I would like to address the allegations made by my ex-wife Anna in her recent blog “If I’m Lying, Come Sue Me.” (Nov 16 2021)
Anna and I have a young daughter and for her sake, and that of my son, I have taken time in considering how to respond. I needed to prioritise my children’s feelings and although there were many things that I wanted to say I was concerned that it did not serve their interests to discuss this publicly.
However, after having seen the the impact this has had on them, and on the rest of my family and friends, I feel I should now respond.
Firstly, I would like to publicly apologise for the pain I caused with my inﬁdelity and dishonesty.
I fully admit and profoundly regret that I have been unfaithful and made mistakes in my personal relationships. I acknowledge that I have caused emotional distress to people I love.
But I believe that this is a personal matter between me and those involved.
This is an issue which I am facing head on and I realise I have a lot of work to do. After many years of avoidance, I am now addressing issues dating back to prolonged childhood trauma, which I believe is at the root of my behaviour in relationships with women.
Recent events have forced me to come to terms with longstanding and painful wounds, some of which I found shameful to address. I need to try and heal them and be a better man. But I fully understand this should have happened sooner and the action comes too late for the people I have already hurt.
But I feel that having this made public in the form of salacious tabloid articles and gossipy social media commentary is severely damaging for the people directly involved, particularly the children, and serves no one’s interests except those of the author.
I am also accused by Anna of abuse.
As a victim of repeated violence in my childhood home, and, I am loathe to admit this, in my marriage, I am all too aware of the pain and havoc it wreaks on people’s lives.
The article details an incident which happened in our home in April 2017 and before I address this I would like to provide some context by explaining a bit more about our relationship.
I met Anna, a former journalist for The Daily Mail, in the last week of August 2011. We had 2 dates before I had to go on tour with my band, not returning until the ﬁrst week of October 2011.
I was smitten in this new relationship and wished to spend every spare moment in Anna’s company.
In December 2011 I was surprised to be told that Anna was pregnant. This news caught me unprepared. I was excited at the prospect of becoming a father again, but I was also concerned about the length of time we had spent together and how little we knew each other, and I questioned our ability to provide the framework of a stable home for this child.
I did not ask Anna to have a termination. This is an untruth, and I was distressed to see this in print, knowing that my daughter may well read it one day.
Our relationship over the next few years proved to be very off and on. Having not had the opportunity for us to get to really know each other before bringing a child into the world,
we had much to learn. I struggled to maintain a relationship with her and my daughter while living over 100 miles away from me and my young son.
There were many difﬁculties over the next few years, but we both strove
to make things work, we moved in together and in February 2017 we ﬂew to America and Anna and I were married. We celebrated with a party back in the UK in April 2017, and this night proved to be the catalyst for the breakdown of our marriage.
It was supposed to be one of the happiest nights of our lives, but the celebrations were marred by Anna becoming upset that I’d allowed my ex-partner and mother of my son, access to the party so that she could collect him and take him home. My ex chatted to some other guests who were mutual friends while my son ﬁnished playing with some other children and Anna became enraged. She demanded I frogmarch them both out of the building. I declined.
She continued to simmer for another 36 hours, veering between verbal insults and the ‘silent treatment’.
After 2 days of this, on April 3rd, and after having not slept for 2 nights I was faced with Anna telling me that she was leaving for the duration of the Easter holiday and taking our daughter to her mother’s house. She raged and screamed, telling me how worthless she thought I was.
This was not the ﬁrst time Anna had shown her temper. I had been physically assaulted and verbally attacked by Anna on several occasions, both in our home and at public and social events at which there were witnesses.
I add this as a background explanation and not an excuse for what happened next. She spat and screamed in my face that I was a spineless, non- man, still governed by the whims of my ex. As she came towards me aggressively, I grabbed her with both hands by the neck to push her away from me. My hands were on her for about a
second, and I stopped immediately but I already knew it was a second too long, and the complexion of whatever we’d been arguing about had now dramatically changed. I was ﬁlled with shame and remorse.
