When most women communicate with their husband’s ex-wife, it is usually handled with kid gloves and a large dose of diplomacy.
So it’s all the more refreshing to discover that not everyone has such a tricky relationship with the ex. Indeed, model Miranda Kerr, who has a son with actor Orlando Bloom, recently gushed about her ex-husband’s fiancee, the singer Katy Perry: ‘We go on holidays together. We celebrate all the important milestones together,’ she said. ‘I love her. I mean, it’d be safe to say that I love her more than Flynn’s dad.’
So who has found friendship on this minefield? SAMANTHA BRICK spoke to four sets of women — and the men they have in common — who claim to be the best of friends . . .
THE TRUTH? SHE’S A MUCH BETTER MATCH FOR MY EX
Miranda Price, 42, a karate instructor and executive assistant, is in a relationship with Paul Giles, 42, a greenkeeper. They live in Tring, Hertfordshire. Miranda says:
I met Paul on a dating app in January last year, just before lockdown. Paul was very open about his relationship with his ex-wife Lisa. It was really clear to me that there was no animosity between them.
In early March we had a brief introduction and, in September, Lisa came round to Paul’s place with the children, where we met properly for the first time. We played hide-and-seek together which, in a one-bedroom house, made for a fun afternoon!
It was really important to give Paul and Lisa space to work through their new co-parenting arrangements. My relationship with Lisa has evolved naturally.
Over the past two years, Paul and I have helped out where we can and will continue to do so. She’s a mum living on her own and running a business during a pandemic. It’s important for women to support one another.
Lisa is a lot of fun and I’m really happy that we’re friends.
Paul’s ex-wife Lisa Giles, 40, is a mindset coach. She lives with her son, eight, and daughter, five, in Hertfordshire. Lisa says:
Paul’s ex-wife Lisa Giles (left) pictured with his new girlfriend Miranda Price (right)
After 12 years together, Paul and I broke up in October 2019 and he began seeing Miranda three months later. It was a shock that he had moved on so soon, but I did my homework on how to make a blended family work.
Before the children knew about Miranda, I met her on a video call with Paul, which went well. I knew the children would pick up on my positive attitude, and if I was happy, they would be too.
I’ll join her and Paul on dog walks with the children and, while it’s a relatively new friendship, we really complement one another.
Miranda is a strong person to come into a situation where I’m involved in her partner’s life on a regular basis. Yet I can see she is a much better match for Paul.
We’re so close we are now setting up a business together. That’s down to our shared values and commitment to one another. I’m really happy we’ve made it work.
PAUL SAYS: I’m glad that Miranda and Lisa get on. It makes life easier for everyone. It didn’t surprise me that they would bond because they’re both fun, caring people. My friends are positive about it and can see it’s a great example to the children.
Pictured: Paul and Lisa when they were married
NOT EASY AT FIRST- BUT SHE SAW ME THROUGH LABOUR
Rebecca Smith, 42, a quality adviser, is married to Darren, 47, a transport manager. They live in Pulloxhill, Bedfordshire, with their children Darcy, 11, Max, nine, and Oscar, three. Darren has a son Sammy, 17, from his first marriage to Maria. Rebecca says:
When Darren and I got together in November 2007, of course I was nervous about meeting Maria. In the early days it wasn’t always easy; I had never got on with any of my exes’ previous partners. But when you are decent people who want to make a situation work, you can.
I didn’t want our relationship to be just about coldly dropping the children off at the doorstep so, like it or not, Maria was a part of my life and I welcomed her into my home. She’s been a friend from the start.
Maria moved to Devon seven years ago and we’ve worked hard to maintain our friendship. She recently organised a birthday party for my daughter, Darcy. We had gone on holiday near Maria’s new home and the children — my three, Maria’s two and the one we share — loved spending time together.
Pictured (L-R): Darren’s new wife Rebecca, Darren and his ex-wife Maria
Friends are often surprised that we do this. I’m extremely proud of our relationship.
