Richard Mason had been married to Kate Mason for 20 years, and they had three sons together. Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t work out, but his biggest setback wasn’t his divorce. He was 55 and had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, a disorder that effects the lungs and can make it difficult to breathe.
Discovering he had a serious health condition was bad enough, but to top it off, his diagnosis made him realize that his ex-wife had been keeping a secret from him throughout their marriage. And when her secret started to unravel, Mason realized that he might not know his family as well as he thought he did.
He Was a Highly Successful Businessman
Richard Mason was a businessman from the United Kingdom, and a rather successful one at that. He was only 55 years young and he was the co-founder of MoneySupermarket.com, which people use for looking up pricing comparisons when shopping. But his biggest accomplishment was closer to home.
He Was a Family Man, Too
Mason had a beautiful wife named Kate, whom he met back when they were both working at a local bank. They eventually married and had three handsome boys including his son Will, and twins Ed and Joel.
He Had Found the Key to Happiness
He knew that the key to a happy family involved working very hard to provide well for them. So, that’s exactly what he did, and he never failed to go above and beyond to ensure all of their needs were met. But he never expected his world to crumble the way it did.
His Marriage Was Over
By the time Will was 23 and the twins were 19, Mason and Kate had decided to split up as their marriage was no longer working. But they both remained committed to being there as a family for their kids despite divorcing in 2008. But Kate was money hungry, as Mason soon found out.
Kate Wanted More Money
During the legal proceedings of their divorce, Kate demanded that Mason provide her with a large lump sum of money. He ultimately agreed to pay her $5 million, which would include whatever money she needed to help their sons out with school and other expenses. But for years, she continued to bug him for more money and he wasn’t sure why.
He Discovered His Ex Had a Secret
Despite divorcing in 2008, Mason didn’t learn about Kate’s deep, dark secret until 2016. Apparently, she had kept something from him throughout their marriage, and he didn’t even realize she had any secrets until he went to the doctor to get a routine check-up.
He Was Diagnosed With Cystic Fibrosis
During his check-up, the doctor told Mason that he had cystic fibrosis. The news was a major emotional shock and he was having a rough time processing it. But the doctor wasn’t done delivering bad news.
The Disease Made It Hard to Breathe
Mason was in his mid-50s so this diagnosis scared him nearly to death, though he shouldn’t have been surprised. His sister also had this disease which leads to constant lung infections that result in lung damage and diminished lung capacity. And since it was a genetic disease, he thought about his sons right away.
He Was Concerned For His Kids
His mind was flooded with concern for his three sons. Facing this disease at any age was tough, but he wanted his boys to have a long and wonderful life free of the limitations of this horrible condition. But when he asked the doctor about his boys, the doctor's answer left him speechless.
Mason Found Love Again
Mason had remarried to a woman named Emma Louise Jones, and the doctor assumed that he was referring to any future kids he might have with his second wife. But that’s not what Mason thought the physician was talking about at all.
He Was Sterile
According to Mason, “When the discussion then turned to fertility, he said, ‘Look, yourself and Emma (Richard’s second wife) you know- you’re gonna have difficulty having children because you are, as a man with cystic fibrosis, infertile.'” He couldn’t believe his ears.
He Was in Denial
Mason assumed that his cystic fibrosis had been misdiagnosed because he was a proud father of three. “Well,” he told the doctor, “you must have the diagnosis wrong because I’ve already got three boys.” Then the doctor gave him a funny look.
Mason Told the Doctor He Was Wrong
During an interview, Mason explained: “I actually felt pleased to be able to tell him this, because in my mind it proved his diagnosis was wrong.” But when the doctor’s eyes got really big, he suspected that he was in for even worse news.
His Ex-Wife Had Lied To Him
The doctor’s silence confirmed what Mason had already concluded in his mind. There was nothing wrong with his diagnosis. His ex-wife Kate had cheated on him more than once, possibly with the same man, and his three sons weren’t really his at all.
The Reality of the Situation Started to Set In
Mason’s world had just crumbled. Not only had he just learned that he had cystic fibrosis, but also that his ex-wife had been unfaithful to him and spawned three kids with another man. But as he sat in the doctor's office pondering, he couldn’t help but wonder if there had been any red flags in his past.
He Had Been Blinded By Love
Mason never imagined that his ex-wife, Kate, would have been with another man. But as he thought about it more and more, he realized that there had been warning signs. He just didn’t see them. Had his love for her unintentionally blinded him to the truth?
