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'My ex-husband, 50, is marrying his cousin, 26, who was a guest at our wedding'

Readers Lounge By Mirror

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When Emma Keeley woke up on the day of her wedding she felt overcome with excitement.

Thinking of the day ahead, the bride-to-be envisioned love, laughter and celebration.

But what she didn’t anticipate is that her husband would eventually leave her and shack up with one of their wedding guests – his cousin, more than 20 years younger, who stands just yards away from them in their wedding pictures.

Emma, 44, fancied car salesman Wayne Dalton, 50, the minute she met him in a nightclub in March 2004.

A stocky bodybuilder type, Wayne immediately caught Emma’s eye and the pair got chatting.

“Despite his appearance, Wayne was actually really quiet and shy,” Emma recalls.

“I thought he was really handsome, and he was pretty charming too.

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“He wasn’t cocky at all, and I liked that about him. We exchanged numbers and started dating.

"Pretty soon, we were in a serious relationship.

When Wayne Dalton split from his wife Emma, he went on to marry his 26-year-old cousin Samantha (Image: MEDAVIA)

“He was my first long-term relationship, and he seemed different to other blokes.

'He was warm and considerate, and treated me well."

The couple’s daughter Grace was born in October 2006 and a year later, Emma and Wayne tied the knot in a fairytale church ceremony.

“The day was perfect,” Emma said. “I felt like the luckiest woman in the world.

"We exchanged our vows in front of 40 guests – including Wayne’s first cousin, Samantha Riley, now 26.

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“Wayne and Samantha’s mums are sisters, and although Samantha was just a teenager at the time, she was one of the first people we invited when we set the date, as she was family.

“We weren’t particularly close, but we’d always see her at family events and at Christmas.

“Whenever we popped over to see Wayne’s auntie, she’d come in dressed in her school uniform and dart upstairs to her room straight away.

“She was a shy, but sweet girl and even posed alongside us in our official wedding photos.

Emma fancied car salesman Wayne Dalton the minute she met him in a nightclub in 2004 (Image: MEDAVIA)

“I was on cloud nine as I smiled for the camera, and I couldn’t think of a nicer bunch of people to share our big day with.”

The following year, in September 2008, Emma and Wayne went on to have a son, Joe, who completed their family.

“Having another child was the icing on the cake for us,” says Emma, a receptionist from Liverpool.

“The four of us soon settled into family life and for a while, things were good. But Wayne and I had our ups and downs like any other couple and in time our relationship became strained.

“In January 2017, after months of arguing, we decided Wayne should move out of the family home to give us both some much-needed breathing space.

“He still saw the kids, and we remained civil. It was tough, but although we were taking some time apart, we remained in close contact.”

In July 2018, Emma broke things off with Wayne for good.

Still reeling from the fact that her marriage was over, what she learned next made things even worse.

She said: “I noticed he was spending more time than ever with his young cousin, Samantha.”

Emma and Wayne tied the knot in 2006 in a fairytale church ceremony (Image: MEDAVIA)

Four months later, in November 2018, Emma discovered the devastating truth.

A family member informed her Wayne and Samantha had been spotted in public together. 

“I immediately confronted Wayne,” she said. “And he confirmed it straight away. 

His face fell the moment I told him I knew. He was almost in tears – he put his head down and just nodded.

Then he explained that he’d fallen for her.

“I couldn’t help myself – I completely blew up at him. I called him some things which I now regret.

"I was horrified to be honest. His mum and Samantha’s mum are sisters, he’s old enough to be her dad.

“Our divorce was finalised this year, while Samantha and Wayne are now engaged.

“I’m moving on but when I look back at our wedding photos and see all three of us smiling for the camera, it still breaks my heart.”

Emma was horrified to discover the truth about Wayne and his cousin Samantha's relationship (Image: MEDAVIA)

Wayne says: “All those things have happened but at the end of the day we tried to make things work but it didn’t.

“As far I was concerned, I was single – I was already living at my mum’s before anything happened with Samantha.

“I’ve not done anything wrong.

“I can see Emma’s point of view, she’s bitter, but it wasn’t going to work out with her.

“Yeah of course I know I’m going to have some stick over being with my cousin.

“But at the end of the day the Royal Family have been doing it for hundreds of years and I’m not doing anything illegal.

“We got together, we get on, we bounce off each other and we bond with each other, we help each other out.

“I’ve got nothing to hide, all I’ve done is carry on with my life.

“Yes Samantha was at our wedding, but I didn’t think about it when we got together.

“She was a kid, I didn’t look at her that way. She was just part of the family back then.”?

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