Darren’s ex-wife Maria Bailey, 45, is a grief specialist and director of Cope Academy. She has a son Sammy, 17, and George, seven, and Holly, five with her husband Luke. They live in Paignton, Devon. Maria says:
Darren and I split amicably in February 2007. I’d promised myself a year off men, so it was quite hard to see him move on so quickly. She was a friend of his friend’s wife, we’d been at social gatherings together. I liked her.
Around the time they decided to move in together, I asked if I could meet her for a cuppa. Even though I’d emotionally moved on, I was very nervous. But it was important to me that we all worked as a team for the sake of Sammy. By the end, we were getting on brilliantly.
Becky and I grew close and it helps that Darren and I still get on. When Becky was in labour with Darcy, I was rubbing her back. Her children today call me Aunty Mo.
DARREN SAYS: I am a very lucky man. It makes my life easier. We’ve been able to socialise with each other, ensuring the best for all of our children, especially Sammy. I was surprised how well they got on.
MY MOTHER-IN-LAW FOUND IT STRANGE …
Rianna Boyle, 28, a security worker, is married to Jamie, 32, also a security worker. They live in Basildon, Essex, with their children. Rianna says:
Jamie and I got together in August 2017, and I met Jennifer five months later. They have a son together and it was important to her to get to know me.
Jamie leaves arrangements to the last minute while Jennifer, like me, is more organised. I occasionally stepped in to get things in order. We found we really liked one another. Jennifer is happy to babysit our children. I’m proud to say there is no hatred in our lives. We talk on a daily basis. Jennifer even came to our wedding (right).
Other friends think it is a bit weird and, at first, Jamie’s mum found our relationship unusual. But I’m glad we got it right.
Pictured L-R: Rianna Boyle, Jamie’s wife and his ex-wife Jennifer Baker
Jamie’s ex-wife Jennifer Baker, 33, a photographer, lives with her partner, Duane Lansdale, 38, an account manager, her son Jacob, seven, and their son Lucas, nine months. They live in Southend, Essex. Jennifer says:
Jamie and I had been together for eight years and married for two of them when we split in 2017. Jamie met Rianna five months later. I really liked her.
I recently had a health scare and Rianna has been a massive support, helping me emotionally. That’s the kind of person she is.
I never would have imagined that out of my split with Jamie would come this quite magical friendship with Rianna.
JAMIE SAYS: I am happy that they get on. It makes it so much easier. I am grateful for Rianna, as things between myself and Jen are now really good.
Pictured: Jamie and Rianna on their wedding day
I ANNOUNCED PREGNANCY AT HER GIRL’S BAPTISM
Jackie Judd, 49, a midday supervisor in a school, is married to Richard, 58, a former facilities manager. They have a son Paul, 23, and Richard has a daughter, Laura, 31, from his first marriage to Su. They live in Rugby, Warwickshire. Jackie says:
Richard and I started seeing one another two years after his divorce. Su made it her business to get to know me, making no bones about the fact that in seeing Richard I was getting Laura, too. It was non-negotiable and I respected her for that.
We got through those initially gnarly years by having family meetings. We learnt there was no point in talking about issues behind one another’s backs.
There have been times we fell out for stupid reasons. For example at Su’s daughter Shannon’s christening, I announced I was pregnant with my son Paul. Su felt it was the wrong moment. I was wrong to have done that and admitted, it and we soon cleared the air.
She is an incredibly lovely person. We’ve learnt to trust one another, and even go on holiday together, with Richard in tow.
Pictured L-R: Jackie Judd, Richard’s wife and Su Heighton, his ex-wife
Richard’s ex-wife Su Heighton, 54, a former supermarket administrator, has two children, Laura, 31, and Shannon, 24. She also lives in Rugby. Su says:
When Richard started seeing Jackie, I was a bit put out — she was half my size for starters and younger than me.
When Richard asked Jackie to marry him, I was taken aback when she asked me to be her maid of honour. I organised the hen party, helped her choose her wedding dress and even made their wedding cake.
I contracted Covid in January this year. After three weeks in hospital, Jackie was waiting to take me home. I love her to bits. She is my best friend. We’re inseparable.
RICHARD SAYS: I was briefly married to Su, and I’m proud we’ve remained on friendly terms. But it’s Jackie who is the real love of my life. I never quite expected them both to forge such a strong, lifelong friendship.