'I don't know how many girls there were in all, maybe 10. I have been an idiot,' shares Mark Owen about his secret relationships while he was dating his current wife Emma Ferguson.
Take That' star Mark Owen has owned up to cheating on his wife with at least 10 women - admitting he's "been an idiot." The 38-year-old singer began dating actress Emma Ferguson five years ago, the couple wed in 2009 and they are parents to two children, 3-year-old Elwood and 16-month-year-old Willow.
But Owen has now confessed to a string of affairs behind his wife's back, admitting to a series of drunken one-night stands while on tour with the band, as well as a secret relationship with accounts manager 24-year-old Neva Hanley. He says, "I don't know how many girls there were in all, maybe 10. I have been an idiot, a d**khead."
"All of the above and more. I have been living with the guilt. It has always been there - you carry it around with you. It held me back in my relationship with Emma, I wouldn't have done any of this if I had my time again." He admits his affair with Hanley, which began in 2004, continued up until just weeks before his wedding in November 2009 - but insists he has been faithful to his wife since they exchanged vows.
He adds, "When I met Neva in September it was because I was having a tough time with Emma. I wasn't feeling very good about myself or the future. After that last meeting I realized I had to try to sort my life out. I had to change the person I was. The wedding for me was a new slate and a new start. In my head there was never a time when I was doubting getting married. It was a chance for me to put it all behind me."
The "Shine" star's exploits were uncovered in an interview with British newspaper The Sun, and the report also revealed Owen has given Hanley nearly $18,000 over the last few months, but he's adamant he wasn't paying her to keep quiet - he was just helping out a friend in need. He says, "She phoned me the week before I got married."
"She said she had lost her job and was going to lose her flat (apartment) - and asked if I could help her out. In all I paid her about 12,000 pounds, the last one just last week. I wasn't paying Neva to keep her quiet."
Owen admits he has now told his wife everything, he's quit drinking and they are trying to repair their relationship, "She loved me - she still does love me - and I have let her down. I wish I had told Emma about this before we got married and come clean then. I wish I had realized about my drinking earlier. Emma is a strong girl, she has to do what is right for her and the kids. And I am here if she wants me. I want to do the right thing now for the kids and Emma. I am really sorry that I have done this to them, and to Emma."