The mum of nine who abandoned her husband of 23 years with whom she had nine children for a Gambian toyboy has defended herself on daytime TV.
Heidi Hepworth, 44, from West Boldon, South Tyneside, revealed how she met Mamadou ‘Salieu’ Jallow, 32, on Facebook.
Despite never previously going abroad before, Heidi uprooted to Banjul to be with Mamadou, she said on Loose Women today.
When asked if it was true love, Heidi said:
Yeah, I’ve got photograph on me bank card. I’ve got three children that were under 16. The holiday was planned for three months. They’re all 28 to six.
There were only three of them left behind who I would have loved to take. They were left with my older daughter, she’s 28. I went for a month.
They went to school from home and stayed in their own home. It was planned for months.
Speaking about the beginnings of their tryst, she explained:
Salieu contacted me out of the blue. We got talking, just chit chat. Just a friend request. We just chatted for three or fourth months. My marriage was over. The marriage had many, many turns in the road as it went down that straight, as marriages do, you separate. It went stale.
When I first started talking to Salieu (my husband and I) were together. We were friends. But then I made the decision to leave and then things progressed between me and Salieu.
He was like a confidant, he was easy to talk to. And if you had a problem, he’d try and solve it for you. He’s 32. I’m 44. I started talking to him in January, left Andrew in May and I went out to visit him in October.
Folk on Twitter went off:
This is disgusting and so close to home for me, it damages relationships with children and these cannot be repaired!!!
— Georgiaa (@GeorgiaMalcolm1) February 1, 2018
Can we have an update on this woman in a few months time when shes been fleeced of all her money im so sorry shes deluded x
— silvana pickering (@silpickering) February 1, 2018
Never accept these friend requests there is only one thing they are after and if she didn’t reply some other women would, those poor children x
— Tracy (@tracydepont) February 1, 2018
When Heidi began her journey, she admitted the experience was ‘daunting’.
I got on the plane and thought ‘Oh my God, what have I done?’. But then I got there, and he met us off the plane with his brother and friend, and it was alright. It was magical.
He doesn’t want nothing. He has three businesses. He has his own passport, his own visa – why would he ask me for a visa if he’s got one.
He comes regularly to England to visit his brother’s son. His brother had a wife here who’s tragically died. And they come regularly.
Despite engaging in a long-distance relationship, Heidi insists it works out. She says Salieu even has a good relationship with her kids and they talk regularly.
“I don’t have a single regret leaving my children and husband of 23 years"- UK Woman Who Left Her 9 Children To Meet With Her African Toyboy Speaks Out
— GidiFeed (@GidiFeed) December 2, 2017
Salieu video chats to them every day to them. They love him. He’s always sending them little presents via video chat, like little dolls and stuff like that. It works.
The older children, there’s only two – one lives with their father, one lives with her husband – there’s only them two that disagree.
There was a broadcaster here and he reported back to Gambia, and it was all over the radio, TV, with my picture and everything. It was devastating, but I did go to Gambia on my own free will.
Dunno where I stand on this to be honest. I feel bad for the kids but at the same time, Salieu really pulls off sunglasses.
All’s fair in love and war.