MOST-WED MAN: A British pensioner who was hoping his 28-year-old Filipina fiancee would be his ninth wife has been left heartbroken and humiliated after she ran off with another man.
Last November, we reported how Ron Sheppard, aged 69, was already Britain’s most-wed man when he proposed to Cristel Lalec at her family home in Lubao, Pampanga.
Speaking at the time, he expressed hope he had finally found “the one” and was just waiting to divorce his wife number eight, another Filipina, who left him after he admitted to sharing a hotel bed with a masseuse in Manila.
Describing his “romantic proposal” in Cristel’s cinder-block family home, he said: “At first I didn’t know what came over me when I proposed. I thought it may have been my medication.
“But then I realised what had happened was that I had fallen deeply in love with this girl who had shown me so much care and humility when I was at my lowest ebb. Make no mistake about it, Cristel will be my forever wife. This one is real love. This is the last one – I promise.”
Warning signs start to appear
However, today (Monday, November 13) it has been revealed that this fond hope was not to be.
Britain’s most-wed man said he should have known it wasn’t going to work out when Cristal “refused to divorce” her estranged husband in the Philippines, lost her engagement ring and failed to laugh at his jokes.
He also said that she refused to sleep with him at his home in Somerset because of her Catholic faith. There were also doubts about their future together after Cristal was told by immigration authorities that she could no longer stay in the UK.
Speaking to the Daily Mirror, Ron said: “I’m devastated by this. I did everything for that girl and she does a runner, I feel like such a mug.
“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 impression’
He also said that the cultural and age gap between the two had become a problem. “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.”
However, he added that there were other glaring warning signs. “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. When I checked her room after she left I realised she had taken all of her luggage.
“I can’t reach her at all and 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.”
Most-wed man ever the optimist
Ron and Cristal first met more than 10 years ago, when Mr Sheppard was married to wife number seven, Wan, and living in Thailand. The couple were both friends with Miss Lalec, who was then aged 15 or 16.
After that relationship collapsed, he lost contact with Cristel.
In the meantime, he married another Filipina called Weng Platino, until that marriage broke down over his misbehaviour with the Manila masseuse.
It was then, in 2015, that he regained contact with his ex-fiancee.
History of hitches…
Ron was just 19 when he married first wife Margaret in 1966, and the pair had two children before divorcing two years later.
He then met second wife Jeanette in a bingo hall and they wed in 1973, but it lasted only one year. He has since described the marriage as a “business transaction” that enabled them to receive a bigger house from the council.
Shortly after their divorce, Ron met wife number three Lesley and they married in 1976. They went on to have two children, but he left five years later following a string of arguments.
He then went on to meet 18-year-old blonde Kathy at a holiday camp, and the pair married in 1982. They had a daughter and lasted four years, despite Ron claiming it was just a “rebound relationship”.
He then met wife number five, Sue, at another bingo hall. Despite admitting that he wasn’t “swept off his feet by her”, he moved in to her house and they married in 1986. They had two sons but she threw him out when he took a job a long way from home.
Most-wed man looks to the east…
He then went on to marry Usha in 1999, whom he met during a trip to Singapore. They lasted four years but split after Ron cheated on her during a holiday alone to Thailand.
With divorce number six behind him, he met seventh wife Wan in Bangkok in 2003. However, after returning to the UK, the pair stayed together for just eight months before his bride flew home.
It was then that Mr Sheppard started to chat with Weng online. He flew out to meet her in the Philippines, where he said they “instantly clicked”.
After that relationship ended, he regained contact with Cristel.
Ron has been married for 44 of the past 48 years. He has documented his experiences in a self-published book entitled Lord of the Wedding Rings.
Cristal: No ulterior motives
As we reported last November, Cristal denied any ulterior motives behind her relationship with Ron. She said: “I know what it looks like but I am not here for a passport. I am not here to take advantage of Ron.”
Despite his latest heartache, Ron, who suffers from who suffers from Parkinson’s Disease and walks with a stick, has not given up on finding his “forever wife”.
He said: “Cristel won’t put me off looking for love. Wife number nine is still out there, I just have to find her.
“As far as I’m concerned I’m back on the market. I’m not going to say I haven’t already had women contacting me. I don’t know what it is about me, women just seem to flock to me.
“I’m batting them off. I think it could be my natural charm and charisma. I am great at impressions, I can do 54 different people like Norman Wisdom and Frank Spencer.
“Although I’ve got to be honest, after all this time I sometimes think women could just be too much trouble.”