There Were Warning Signs
There was one time Mason remembered when Kate went on a work trip to London and had to stay overnight because her flight got canceled. But this wasn’t an isolated incident. As a busy businessman, however, he too had to work late and go on trips, but he never slept with another woman while he was married. So, did Kate cheat on him while he was working to put food on the table?
He Started Having Doubts
Mason never had any reason to believe that his boys weren’t really his. But now that the doctor had told him he was sterile, he recalled several occasions when people would tell him that the twins didn’t look anything like him. And it turns out that his ex may have given him the biggest clue of all.
They Were Both Christians
Mason and Kate were raised as Christian and they were also baptized. There was no one on either side of their family of the Jewish faith, and yet, Kate had insisted that their kids learn more about Judaism.
She Wanted the Kids to Embrace Judaism
When the couple got pregnant with their first child, Will, Kate brought up the idea of teaching their son and their future kids about Judaism. And by the time the twins were born, she met with a Rabbi and taught the kids all about the Jewish faith. She also gave her three kids Jewish middle names, too. But why was she so interested in doing this?
He Focused on His Sons’ Appearances
Then Mason started to focus on the way his kids looked. They definitely looked like their mother, but not like him. Then he realized that they did have similar physical characteristics to someone within his wife’s circle of friends. But was this man the biological father of his kids?
He Started Putting the Clues Together
The first thing Mason concluded was that Kate had been sleeping with someone else whenever she went away on a business trip. He also suspected that it was one of her co-workers because his kids looked a lot like him and he was Jewish.
He Needed a Moment to Calm Down
Learning that Kate had cheated on him was excruciatingly painful from an emotional perspective and a major blow to his male ego. He wondered if she had done it because she didn’t feel he was man enough or maybe she didn’t feel that he was a good enough husband. And he couldn’t stop wondering if the cheating had been unintentional or deliberate, so he set out looking for answers.
It Couldn’t Have Been an Accident
Was the cheating accidental? After some careful consideration, he realized it was no accident since she ended up having two more kids with the same man. This made him feel worse because it suggested that her cheating was pre-meditated. But did she love this other man?
Did She Love the Other Man In Her Life?
Mason wondered if the relationship Kate had with this other man was purely a physical arrangement or if she did love him at one point? Did he love her back? Was he even aware of the fact that her children were his? The more he thought about it, the more he wanted answers. So, he decided to confront her.
He Pressed His Ex For Answers Via E-Mail
Mason sent Kate an e-mail explaining to her what the doctor had diagnosed him with and the fact that males with cystic fibrosis were infertile. Then he asked her to tell him what would be the best approach in telling their sons that he was not the father.
She Read It, But Didn’t Respond
Mason waited patiently for a response and ultimately noticed that his ex had read his e-mail but failed to reply. He figured that the least that she could do was finally confess to what she had done. But when he didn’t hear from her, he decided to send another e-mail anyway.
He Sent Her a Second E-Mail
To reinforce what he had written in his first e-mail, his second e-mail read, “I was hoping that you could relieve me of further indignity by letting me know now if I am the father. I am happy to go along with your advice as to how best tell the boys. But, if you force me to go through these extra tests then I shall be telling them as I wish.” But did she respond?
She Lied Straight to His Face
Kate ignored his first e-mail but replied to his second one by denying that she had ever cheated on him. “Of course the boys are yours, no matter what the science might suggest,” she wrote. But he obviously didn’t believe her anymore.
He Went Through With His Promise
Mason had passively warned Kate in his e-mails that he would undergo DNA testing and tell their sons about what he had learned if she didn’t come clean. Well, her response didn’t convince him that she was being honest, so he went through with his words and got tested.
He Reached Out To His Eldest Son
Mason told his eldest son, Will, about his diagnosis and explained that he wanted him to get tested, too, to see if he had cystic fibrosis. During an interview, Mason recalled: “I told him I’d just been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which he took surprisingly calmly.”
His Son Took the News Well
Mason told Will that because of his cystic fibrosis, it was biologically impossible for him to father a child. Then Mason explained what his eldest son said to him: “He said, ‘I’m already ahead of you, Dad. You’re saying you’re probably not my father?'”
He Would Always Be His Dad
“It would have been the hardest sentence to utter, and he did it for me,” Mason said regarding his conversation with Will. He immediately told his son that he was still his dad regardless. But he was still pretty angry that Kate had put him in this position.
