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A man who married his mother-in-law four years after he and his previous wife got divorced has described his three-decade relationship as “magic.”
Clive Blunden, 65, first met his wife Brenda, 77, when he was married to her daughter Irene in 1977, the Mirror reports.
Irene and Clive had two daughters together – Sarah and Tanya – and got divorced in 1985.
Four years later, Clive and Brenda began dating in secret after they “ended up kissing” after going for a drink.
The pair said they "fell in love" immediately and people assumed the relationship "wouldn’t last", but the couple still say there's "magic" to their relationship after 30 years together.
Clive told the Mirror: "People thought we wouldn’t last but we are stronger than ever.
"We’re together 24/7 and there’s a magic to it."
Brenda added: "We fell in love, One night, he took me for a drink and we ended up kissing.
"Clive is a gentleman and he looks after me. I can get a bit argumentative but he quietens me down."
The couple have been together for three decades but have been married just 13 as it had previously been illegal for a person to marry their mother-in-law.
Clive first proposed in 1997, but a few days after they put their banns up at the register office in their hometown of Warrington, Cheshire, Clive was arrested.
He was told there was a "lawful impediment" to marrying his mother-in-law and warned he could be jailed for up to seven years if they went ahead with it.
The pair had wrongly assumed they could wed because Brenda’s first husband, Richard, had passed away and Irene remarried.
Instead, Clive and Brenda had to settle for Brenda changing her surname to Clive’s by deed poll.
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Clive went on to campaign for the 500-year-old law to be altered as he believed they were being "stopped unfairly" and "wanted to change it".
And 10 years on, a European court ruled a ban on in-laws marrying was a violation of human rights, and Clive and Brenda were free to marry.
Clive said: "I remember when we heard the news on the TV, in September 2005.
"I went down on one knee straight away and proposed to Brenda. I had tears in my eyes."
On March 17, 2007, Clive and Brenda finally became husband and wife at Warrington register office – the same place where Clive had married Irene 30 years earlier.
The majority of their families, including Irene, did not wish to attend and only one distant relative sent them a congratulations card.
Clive, who serenaded Brenda with a rendition of Westlife’s You Raise Me Up, said: "It was a very emotional day. It had been a struggle to get to that point but it was a wonderful day and we will always remember it."
Brenda said: "Our families didn’t come because they didn’t agree with it. But all we cared about was being with each other."
Married life has been everything Brenda and Clive hoped for, and Clive claims "something was missing" until they tied the knot.
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He said: "Marriage to Brenda has definitely changed me. I felt different straight away. I was more relaxed. Until we got married I felt something was missing.
"We’ve been through a lot so to come out of it the other end is an achievement. What made it perfect for me is we can be on our own all day and still get along. We would do it all again."
Brenda said: "Clive is caring and lovable and he looks after me very well. We do argue and I think I have always been a challenge to Clive. But it is about give and take and trust.
"He does have some bad habits. His nail-biting drives me mad. I still joke about how much I disliked him when he was going out with my daughter and became my son-in-law.
"We don’t go out of our way to tell strangers how we met and when we do they don’t believe us. A lot of people thought it wouldn’t last but we can’t live without each other."
Speaking eight years ago, Irene said she had thought her relationship with Clive was for keeps and her mum "betrayed" her.
She said: "I don’t know who my mum is anymore. Clive has split our family. I’ll never forgive him."
- In the News
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