Dennis hadn’t put me off marriage. I loved being married and part of a family – just not with him. And so started my 45- year- quest to find the right man….
The following year, I met Chris Barnett, a plumber, in a bar. At 24, he was four years younger than me but the age gap didn’t seem to be a problem – at first.
Only when, three years down the line, I fell pregnant, he started to panic.
‘I’m not ready to be a dad,’ he told me. ‘I’m too young.’
Finding out I was ‘in the family way’ was just as much a shock for me as I’d been on the Pill, but Chris accused me of trying to trap him into getting married.
Still, after he calmed down he moved into my council house and agreed to give things a go. But as my bump grew, he spent more time at work, often getting called out on emergency jobs in the evenings and weekends.
Then one day, when I was heavily pregnant, a woman turned up at the house and snapped the windscreen wipers off his car.
‘Who’s she?’ I asked him as she called him all the names under the sun.
He didn’t know what to say but it was obvious. I felt so stupid. I didn’t have a clue. I’d trusted him completely.
Still, with my hormones all over the place, I decided to give him another chance. And when our son Richard arrived, he doted on him – and was very good with Paul, too.
We married when Richard was two in a quiet registry office affair with two guests. Looking back, it was the most stupid thing I’d ever done. Deep down, I knew a leopard didn’t change his spots.
I was right, too. We were having a quiet drink in a pub one night when a woman came over and it him around the head.
‘That’s to say thanks for the last 15 months!’ she said.
I’d had my suspicions he’d been cheating on me again, but I’d pushed them to one side for the sake of the kids. Only as more and more of his conquests started coming out of the woodwork, I decided enough was enough.
I told him to leave in 1982 – three years after we’d exchanged our vows that obviously meant nothing to him.
I was working in a newsagents when I met my next husband-to-be the following year.
Chris Robinson, 37, was a buyer for a supermarket and used to pop in for his cigarettes every morning on his way to work. We started flirting and he’d asked me out for a drink.
I was feeling low after receiving my Decree Absolute and he seemed like a nice guy, so I agreed. Soon, we were dating.
He was kind, showered me with compliments and hit it off with the boys too. I started to think he was the perfect catch. Within weeks he asked me to marry him, and swept along in the romance, I agreed.
There was only one thing little that niggled me – we still hadn’t made love. I convinced myself that he was just a gentleman. He obviously just wanted us to be husband and wife first.
But even with a ring on my finger, we whenever got anywhere.
Our marriage was annulled three weeks later on the grounds that it was never consummated.
You might think that with three failed marriages under my belt I might decide to give men a wide berth. But the way I saw it, my prince Charming was out there somewhere, even if so far, I’d only been with toads. So, less than 18 months later, I was walking back down the aisle with my fingers firmly crossed…
Five years younger than me, Stephen Raper was an ex-jockey turned painter and decorator, turned barman. In fact, as I was soon to find out, he didn’t stay in any one position – even husband – for long.
But back then I was full of optimism. We met sharing a shift in our local. A nice bloke, he was straightforward and funny so when, on a work’s night out, our lips locked I was made up.
We’d only been together a few months when talk turned to marriage.
‘Alright then,’ I said when popped the question.
He hadn’t been married before and insisted on a big church do so he could invite all his family from Ireland.
Only, as the Big Day loomed closer, I started to get jittery. What if I was making another mistake? It bothered me that despite handing in his notice at the pub Stephen still hadn’t found another job and we had even borrowed money from my dad to pay for our honeymoon in the Isle of Wight.
‘I’m sorry, I can’t go through with it,’ I eventually told him.
He looked devastated and I felt so guilty that I decided I would go through with it after all.
But even after our week’s honeymoon, Stephen still struggled to find work. While I went out to work every day, he stayed home and we started to fight.
‘I am looking for work you know,’ he’d say if I ever brought it up.
But I couldn’t manage the bills on my wages alone. Soon, all we did was argue about money. Eventually, I told him to get a job – or get out. He packed his bags and we got divorced a few months later.
Hating being single, I joined a dating agency. I met David Ford, 44, when I was at a dance with someone else. While my date for the night sashayed around the dance floor with one woman after another, David came to my rescue.
At the end of the evening, he asked for my address and when, the next day a huge bouquet arrived from him, I was smitten. Finally, I thought, I’ve met someone who’s going to treat me like a lady.
Like me, David had been married before this time, so we tied the knot in a registry office. But no sooner had we been pronounced husband and wife that I realised dashing David might not be my prince after all.
He had very traditional views about marriage and I felt I shouldn’t socialize without him.
Whereas in the past I’d let men take charge, at 48 I’d learned from my mistakes.
‘I’m too old for this,’ I decided and filed for divorce before we’d reached our six-month anniversary.
After five husbands in 20 years, I wondered if I was meant to be alone. But the truth was I loved the thrill of finding someone who wanted to be a family with me, and I was starting to miss it.
But then, when I was 49, I met Frank Steele. A pensioner who lived round the corner from me, I started doing his shopping and a bit of cleaning. And as the weeks passed we became close.
‘Ooh, if I was 20 years younger, I could go for you!’ he said one afternoon as I dusted away his cobwebs.
At 89, he was 40 years my senior. I should have been disgusted but he was very dapper for his age and always put his dentures in.
‘What does age matter?’ I told him.
Frank’s greatest fear was having to go into a nursing home and leave his cat. ‘I wish I had someone to take care of me,’ he told me.
‘Why don’t we look after each other then?’ I suggested one afternoon over a piece of Battenburg and pot of tea.
If we got married I could move in and care for him so he could stay in his house and then he could look after me financially after he’d gone… I wanted to be a good wife and feel part of a family again, especially now my boys had left home.
‘I think that sounds like an excellent idea!’ Frank said.
So six months after I’d popped over with a pint of milk, I moved my things in as Mrs Steele.
I wasn’t expecting to consummate the marriage, but Frank was pretty good between the sheets to be honest. He might have been old, but his equipment was still in good working order!
But after just a few days, things turned sour when we had a row about buying a new Hoover. When I popped out to meet my son, he got funny and refused to let me back in. In the end, I had to call the police.
I was mortified. I’d given up my council house to move in with Frank so had no choice but to move in with one of my sons. It was over. ‘How did it come to this? I wondered as I bunked down on the settee in his one bed flat.
When I eventually filed for divorce a year later I found out Frank had passed away a few months after I’d left…in a nursing home. Despite everything he’d said about hating them he’d moved in the week I moved out. I was touched that he still left me £5,000 in his will. I was still his wife when he died.
You might think I’m crazy but despite having my fingers burned so many times, I’d still like to find my soul mate. Someone to love, and to look after me, someone to grow old with. I have a cat to keep me company but it’s not the same as having a husband.
I know that somewhere out there there’s the right man for me. And I still believe that I will find him. As far as I’m concerned, it’s just a process of elimination….’