Ron Sheppard truly believed he had found his “forever wife” when he met Cristel Lalec after eight failed marriages.
But the 69-year-old’s hopes of a lasting romance were dashed when she ran off with another man before he could tie the knot.
Ron Sheppard and Cristel Lalec
Things were bad enough for Britain’s most married man Ron after Filipino Cristel, 28, had been told by the Home Office she could no longer stay in the UK and would have to return home.
But he was left devastated when she packed her bags and fled. Ron believes she was seeing another man and has now alerted police and the Border Agency in case she is trying to stay here illegally.
“I’m devastated by this, I did everything for that girl and she does a runner, I feel like such a mug.”
Ron revealed “cracks began to appear” in their relationship. She was still married in the Philippines, despite pledging to divorce.
Fighting back tears, he said:
“We had no love life, nothing whatsoever because she insisted she was a committed Christian and did not believe in sex before marriage.
“I respected that and hoped at least she would become my carer but she just became more distant.
“She hated my Norman Wisdom impressions, she had no idea who he was. She’d just sit there with her earphones in taking selfies and I’d have to shout her name just to get her to look at me.”
Ron still applied for a carer’s visa for Cristel in the hope they could spend their lives together.
But he added:
“I should have known when she lost her engagement ring things were not right. Then she started going out a lot and making new friends. Even after her visa was denied I thought there might be a chance but she just grew so cold and distant.
“Then, on Saturday, she told me she was going out. She looked at me for a long time and said she was flying home next week and wished me goodbye.
“I now know she was saying goodbye for ever, I checked her room after she left and realised she had taken all of her luggage.
“I can’t reach her at all and her she has blocked me on Facebook.
“A friend has told me she met another man since she has been here and is now with him. I am devastated beyond words.
“I loved that woman with all my heart. But I thought it was for the best I phoned the police and the Border Agency just in case she was trying to stay illegally.”
Ron met Cristel when he lived in Thailand with wife number seven and her friend Wan. The trio would socialise regularly.
He lost contact when that relationship collapsed.
But after his marriage to eighth wife Weng started to break down he struck up a friendship with Cristel in 2015.
In a Mirror interview after they met, Ron, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease amongst other ailments, said:
“This one is real love. This is the last one. I promise.”
EditRon married first wife Margaret in 1966
Ron’s third wife leslie died in 1996
Ron married his fourth wife Kathy in 1982
Ron Sheppard with fifth wife Sue – the pair had two boys after tying know in 1986
Seventh marriage to Wen, in 2003, lasted eight months
With eighth bride Weng in 2004
Ron has been married for 44 of the past 48 years, the longest lasting 13 years and the shortest just 10 months.