Mason Was Still Reeling
For 23 years, Mason thought that he had sired three sons who carried his genetic legacy, but it wasn’t true. To top it off, he also had cystic fibrosis, which meant that his quality of life would only worsen with time.
He Contemplated Ending it All
Mason revealed that he had considered suicide after learning about his ex-wife's infidelity and that he wasn’t a biological father to his three boys. But fortunately, his second wife, Emma, was there to give him the courage to see things through. But how did he meet his new wife?
A Fellow Co-Founder Had Introduced Them
Fellow Money Supermarket co-founder Simon Nixon had introduced Emma to him. Before long Mason realized they were destined to be together and he proposed to her on stage during the Daily Post’s Carols From Llandudno concert. But there was still the issue of Mason’s ex, and the person that confronted Kate was her own flesh and blood.
Will Spoke With His Mom
Will reached out to his mom Kate and asked her if Mason was truly his dad. Surprisingly, she was more forthcoming with her eldest son than she had been with her ex. But was he ready to handle the truth?
Kate Did Have An Affair
Kate told Will that she had started an affair with another man while she was married to Mason. The affair lasted 4 years and it was with someone she worked with at Barclays Bank. It was also there that she had met the man Will believed was his father this whole time.
Kate Continued to Insist the Boys Were His
Kate had finally confessed that she had cheated on Mason, but she continued to insist that he was the biological father of all three of their sons. But given that she had lied to him for so long, he wasn’t inclined to believe her. So, he did as he promised and he underwent testing.
He Turned to a Paternity Fraud Expert
Mason turned to Roger Terrell, a paternity fraud expert, for help. He ended up getting several tests to determine if Mason was capable of being a father. Sadly, the results concluded what his first doctor told him, which was that he couldn’t father any children. But to be sure, he and his sons needed to conduct DNA tests.
The Twins Got Tested First
His 19-year-old twins Ed and Joel took the DNA tests first and they showed that Mason was not their biological father. Although doctors had already told him that he was infertile, having the DNA test confirm the truth broke his heart.
Will Didn’t Want to Get Tested
Will refused to take a DNA test when the paternity fraud expert asked him. According to Will: “As far as I’m concerned, he’s my Dad and that’s that.” But he still loved his mom and he gave Mason an ultimatum to put an end to the drama that was changing their lives.
Will Didn’t Want His Mom to Get Sued
Had Will undergone DNA testing, Mason would have had a stronger case in court against his ex-wife, Kate. But Mason recalled that his eldest son gave him an ultimatum. “My eldest son told me, ‘Dad, if you sue Mum, I will never speak to you again,'” he shared.
Mason Defied His Son
Despite Will’s warning, Mason went ahead and sued Kate. Unfortunately, this cost him his eldest son, who kept his promised and never spoke to him again. But fortunately, Mason wasn’t completely alone in all of this.
His Twins Backed Him Up
Mason’s twin boys Ed and Joel did not turn their backs on him. In fact, he remembered a beautiful letter he got from one of them that read: “Dad, as I explained from the beginning you would never not be dad to me regardless of all of this. Of course I’ll stay in touch, that will never change… I’m always here for you too and you will always be Dad. Love you.”
He Won the Paternity Fraud Case
It was a tough road full of emotional obstacles, but in the end, Mason won the paternity fraud lawsuit against his ex-wife. The court ordered Kate to pay him $446,000. But there was one stipulation that he was reluctant to accept.
The Biological Father’s Identity Was Not Revealed
Mason felt that his sons deserved to know the identity of their biological father. Unfortunately, the agreement that Kate and her lawyers had stipulated was that the identity of their father had to remain a secret and the court accepted these terms. So, he ultimately agreed to those terms.
It Was Like Living in "The Matrix"
As the media picked up on the new story, sites like the Daily Mail interviewed Mason. And he shared with them how he felt about what he had gone through: "You don’t know what’s real and what isn’t. It's as if I’m living in 'The Matrix.' 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.'" But there was a silver lining to his medical discovery.
His Lungs Are Still Working
Although this story started out with a grim diagnosis, Mason did sort of win in the end. Not only did he make Kate pay for her indiscretions, but he appears to be responding quite well to treatments for his cystic fibrosis. His lungs are reportedly working at 71% capacity. Unfortunately, his wife had a bit of a setback.
Living Life to the Fullest
Shortly after Mason’s diagnosis, his wife Emma learned that she had stage three breast cancer. And although she was able to fight it, they know it may return someday. So, in the meantime, they have decided to live life to the fullest each day.