When Richard Mason discovered that he had cystic fibrosis, he didn’t want to deal with this worrisome diagnosis on his own. Sadly, his entire world came crumbling down in just one day. Richard was 55 years old, and for two decades, he had three sons with his wife. Once he found out about his medical condition, he had an unsettling feeling. It wasn’t the diagnosis that scared him; there was something strange going on.
Richard had the overwhelming feeling that his wife had lied to him during the entire marriage. He quickly figured out what the lie was about. His diagnosis raised some huge questions, and eventually, revealed the truth. Although it’s better to have the truth out in the open, what Richard found out was devastating. This is Richard Mason’s story, a successful father living a lie, until one fateful doctor’s appointment.
55-year-old businessman Richard Mason was a happy, successful guy living in the U.K. Mason was involved in many different ventures. The most impressive business was co-founding MoneySupermarket.com, a popular website that many people use to compare prices while shopping.
Richard used to work at a bank, and that’s where he met his wife, Kate. After they got married, the pair wanted to start a family together. They had three wonderful sons, and life couldn’t have been happier. Richard was working hard to give him and his family a good life. What he never expected was for his entire life to fall completely apart. Sadly, that’s exactly what happened.
Richard and his wife Kate had three beautiful boys: Will, and the twins’ Ed and Joel. The children grew up, and when Will was 23-years old, and the twins were 19 years old, their parents made a tough decision that would affect the entire family. Kate and Richard decided to separate. They felt it was the best choice for them.
Unfortunately, people break up after being together for decades. The marriage was no longer serving them; however, the exes remained close. They wanted to stay on good terms for their boys, who understood their parent’s decision. In 2008, once all their kids were over the age of 18, the couple officially got divorced.
Even though the couple came to a mutual agreement about the divorce, things got a bit messier once the proceedings began. Kate was pushing for Richard to pay more money. They had already agreed to a $5 million financial settlement, which Kate would receive in a lump sum.
The $5 million Richard had to pay also included the tuition money for all three of their son’s private schools. What more could she want? Nevertheless, she wanted more money. Richard explained that Kate “hounded me for years… and tried to make me pay more.” As it turned out, there was a secret she had been keeping from him for years.
As we mentioned, the couple officially divorced in2008. However, it wasn’t until 2016 that Richard discovered that his wife Kate was keeping a major secret from him for years- throughout their entire marriage. To make matters worse, she couldn’t even own up to her wrongdoings.
Richard went into his doctor’s office for his annual check-up, and that’s when this immense secret started to unfold. It was apparent to Richard that his ex-wife was after his money. Even though they were divorced, Richard and Kate had spent decades together. He thought it just didn’t work out; what he never expected to find out is that she had been lying to him the whole time.
When Richard was 55 years old, he went to his routine doctor’s appointment. He thought it would be a quiet visit like it normally is. Sadly, the father of three wasn’t in and out of there as fast as he had expected. While he was already there, the physician decided to run a few extra tests.
Richard was in disbelief when the doctor delivered his prognosis that he had cystic fibrosis. He wasn’t expecting any major news at this doctor’s appointment, but it was hard for him to swallow the news. He had always been a healthy man who had just received a scary diagnosis. However, the doctor had more to say on the matter.
At this point in his life, being diagnosed with cystic fibrosis was terrifying for Richard. His sister had previously received a diagnosis for the same disease, so Richard knew there was a chance he would get it as well. Cystic fibrosis can be serious, but does it run in the family?
The disease causes common lung infections, which can later lead to damaged lungs and a decreased lung capacity. It makes it difficult to breathe, and it can tragically lead to death. Unfortunately, it is a genetic disease. As soon as Richard got the diagnosis, his mind immediately went to his three sons. What if he had genetically passed it on to them?
Richard was concerned that one or all of his three children might have the cystic fibrosis gene. The thought of himself having cystic fibrosis didn’t scare him nearly as much as the thought of one of his kids having the disease. Richard was dealing with a lot and didn’t even know what to say to the doctor. He was processing a life-changing realization.
As he was sitting there, trying to take in all this new information he was receiving, he understandably wanted to ask the doctor a few important questions. There was a lot he wanted to know, but he didn’t know where to start. He first asked about his sons. The answer he received is not what you’d think.