I tried to apologise but it was too late.
Anna left the house for 2 weeks, and when she returned, she had a new set of rules for us to abide by, including an ultimatum demanding my son’s mother be completely banned from our home. No drop offs, no pick-ups. No access at all.
Prior to this, our everyday interactions as co-parents had generally been civil. So, this was a decision I felt showed absolutely no regard for my son and how he might feel about spending part of the week in an environment where his mother was not welcome, even at the doorstep.
This was a decision that I could not reconcile, for the sake of my son’s welfare. When we should have been a complete family for the ﬁrst time, we were drawing up rules and restrictions.
After several weeks of discussion Anna refused to change her position, and so I moved out of the marital home. Upon being informed that I’d put a deposit on a ﬂat I’d found, we had a petty dispute about me removing some of my furniture. Anna threatened to retaliate and that she would ‘go to the police and tell them you assaulted me if you take the bed.’ But I moved out and took it with me.
In June I was arrested and taken for questioning at Tonbridge Police station. I fully admitted what had happened that morning on April 3rd, I told them about the text message I’d received warning me that there would be consequences if I took the bed, and after 5 hours in the station I was allowed to go home, provided I accepted a police caution. I did not take legal advice and was anxious to leave so that I could collect my children from school. So naively, I took the caution and left. In hindsight, this was a mistake. Had I ‘throttled’ Anna, as she alleges, there is no way the police would have released me without a charge.
In her article Anna also alleges that the police were called to our home on more than one occasion, and that I would invariably sweet talk them from our door. This is also not true. The police weren’t called to our home once. Not once. There was no need. The police are instructed to investigate every call regarding domestic violence and ensure everyone’s safety.
The law is to investigate, not mediate, and any call to our home would have been recorded.
As I say, there were none.
Anna also claims that she lived in an environment of bullying and coercion. This is completely false. I admit that our relationship was marred by my inﬁdelity and the strains undoubtedly caused by becoming prospective parents after having only known each other a few weeks.
But it was also marred by Anna’s repeated rages which predated any inﬁdelity on my part.
I endured violence and vicious verbal assaults from Anna on many occasions. So, it is fair to say that our relationship was at times an unhealthy and unhappy one, but I take full responsibility for my part in that. There are no excuses for my having put my hands on Anna and pushing her. I profoundly regret this and my many other failings. But I feel strongly that neither men nor women should endure violence within their relationship, and I need to correct the record of events as presented in her blogpost.
During this challenging time, I am so grateful for the support I have received from friends and family, including ex-partners from my two previous long-term relationships spanning more than twenty years and dating back to my teens.
Neither of these women experienced violence, abuse, or coercion in our relationships and neither believe this characterisation to be representative of who I am.
This has been the lowest point of my life. If it appears to people that I have made light of this situation, it has merely been as a coping mechanism. I fully acknowledge the pain I have caused and am taking action to understand why I have at times been unfaithful and
dishonest and caused others pain.
Since the publication of Anna’s article, I have been in conversation with legal counsel with regards to which route to take to best protect myself from the falsehoods, and the prospect of more untruths being aired.
In her article Anna herself throws down the challenge ‘If I’m Lying, Come Sue Me’, but I don’t think things are that straightforward. Anna’s blogpost provides more
than enough grounds for a claim of defamation.
But who wins? If the mother of my daughter loses the roof over her head, what do I gain from that? What does our daughter gain from that? My reputation doesn’t matter more than my daughter’s day to day stability. Equally if I lose the roof over my head, what do either of my children gain from that?
The healthiest outcome from all of this as far as I can see, is that I continue to address my behaviour and do the work so that I can be a better man. I would also like for Anna and I as co-parents, to provide our daughter with the loving, supportive and conﬂict free environment she deserves to grow up in.
Abuse, cruelty and violence have no place in society or the home, I fully support the ongoing movement to hold perpetrators accountable and support victims, and I stand in solidarity with them.
Thanks for taking the time to read this. Mark