Man marries mother-in-law after divorcing wife of eight years

Clive and Brenda Bunden

Sometimes the love of your life is your mother-in-law, or at least that’s the case for Clive Bunden and his wife Brenda, from Warrington, Cheshire, UK. The two have been together for more than 30 years, and married for 13 years, despite the fact that Clive was first married to Brenda’s daughter, Irene.

Clive and Irene got married in 1977 and had two daughters before divorcing in 1985.

Clive then secretly began to date his former mother-in-law four years after the divorce. They soon fell in love.

“One night, he took me for a drink and we ended up kissing.” Brenda told Mirror UK.

Twenty years later, they decided to marry. But a few days after they put their banns up at the register office in their hometown of Warrington, Cheshire, Clive was arrested.

Because Brenda’s first husband, Richard, had passed away and Irene remarried, they wrongly assumed they would be free to wed. But that wasn’t the case.

Clive 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 happy couple (Photo: Mirror UK)

Instead, they had to settle for Brenda changing her surname to Clive’s by deed poll.

But Clive wouldn’t settle for this, and he began campaigning for the 500-year-old law to be altered. 

It was 10 years before a European court ruled a ban on in-laws marrying was a violation of human rights.

As soon as Clive heard the news, he proposed.

“I went down on one knee straight away and proposed to Brenda. I had tears in my eyes,” he said.

They finally became husband and wife on March 17, 2007, at Warrington register office – the same place where Clive had married Irene 30 years earlier.

But no one from their families attended. Only one distant relative sent them a congratulations card. But that did not spoil their day. Clive serenaded Brenda with a rendition of Westlife’s ‘You Raise Me Up’, and 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.”