As it turns out, men with cystic fibrosis are infertile! That’s correct, men with the disease cannot have children, even though he was diagnosed with it later in life. But Richard has three sons. Imagine his confusion when he discovered that it wasn’t possible. Richard remembers the life-altering conversation:
“When the discussion then turned to fertility, he said, ‘Look, yourself and Emma (Richard’s second wife) you know- you’re gonna have difficulty having children because you are, as a man with cystic fibrosis, infertile.’” Since he had three healthy sons, Richard’s initial belief was that he had an incorrect diagnosis. I mean, if he was infertile, where did the kids come from? I’m sure you can see where this is going…
This diagnosis made absolutely no sense to Richard. He already had three children, so he must not have cystic fibrosis. It seemed like the only rational explanation, right? He told his doctor exactly what was on his mind: “Well, you must have the diagnosis wrong because I’ve already got three boys.” Richard figured they would just need to do more testing.
In an interview, Richard recalled, “I actually felt pleased to be able to tell him this, because in my mind it proved his diagnosis wrong.” The doctor was stunned and looked uncomfortable. He was stunned and didn’t know what to say back to his patient. Eventually, the truth became evident quite quickly.
Even though the doctor didn’t say a word, his silence told Richard a lot. The cystic fibrosis diagnosis was correct, and his ex-wife had been lying to him. It felt like his whole world came crumbling down. This realization was a harder pill to swallow than the actual disease.
Cystic fibrosis was nothing compared to finding out his whole life had been a lie. The 55-year-old had a lot to process. I mean, how does anyone react to this situation? Not only did your wife lie and cheat on you. But you find out that the three children that you raised weren’t biologically yours?! Finally, the truth came out.
Since he found out this devastating news while he was at the doctor… receiving two kinds of bad news, he didn’t know what to think. He was just sitting in the doctor’s office, thinking about all the times’ Kate might have lied to him. Understandably, he felt kind of stupid for not realizing this sooner.
He thought back and realized that there were a bunch of red flags that he should have paid attention to. However, he spent his marriage trusting his wife and ignoring the truth. Now that he knew the truth, he realized his whole life had been a lie. Did she really think she could get away with this? I guess she did for a while… but the truth always comes out.
Before he got diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, Richard had NEVER suspected that his ex-wife was sleeping with someone else during their marriage. As he looked back, it seemed like this affair was happening right under his nose. He had trusted his wife, and unfortunately, it had come back to bite him in the butt.
Richard was a successful businessman. He spent a lot of time working, and often he worked late at night. That’s why he never thought much of it when his wife randomly had to attend to a work-related matter. For example, there was that one time Kate went to London for a “work trip” and stayed an extra night because of her canceled flight … or so she said.
Before that fateful day at the doctor’s office, Richard never even considered that his three sons weren’t his. He thought he was getting a check-up and received life-shattering news instead. Sadly, his cystic fibrosis diagnosis was the easiest news of that day. What broke his heart was finding out that he’s infertile, and subsequently, his kids weren’t biologically his.
The biological factor doesn’t make someone a dad. Loving and raising the child is what makes you a parent, and Richard certainly did that when it came to his kids. He then remembered a few suggestive comments that he couldn’t get out of his head. For example, when his twins were born, everyone said they looked like Kate but not like Richard.
That wasn’t the only strange thing. Kate also made some odd suggestions when she was pregnant for the first time. While she was carrying her first baby, she and Richard had been married for just seven years. During her pregnancy with Will, she mentioned teaching their future kids Judaism. Richard found this a bit strange because she had never brought that up before.
Kate and Richard both got baptized and grew up learning Christianity. Instead of following the same traditions with her children, she met with a Rabbi, and her kids learned about Judaism. Plus, they gave all three kids Jewish middle names. As he was looking back, Richard wished he had paid more attention to all the red flags.
As you can imagine, so many thoughts were racing through Richard’s mind. He was trying to put all the heartbreaking pieces of his past together. That’s when he started wondering who the boys looked like, aside from Kate. Did he know the man who was biologically his children’s dad?
He recognized that they resembled someone he knows, but he couldn’t put his finger on who exactly. He never really thought about who his children’s biological father might be, until now. He couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that Kate wasn’t faithful to him. All he knew was that he had to get to the bottom of it.
As soon as he processed all of this, he started investigating. He narrowed it down to the people he thought his ex-wife was cheating on him during their marriage. His first thought was that she was most likely having her affair while she went away on her “business trips.” Some kind of business was happening, that’s for sure.
