Thursday August 5th, 2010 CLEVELAND — Dread of the unknown hung in the air as Lynn France typed two words into the search box on Facebook: the name of the woman with whom she believed her husband was having an affair. Click. And there it was, the stuff of nightmares for any spouse, cuckolded or not. Wedding photos. At Walt Disney World Florida, no less, featuring her husband literally dressed as Prince Charming. His new wife, a pretty blonde, was a glowing Sleeping Beauty, surrounded by footmen.
"I was numb with shock, to tell you the truth," says France, an occupational therapist from Westlake, a Cleveland suburb. "There was like an album of 200 pictures on there. Their whole wedding." The husband claimed Thursday that his marriage to Lynn France was never valid. He said she knew earlier about the other marriage and was making the Facebook claim as a publicity ploy.
Affairs were once shadowy matters, illicit encounters whispered about and often difficult to prove. But in the age of Facebook and Twitter and lightning-fast communication, the notion of privacy is fast becoming obsolete. From flirtatious text messages to incriminating e-mails, marital indiscretions are much easier to track — especially if potentially damaging photographic evidence is posted online.
France, 41, was not completely blindsided by her Facebook discovery, which happened in January 2009. That fall, she had grown suspicious when her husband began taking frequent business trips, even leaving the day the couple's newborn son came home from the hospital. Once, she found his passport at home when he was supposed to be in China for business.
"Sure enough, they were registered for a wedding at Target," France says. A girlfriend recommended checking the woman's Facebook page, which was then open to the public, France says, but has since become private. There, France found evidence of an unfolding relationship that she still couldn't wrap her head around. Overwhelmed with two young children, she confronted her husband. She says he told her he wouldn't actually go through with the wedding. It wasn't until she saw the wedding photos that she finally began divorce proceedings.
Lynn's husband, John France, does not deny that he has remarried. Rather, he simply is insisting that he was never married to Lynn in the first place. "I don't think I was cheating," France said in an interview aired Thursday on NBC's "Today" show. "If you have a marriage that's not right from the beginning, it's not right at the end."
Lynn and John France were married in July 2005 in a seaside wedding on Italy's Amalfi Coast, having organized the event through Regency San Marino, which coordinates weddings for couples looking to get hitched in Italy. On the company's website, Lynn is still the first radiant bride whose portrait appears in a gauzy veil, the brilliant blue sea behind her. If that wedding was a fraud, it was news to Lynn. "If that were true, then he's lied to the IRS," Zashin says. "He's lied to insurance companies. Banks."
Three months ago, Lynn says she was cleaning the sink when her husband took the couple's 2-year-old son out of her arms and said he was going to give him some milk. Minutes later, she heard the car running. "He threw them in, no car seats, no nothing, and took off," she says. She hasn't seen her sons since. John France had taken them to Tampa, Fla., where he currently lives with his new wife and, according to his attorney, is seeking custody of their children.
Thursday August 5th, 2010 TAMPA – John France went on national television Thursday morning to defend his latest marriage and deny a previous wife's assertions that he was leading a double life. Photo above John France age 63 and second wife Amanda France age 28. Lynn France, 41, of Ohio told the NBC Today show on Tuesday that she married John France in a lavish Italian wedding in 2005, only to discover last year on Facebook that he was living a double life in Tampa with another wife.
Not true, said John France, 63, on the NBC Today show Thursday morning. He called her story "completely absurd." "She knew about the marriage months prior," He told Matt Lauer. 'We bought her tickets to come down for Mother's Day," Amanda France said (new wife). "She canceled on the cell phone, not us. Every day, every weekend she'll call and talk to the boys."
John France said he plans to file for custody of the children and the case is working its way through the court. He would prefer this incident end civilly, with both parents being able to have a relationship with their sons. The children now live with them in Tampa, he said.
France and his attorney, Gary Williams of Clearwater, said his marriage in Italy was never legal so there was no need for John France to divorce Lynn. They have affidavits from the country proving this, they said, and it will all come out in court. John France, 63, said he told Lynn France in 2007 that he intended to marry Amanda France, 25. Their two kids attended the wedding at Disney World in December 2008 and that a friend of Lynn France's who also works as a nanny was there to watch the kids.
Alleged Facebook bigamist's defense: Never married to first wife. Whether or not Lynn and John France ever were married is only one part of the messy relationship that involves John France's alleged other wife, Amanda Weisal France, and Lynn and John France's two young children.
Lynn France has filed for divorce in Ohio, but the case has been dismissed and moved to Florida, where John and Amanda France live. John France also has filed a paternity action in an attempt to gain at least partial custody of the children.
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