A millionaire has taken his ex-wife to court after discovering that the three sons he'd raised for more than 20 years were not his.
MoneySupermarket.com co-founder Richard Mason, 55, had absolutely no idea he wasn't the boys' dad until he was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2016, during which the doctors told him he was infertile - and had been since birth.
Now Mr Mason's ex-wife has been ordered to pay him £250,000 ($318,250) following a rare paternity fraud case that has allowed her to keep the identity of the real father a secret, according to The Mail on Sunday.
Businessman Richard Mason was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis in 2016. Credit: Facebook/Richard Mason
The businessman never doubted that he was a father-of-three until he was initially diagnosed with the genetic disorder. This led to DNA and other tests which confirmed he has no biological link to the eldest son, now 23, and the 19-year-old twins, who he'd helped to raise with ex-wife Kate, 54.
Mr Mason thinks the biological father of the boys is the same man who Kate had an on-off affair with for four years during the late 90s.
At the time he had no idea and didn't get the truth until 2016 - ten years after the pair divorced. It's not yet been confirmed whether this unnamed man is the paternal father or not.
Mr Mason, pictured with new wife Emma, launched a paternity fraud case against his ex and was given back £250,000 of their 2008 divorce settlement. Credit: Facebook/Richard Mason
Mr Mason was devastated to have been kept in the dark for so long and launched a legal bid at Birmingham County Court to claim back some of the £4 million ($5m) and ongoing maintenance his wife received in their divorce settlement. He also went about suing her for paternity fraud, leading to two of the boys breaking off contact with him.
Speaking to The Mail on Sunday Mr Mason explained that finding out his sons weren't really his has left his life in pieces. He said: "You don't know what's real and what isn't - it's as if I'm living in The Matrix.
"Someone says to you, 'All that you know and everything you thought to be solid and true is not real, and never did exist. You are not a father, you are not able to have kids, your name will not continue'.
"I still see what the boys are doing on Facebook and it's heart-wrenching because we saw the graduation of the eldest on there, but I wasn't invited.
Mr Mason, pictured with new wife Emma, said that his life was in pieces when he discovered his sons weren't biologically his. Credit: Facebook/Richard Mason
"I walk past a toy store and it reminds you of buying Christmas presents for them and other family occasions.
"And when friends post things on Facebook about their own families like their first grandchild or saying they're proud of their boy for something, I just think, 'My God, that's all been taken away from me.'"
Speaking about the unusual ordeal, Richard's solicitor Roger Terrell said: "We understand that it's a legal first because there has never been a divorce financial settlement set aside in such emotive circumstances."
Featured Image Credit: Facebook/Richard Mason