BEN Foden has admitted he “wasn’t very respectful” to ex Una Healy after marrying second wife Jackie on the day his divorce was finalised.
The rugby hunk, 35, wed Jackie Belanoff Smith on board a yacht in the US last August – a year after splitting from wife of six years Una.
And the ex-England international admits he could have handled things better.
In an interview with Sharon Carpenter on Instagram Live, he said: “I hold my hands up and say, it was wrong. My final decree didn’t even come through until the morning of us getting married.
“People will say I wasn’t very respectful in what I did, getting married to Jackie very quickly, but you can’t help the heart and we’ve got past it.”
The decree absolute is the final stage of the divorce process and is required so that a person can remarry.
Ben has two children – Aoife, eight, and Tadhg, five – with Saturdays singer Una.
Their marriage ended in 2018 after Ben cheated on her with PR girl Becky Milne, 28.
In the months that followed, Ben turned to dating apps and it sounds like he had no trouble finding matches.
He said: “I did a lot of dating. I went a bit crazy for about six-seven months, on a few of the well known apps. I had a lot of fun.
“When I met Jackie, she was like no one I’ve ever met before in so many departments. She’s very independent, very free-spirited.
“She was at a point where she was like, ‘I want to meet someone and get married and have kids’. Even though in my head I was like, ‘Oh I don’t really want to do that’ I knew she’d make such a good mum.
“I knew she’d be really kind and respectful to my other kids from my other marriage.”
The couple went on to have daughter Farrah, who was born in May.
Last week Una opened up to Fabulous about the challenging time in her personal life.
“Divorce is a tough old thing to go through,” she said. “You don’t walk down the aisle expecting this to happen. You hope it’s going to be forever and you don’t marry with any other intention.
“And when it doesn’t work out, it’s devastating. Totally devastating.
“So that was hard enough, but last summer when he got married again, that was a big shock to me. I was like: ‘Woah, what is this?’
“It was something else I had to get my head around. But life goes on, doesn’t it?”
“It just moves faster for some than others, obviously!”
She was honest about the difficulties Ben’s move to the States has caused, especially given the last six months – single-handedly keeping the show on the road through a pandemic and lockdown, juggling home-schooling, a career and running a household has been no picnic.
When restrictions eased and Aoife and Tadhg flew to America to spend a few weeks with Ben and Jackie and their new half-sister in July, it was the first time they’d seen their dad since Christmas.
“Him living in America makes it difficult because it means we can’t really co-parent. So I’m the primary carer for the kids and they’re with me all the time. But any time he can get to have them for a period of time, it’s good,” she says.
“They’ve only been out there once and I guess they found it exciting. I try to keep as positive as I can about the situation and point out that they’re lucky to get to go to America and have fun, while I have a couple of weeks off myself – to maybe go on a holiday, too. So I try and see the positives of it.”
Aoife and Tadhg have been remarkably resilient about everything, and Una said she’s glad they have each other – the two of them are the best of friends.
Having them means she could never regret her relationship with Ben.
“Marriage is just a day you sign a paper. A relationship is so much more, and some relationships aren’t meant to be forever.
“The relationship was meant to be – I wouldn’t have my two gorgeous children if it wasn’t for it – so I could never look back and regret it. I just know now it wasn’t meant to be forever.
“I don’t actually think Tadhg has any memory of us all being together as a family. It’s normal for him. And for Aoife too now.
“If they looked around them and all they saw were happy families, then that might be different for them with their mummy and daddy not being together, but they don’t feel like the odd ones out. And there is so much love around them – they couldn’t be more loved.”
There have been a lot of issues to work through, but her relationship with Ben is civil these days.
“It was quite tough for a while, but that’s out of the way and we’re in a better place. We’re actually getting on quite well now for the sake of the children. We only talk about the children, though. We don’t call each other for chats and we’re not going to go off on holiday with each other like some people do!
“We’re not pals or friends who hang out, but there are no arguments now. I know it’s healthy for the children to have their dad in their life.”
She added: “I’ve allowed myself time to enjoy being free of something that wasn’t right and to feel lucky about that. You need to appreciate that rather than dwelling on the sadness of it not working out, it feels good being relieved of and free from what wasn’t right for you.
“The worst of it was towards the end, but we did have some really great times and I can look back and see that now.”
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