Millionaire sues his ex-wife after finding out children he raised for 21 years aren't his
A man who was initially forced to pay £4million ($5.09million) to his ex-wife as part of their divorce has now successfully sued her after he discovered that the three kids he had raised were not biologically his.
Richard Mason, a 55-year-old businessman and the co-founder of moneysupermarket.com, was never given any reason to believe that his three sons - a 23-year-old and two 19-year-old twins - were not his, but a recent medical diagnosis has proven that they can't be.
Three years ago, Mason was told that he had cystic fibrosis, an inherited disease which, in men, eliminates the possibility of having children naturally. A later DNA test proved beyond doubt that his children were not genetically related to him, leaving him feeling heartbroken and betrayed.
Mason had already been divorced from his first wife, Kate, for 10 years when he discovered the truth, but says the revelation changed his life.
"You don’t know what’s real and what isn’t – it’s as if I’m living in The Matrix," he told the Daily Mail. "Someone says to you, 'All that you know and everything you thought to be solid and true is not real, and never did exist. You are not a father, you are not able to have kids, your name will not continue.'"
After finding out the truth, Mason sued his ex for paternity fraud. Two of his sons stopped speaking to him after this.
"I still see what the boys are doing on Facebook and it’s heart-wrenching because we saw the graduation of the eldest on there, but I wasn’t invited," he said.
"I walk past a toy store and it reminds you of buying Christmas presents for them and other family occasions.
"And when friends post things on Facebook about their own families like their first grandchild or saying they’re proud of their boy for something, I just think, 'My God, that’s all been taken away from me.'"
Mason won his legal claim, and was awarded £250,000 ($318,250) after it was decided that his ex-wife had deliberately tricked him into thinking the boys were his. She had been having an affair at the time (it is believed the boys all share a father), and had not been able to get pregnant for the first seven years of her marriage to Mason.
"I just didn’t know who I was any more," he told The Mail on Sunday.
"It’s like suffering a bereavement, it’s incredible, but in a way it’s even worse than that because it goes to the very heart of who you think you are. When someone asks you about your background, you tell them you’re the father of three children – it’s how you define yourself.
"In an instant I discovered I didn’t really have any children.
"You begin to question everything you thought you knew when such a fundamental pillar of your life is suddenly removed."
Along with dealing with this difficult revelation, Mason has also been trying to cope with his diagnoses of cystic fibrosis - a disease which killed his sister. He is also torn over the fact that he does not know who the boys' "real" father is. He hopes that his ex-wife will one day tell him the truth.