‘I was gutted by the affair but now I see that he preyed on Leanne’ ,It was a betrayal that would rip any family apart.Months after marrying Julie King following a whirlwind romance, cheating Vince Bienvenu began a sordid affair – with Julie’s 25-year-old daughter Leanne Taylor.And within weeks, Leanne discovered she was pregnant with her jobless stepfather’s child.But when Julie, 47, found out she astonishingly put her anger and heartbreak aside to forgive her daughter.
And she’s now helping to raise Leanne’s child – who is both her granddaughter and stepdaughter.Julie says: “Vince played both Leanne and me for fools. He thought he could have his cake and eat it.“I don’t blame Leanne for breaking up my marriage. I blame Vince. Leanne is my daughter and I’ll always love her, no matter what.”Incredibly, that maternal love has even overcome Leanne’s total lack of remorse over the affair with her stepdad.The single mum reveals she sought comfort in his arms after the cot death of her other eight-month-old daughter Mia.
She says: “I’d always held a candle for Vince, even though he’d married Mum. When Mia died, I was lost in grief.“He started to give me the occasional hug when I was feeling low. Before long, we ended up in bed.”I don’t blame myself and I don’t regret anything. If I hadn’t got together with Vince, I wouldn’t have Nevaeh.”Jobless Vince, 41, was introduced to the family by Leanne’s sister in 2012.He made a beeline for Julie, asking her out using the karaoke mic at their local pub in Blackpool.
Phone saleswoman Julie says: “I didn’t think of Vince in a romantic way at first.”I was annoyed he’d asked me out so publicly. But the chemistry was amazing.”
Yet Leanne, who had just split with a long-term partner and was sharing a flat with her sister, was less than impressed.She’d already had her eye on him.
“I was gutted when they got together because I’d been hoping he might have feelings for me,” she says.
Three months later, Vince and Julie were out shopping when he suggested they go to their local register office for a marriage licence.”He had a cheeky grin on his face and I thought he was joking at first,” Julie says.“We hadn’t been together for long, but he insisted he was serious. I guess I just got swept along with the romance of it all.
“We set a wedding date and he said we should keep it to ourselves. He liked the idea of it just being the two of us.“I was dizzy with excitement, but I did feel a bit sad my kids wouldn’t be there to see me walk down the aisle.”The pair married in December 2012. Two friends, sworn to secrecy, acted as witnesses.Julie says: “It all happened so fast. Leanne was a bit emotional when I told her.”She was annoyed we hadn’t included her in the plans.”But that paled into insignificance one night three months later when a devastated Leanne rang from her flat to say she had found Mia dead in her cot.
“We rushed to Leanne’s side,” says Julie. “I thought my heart might break. Mia looked so peaceful, like she was just sleeping.”Leanne, who also has a six-year-old son, adds: “I was devastated. If I hadn’t had my son, I’m not sure how I’d have found the strength to go on..”Over the next few weeks, I started to open up to Vince when mum was at work. I was desperate for someone to comfort me.”Julie says: “Christine had started to notice Leanne and Vince had become close. She told me she thought something was going on.”She’d noticed Vince touching Leanne’s knee as they sat on the couch.
“I confronted Vince but he told me I was being ridiculous. He insisted he’d never have married me if he’d wanted Leanne. I wanted so much to believe him.”
But when Leanne came round she was unable to lie to her mother.She says: “I blurted out that we’d been sleeping together and ran out of the room.”
Julie was crushed.“I just couldn’t believe I had been betrayed in such an awful way,” she says.“I was utterly heartbroken. Vince tried to wrap his arms around me, telling me he was sorry and he’d been weak.”He begged me to take him back and, after a few days, I relented. I didn’t want to feel my marriage had failed after just a few months.“Of course, things were very strained between Leanne and me. Vince and I went to marriage counselling.”It was hopeless, though. The trust was gone forever and we soon split for good.”Heartbroken Julie cut all contact with both Vince and Leanne and tried to move on.
Unknown to her, Vince had moved in with Leanne. And her daughter was about to drop another bombshell.Leanne reveals: “Just a few days after Vince moved in, I fell pregnant. It wasn’t planned, but we were ecstatic.”Of course, I worried how I’d tell mum. Eventually, I plucked up the courage to call her.”
Julie dropped her phone in horror.She says: “It was too much. I was in shock for a few months but, as time went on, I realised how much I wanted to have a relationship with my unborn grandchild.“I was prepared to build bridges with Leanne, but I told my friends she had to make the first move.
“Eventually she called and we met for a coffee. It was a bit awkward as she was still with Vince, but it was a start.”
Julie couldn’t bear to be at Leanne’s side when her daughter arrived in December 2014, but she had no idea that cracks were beginning to show between Leanne and Vince.After a row, Leanne asked a friend to be her birthing partner.She says: “At first, Vince had seemed really excited about becoming a dad.
“But as time went on, he became distant and seemed more interested in going out and having fun.“We struggled on a for a few months before I broke down and told my mum it just wasn’t working.
“Now we no longer had the thrill of a secret affair, he didn’t seem bothered. I began to realise just how much he’d manipulated my mum and me.
“My mum was really understanding and told me she would help out if I wanted to split with Vince and make a fresh start. Now, we’re closer than ever.”
Julie, who aims to divorce Vince, adds: “I loved my baby but the first few months were strange as she looked so much like Vince.”Every time I held her, I was reminded of his betrayal. Thankfully, she now looks as Leanne did at the same age.
“I was gutted by their affair but I now see he preyed on Leanne when she grieving for Mia and it makes me sick to my stomach.”It might sound strange, but our family is closer than ever, even though Vince tried to drive a wedge between us. Neither of us will ever trust him again.”Vince admits: “I did sleep with Leanne, yes, but we’ve moved on. I see our daughter now and then.
“Things happen and it’s dealt with.”