Phone call exposes husband’s secret life
At first glance Mary Turner Thomson's romance with William Allen Jordan seemed almost too good to be true.
The Scottish woman met Jordan on a dating site on 2000, with their instant connection seeing the US-born man propose to Ms Thomson just three weeks after they virtually met.
Ms Thomson fell pregnant with daughter Eilidh that same year, with the couple welcoming son Zach three years later.
But their marriage came to an abrupt end in 2006 when Ms Thomson received a phone call from a woman who said she was also Jordan's wife.
In the end, Ms Thomson would discover Jordan had three "wives", 13 children with six different women, was a convicted paedophile and registered sex offender.
Jordan had been convicted of molesting a girl between the age of nine and 13 in 1997, just three years before he began his relationship with Ms Thomson.
The phone call exposed years of Jordan's lies and manipulation which Ms Thomson would later document in her book, The Bigamist: The True Story of a Husband's Ultimate Betrayal.
Jordan lied to Ms Thomson throughout their relationship, convincing her he was a CIA agent on secondment to the UK's MI5 division.
He faked pay cheques to support his claims and convinced Ms Thomson to sell her apartment and possessions to pay for supposed ransom threats against their children.
The traumatic situation left Ms Thomson homeless and caused her to comfort eat, weighing 120 kilos at her heaviest last year.
Now the mum-of-three has shared how she was able to gain control of her life again after the shocking betrayal.
'COMPLETELY UNDER HIS CONTROL'
When Ms Thomson met Jordan in 2000 she was a single mother with a nine-month-old baby girl called Robyn.
Jordan assured her he was infertile because of a childhood illness when they first met, leaving Ms Thomson stunned when she fell pregnant just six months into their relationship.
"I thought he was going to think I'd had an affair because he was so utterly convinced he couldn't have kids," she told Daily Mail in 2018.
Jordan would cover his visits to his other families by telling Ms Thomson he had to go on top-secret CIA missions frequently.
He convinced Ms Thomson to cough up $US250,000 ($A359,000) to stop kidnappers from taking their kids for ransom.
"By this stage, I was four years in and completely under his control, so I sold everything I owned - my house, my car, my life insurance, everything," she said.
While Jordan's long absences sometimes made her suspicious his expert lying always convinced her he was telling the truth - until it all unravelled in 2006.
'A SLAP IN THE FACE'
During an absence over Christmas in 2005, Jordan rang Ms Thomson to warn her the police would probably get in contact with her about a "bogus" charge.
They had discovered he had been living in the UK without registering his address as a sex offender.
But Jordan claimed the charge was fabricated to help him infiltrate a sex offenders' jail wing for one of his missions.
While Ms Thomson grew suspicious she still wasn't quite convinced of what the police and social services workers were telling her until she received a phone call from a woman in June 2006.
"She said 'I'm the other Mrs Jordan'," Ms Thomson told ITV in 2018.
The woman, Julie Bringhurst, revealed she had been married to Jordan the same time as she had, and had also been fed the same lie about Jordan being infertile.
Even more horrifyingly Jordan had also got Ms Bringhurst's nanny pregnant.
"We sat down and talked for 12 hours and compared notes," Ms Thomson said.
But she was only convinced when Ms Bringhurst called Jordan with Ms Thomson secretly on the other line.
"It was odd to hear my husband talking to his other wife. It was such a slap in the face," Ms Thomson said in 2006.
Jordan was jailed in 2009 for bigamy, gun crimes, fraud and failing to register as a sex offender.
He was later deported back to the US.
In the years since Jordan's deception was uncovered Ms Thomson comfort ate to cope with the trauma.
"After everything happened I initially gained two stone (12 kg)," she said, according to The Sun.
"I tried different diets to try to lose the weight, but nothing worked. I had resigned myself that this was going to be my size forever."
In 2006 she was left bed bound after slipping a disk which caused more weight gain.
"It was constantly in excruciating pain. I couldn't sleep for more than 15 minutes at a time and I had to do that sitting up with cushions piled up beside me," she said.
Between 2016 to 2018 she underwent two operations until she was finally able to walk again.
But despite her situation improving Ms Thomson still wasn't able to lose any of the extra weight and was 120kg.
It was only when she tried UK diet program Second Nature that the weight began to shift as she started eating better and moving more.
Ms Thomson has now lost 31 kilos and says she no longer craves the sweet foods she used rely on as a crutch.
"My tastebuds have completely changed and to me, things like milk and yoghurt now seem sweet," she said.
"I don't see it as a diet, I see it as a new way of life."
Originally published as Phone call exposes husband's secret life