FEW women would cope well with a husband besieged on social media by topless photos sent from admirers, particularly if he had a history of infidelity.
But Jackie Smith Foden insists the adage of “once a cheat, always a cheat” does not apply to her husband Ben, as she gushes about their sex life and he speaks of how sexy she is.
Jackie Smith Foden insists the adage of ‘once a cheat, always a cheat’ does not apply to her husband BenCredit: OK! Magazine
Ben with Una in 2011Credit: Splash News
Speaking exclusively alongside the rugby star, Jackie says: “People perceive Ben as some slimy, habitual cheater and it’s really not who he is. I don’t think Ben could possibly cheat on me.
“Everyone’s like, ‘He cheated on this beautiful, famous pop star — of course he could cheat on you’. But that’s just not the dynamic we have.”
Jackie, 37, married Ben, 36, on Saturday August 3, 2019 — just two DAYS after his divorce from The Saturdays singer Una Healy was finalised.
Their six-year marriage ended in 2018 after the shattering discovery that Ben had cheated on a night out with rugby pals in February 2015, days after the birth of their son Tadhg, now seven.
Parents also to Aoife, ten, Una and Ben had been separated for a year when he met Jackie, a socialite and former magazine editor, in New York.
The couple welcomed daughter Farrah in May 2020
The swiftness with which Ben moved on did not endear him to Una’s fans and he was the first celeb eliminated from this year’s Dancing On Ice.
Jackie has since slammed the show, which draws to a close this weekend, as simply a “popularity contest”.
And she insists the pair trust each other utterly, saying: “We have our passwords saved in each other’s phones, we use each other’s laptops, we track each other on Find My Friends. I could go through his Instagram right now if I wanted to.
“We have a very honest and open relationship. We don’t lead separate lives. It’s frustrating that Ben’s cheating is brought up constantly.”
She claims Ben’s marriage to Una was already dead when he strayed.
When the story broke, PR girl Becky Milne was named as his fling and it emerged that Una left Ben after discovering texts between the pair on his phone.
Jackie says: “Ben’s this good-looking, famous rugby player who always had women making advances towards him.
“He was depressed and it was a moment of emotional escape at a time when he felt his marriage was already over.
“Was it wrong? Yes. But do I understand why he did it? Yes. Do I think he would make the same mistake again, even if our relationship doesn’t work out? No.”
Ben, who won 34 caps for England and sang on The X Factor: Celebrity in 2019, still gets plenty of female attention.
Jackie says: “Every time another woman sends Ben topless photos, he shows me. It happens every day on Snapchat or his Instagram DMs, though he never responds.
“It’s bizarre and really gross how so many women try it on with a married man with kids.
“I trust him completely. If, one day, we fall out of love, we will be able to talk to each other and end it cleanly.
“He won’t give me any excuse to trash his reputation and I won’t feel scorned by him.”
The New Yorker was introduced to Ben by a mutual pal in June 2019, soon after he had started playing rugby in the US city.
After a first date, they didn’t see each other until that August while Ben filmed The X Factor. Date two was at a friend’s wedding in Nantucket, Massachusetts, followed by a four-week holiday there.
We have a very honest and open relationship. We don’t lead separate lives. It’s frustrating that Ben’s cheating is brought up constantly.
Jackie Smith Foden
By the end of the trip — two months after meeting — they were married.
Jackie says: “When my friend gave me Ben’s number, she warned me, ‘He just got divorced with a very public cheating scandal and he has two kids’.
“They signed the divorce papers way before we met and were just waiting for the decree absolute. The day the divorce finalised, we went to City Hall and filed an intent to marry.
“The following day we met a yacht captain who said we were welcome to do it on board.
“It was just me, Ben and my sister there, with a beautiful sunset.
“Then Ben made the announcement and everything went crazy. I had no idea until then he was that popular or famous in England. It was bonkers.
“People were showing up at my parents’ houses, contacting people I went to high school with, slipping notes under my door asking for interviews.”
Ben says: “I never thought I’d get married again that quickly. I’d just been through a stressful break-up. I have kids, they were my main priority.
“Jackie sort of crept up on me! I knew she was The One pretty quickly.
“Yes, she’s a very good-looking girl with sex appeal but it’s more than that. Whenever you walk into a room, everyone’s excited about her being there.
“She’s good vibes. I like to think of myself like that, that I go into a room and bring energy and happiness rather than sapping it away.
“We’re just very much in love. It gets tougher when you have kids involved, we’re tired, but we have a healthy sex life, nothing too crazy.”
Jackie has paid a price for their happiness, being targeted by online trolls. She says: “Any time I post a photo, I’m compared to Una.
I never thought I’d get married again that quickly. I’d just been through a stressful break-up. I have kids, they were my main priority.
“I get told, ‘Your husband’s going to cheat on you, it’s only a matter of time’.
“It’s really sad. He messed up once. Una and he were not meant to be together. I get that I’m not as pretty or as famous as Una, but we’re really happy.”
Ben has since admitted he owed Una an apology for the “shock” of his second marriage.
His relationship with his ex now revolves around the kids, who are based in Co Tipperary, Ireland, with Una. Ben sees them during school holidays.
He says: “Being away from the kids for work is stressful and Covid wasn’t ideal as the US blocked Brits from entering for months.
“I always say to Una I’ll see the kids as much as possible and have them whenever she wants me to. They come here for six weeks every summer.
“Anyone who meets Aoife and Tadhg is always saying how wonderful they are — they’re polite, they’re well mannered, beautiful, good natured. Una is doing a brilliant job.”
Despite the challenges they have faced, Jackie is insistent that the pair are closer than ever.
She explains: “We’re very intimate, we’re great in that department and very honest about our needs.”
And with Farrah approaching her second birthday, another child is on the couple’s radar.
Jackie says: “I want to time my pregnancy with my best friend, so hopefully by December we’ll be expecting. Motherhood has been an absolute dream.”
Ben says: ‘I never thought I’d get married again that quickly. I’d just been through a stressful break-up. I have kids, they were my main priority’Credit: PA:Empics Sport
Jackie and Ben wed two months after meetingCredit: OK! Magazine