That led Richard to assume that she was cheating on him with one of her co-workers. He thought of one man that Kate works with who looked similar to his children. He wasn’t so sure, but everything was apparent when he remembered that this guy was Jewish. It was like all of the puzzle pieces were coming together.
Since they were no longer living in a house together, Richard couldn’t just come home and confront Kate. They were leading pretty separate lives, but he still wanted answers. That’s when he decided to send his ex-wife an email. He told her what the doctor had told him that day and demanded that she explained herself.
He didn’t hold back and sent her a brave email. He wrote, “I went to the Liverpool Chest Hospital today… to finally receive my diagnosis that I have cystic fibrosis. In their experience, they have never had a male with CF who has fathered a child, let alone three. It is 98% certain that I am not the father of any children.”
Kate read the email, but she didn’t reply. He had already got diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. Now, he was wondering whether or not his children were biologically his. At this point, he just wanted the truth. He deserved an explanation at the very least. Since she didn’t answer him the first time, Richard sent her another email.
This time he wrote: “I was hoping that you can relieve me of further indignity by letting me know now if I am the father. I am happy to go along with your advice as to how best tell the boys. But, if you force me to go through these extra tests, then I shall be telling them as I wish.”
As you can imagine, after Richard’s second email, Kate finally responded. She told Richard that she was faithful to him during their marriage, and there was zero chance that the children belonged to anyone else. She was trying to keep up with her lies and ended up denying the whole thing.
She wrote to him, “Of course the boys are yours, no matter what the science might suggest.” Richard had already told Kate that if she didn’t tell him the truth, he would go ahead with a DNA test as well as confront the children. Richard didn’t believe Kate’s response, so he decided to go through with a DNA test.
Richard made a tough decision to confront his oldest son, Will, about the situation. At this point, he was almost sure that he wasn’t their biological father. He wanted a DNA test just to be 100% certain. Plus, he wanted to tell his children about his cystic fibrosis diagnosis as a separate matter.
Just like Richard found out about his diagnosis and his family secret on the same day, his son also found about the cystic fibrosis diagnosis and the fact that Richard wasn’t his dad at the same time. Richard explained, “I told him I’d just been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, which he took surprisingly calmly.” But there was another matter to discuss.
During the same conversation with his son, Richard recalls, “And I said, ‘Yes, but one of the things that I’ve just been told is that it is extremely unlikely that someone with cystic fibrosis could father a child.” Yikes! Finding out your mother is a cheater is hard enough for a child, but discovering that your dad isn’t your dad is heartbreaking.
This was the hardest conversation Richard and Will ever had. I literally cannot imagine how I would feel in that situation. But something kind of unexpected happened. Richard said, “He [Will] said, ‘I’m already ahead of you, Dad. You’re saying that you’re probably not my father?’”
When describing his conversation with Will, Richard said: “It would have been the hardest sentence to utter, and he did it for me.” He, of course, expressed to Will that he will always be his dad no matter what. Whether or not they are genetically related, Richard loves Will and the twins just the same.
No one ever dreams of having such a heartbreaking conversation with their child. This is a heavy topic, and although Will technically is an adult, he was still just a 23-year-old boy. I’m 28, and the thought of my father telling me that my mom cheated on him, and I’m her love child gives me extreme anxiety.
Richard explained that “It was very emotional, but I was also very angry,” and who can blame him? For 23 years, he believed he had children. He thought he had passed down his genes to continue his bloodline for the next generation. Discovering the truth was shocking and painful.
In addition to the whole troubling situation, Richard was dealing with his cystic fibrosis diagnosis. The disease wasn’t as big of a deal as the other matter. However, the diagnosis did mean that he might not have much time left. This situation made his conversation with Will even more intense. It’s a lot to take in, your dad’s not your dad, and now he might die.
After his intense conversation with Richard, Will confronted his mother about what he just found out. He asked Kate if Richard was his father. Even though she had no problem lying to Richard throughout their entire marriage (and after), she didn’t want to lie to her son. She confessed to Will that she had an affair.
She revealed that the affair began during her marriage with Richard – and that was most-likely Will’s biological dad, not Richard – the man who loved and raised him his whole life. Richard’s suspicions were true, after all. Well, they weren’t really suspicions, more like scientific and medical facts. After years of lying, she finally admitted the truth.
So Kate finally revealed the truth. She told Will that her affair started during her marriage, but that raises a new question. Who the heck is the dad? She said that she met this guy the same way she met her ex-husband, Richard – they met when she worked at the bank. She really got around at that bank job…
Just as Richard assumed, the man Kate was cheating with did, in fact, work at Barclays bank with her. Somehow, she managed to keep the affair a secret for more than two decades. But like all lies, eventually, the truth will come out. In this case, Kate’s family found out the truth about her.
Although Kate did admit to cheating on her husband during her marriage, she still believed that the kids were Richard’s biological sons. Obviously, Richard wasn’t going to be fooled again. He didn’t believe his ex-wife and insisted on taking the tests.
At this point, Richard felt like his whole life was a lie. The cheating wasn’t as disappointing as the fact that she brought children into the world with another man, and leading Richard to believe they were his. He wanted to know the absolute truth, and obviously, Kate wasn’t the most trustworthy source. The only way to be sure was to take these tests. Science doesn’t lie, and apparently, Kate does.
To organize everything, Richard needed to take various tests. Richard took the examination to check his fraternity level’s first, under Roger Terrell’s guidance – a paternity fraud expert. The results were as expected. Unfortunately, Richard wasn’t able to father any children. They had their answer.
Already concerned and fearing the worst, he submitted a DNA test. The next step was to get DNA samples from his three boys; to see if they were a match. They knew what the results would be, but this was a way for them to see it on paper, be 100% sure, and to process everything. The twins, Ed and Joel, took the DNA test first.
The two younger boys Ed and Joel, were just 19-years old at the time. They agreed to take a DNA test to see if Richard was their father or not. As you can imagine, they also wanted to know the truth. I was hoping for a twist or a medical miracle, but sadly, that’s not the case. Predictably, the DNA test revealed that Richard was not, in fact, their father.
Richard already knew the truth, but the confirmation was devastating. It proved what he had suspected. This result was the ultimate proof that Kate was having an affair throughout her entire marriage and then proceeded to lie to Richard about the children being his. It verified that the twins weren’t his, but what about Will?
Out of Richard’s three sons, Will was the first to discover that Richard is most-likely not his biological father. As we know, the twins were the first to take the DNA test, and Will knew what the results revealed. When Richard and the paternity fraud expert were ready for Will to take the DNA test, the eldest son refused.
The results did not matter to him because he knew exactly who his father is. Will said, “As far as I’m concerned, he’s my Dad, and that’s that.” It’s clear that Richard has been a great influence on Will’s son. He was proud to be Will’s son, and a DNA test wouldn’t change anything.
But for Richard to have a good case to take legal action against his ex-wife, Will’s DNA sample would be a huge help. However, there was something else Will told Richard during their heart to heart conversation. Richard said, “My eldest son told me, ‘Dad if you sue Mum, I will never speak to you again.’”
Sadly, Richard was furious at Kate. She had destroyed his life, and he wanted her to get what she deserved. He ultimately went through with the lawsuit. Will stayed true to his word; unfortunately, they haven’t spoken since. Although the genetics made absolutely no difference to Will, this was still a big deal to him.
Will is really angry at his father over the lawsuit. The twins, however, Ed and Joel, are on good terms with their dad, even though he’s not their biological father. Richard remembered a letter they wrote to him: “Dad, as I explained from the beginning, you would never not be a dad to me regardless of all of this.”
They went on to explain, “Of course I’ll stay in touch, that will never change… I’m always here for you too, and you will always be my Dad. Love you.” Aww. That’s the sweetest thing ever. It goes to show that your DNA doesn’t matter. A parent is someone who takes care of you and loves you unconditionally. That’s exactly what Richard was to those three boys.
Richard ultimately won the paternal fraud case against Kate… rightfully so! The court ordered his ex-wife to pay more than $300,000. Part of the agreement that was settled in courts was that the identity of the boy’s biological dad would never be revealed. Although Richard agreed to the terms, he strongly believes that his children should know who their biological dad is.
DNA testing is such a remarkable tool. Can you imagine if he never received the cystic fibrosis diagnosis? Richard could have gone his whole life without knowing. Thank god I’m a girl, so this won’t happen to me. However, people keep dark secrets. Richard is currently undergoing treatment and is reportedly doing better.