LITTLE Leo is three years old and hasn’t seen his dad for six months.
But when he opens the door to Cyren Hatton and runs to him for a hug, his first words are, “Be nice to Mummy.”
The telling phrase sets the scene for an explosive week as Cyren, from Tamworth, Staffordshire, moves in with ex Laura Jacobs for Channel 5 show Old Wife, New Wife.
Cyren, who walked out a year ago, agreed to live with Laura for seven days because he is desperate to see Leo.
Laura, 33, claims he let his son down by not turning up at agreed times and not paying towards his keep.
And she’s still angry that her ex cheated on her, branding him a “compulsive liar.”
To make matters worse, Cyren is not moving in on his own but with new love Meaghan Fisher – who is just 19.
‘She’s a million times better than you.’
It soon becomes clear that Cyren should heed his little boy’s advice.
Laura reveals her ex messaged her saying: “Leo is going to love his new stepmum. She’s a million times better than you.”
She adds: “Cyren said he was going to turn Leo against me and make him like his stepmum more than me.”
He had also branded her “fat and ugly” after the split.
Tearful Meaghan reveals: “He tells me that I never make him happy and she made him happier. That’s why I’m struggling now.
“Cyren uses her against me in arguments and it makes me feel little. My only concern with moving in with Laura is Cyren falling back in love with her.”
Acknowledging the women’s insecurities, Cyren comments: “I feel like they’re both threatened by each other. Meaghan is younger, she’s 19, she’s a beautiful girl. Laura does her make-up all lovely and [Meaghan] feels threatened by her.”
Cheating and lies
As well as playing the two women off against each other, Cyren admits to cheating on Laura just before walking out on her.
Not surprisingly, the house is fraught with tension the minute the couple walk in – with Laura refusing to speak to Meaghan or even look at her.
Within minutes of Cyren’s reunion with his son, a row over maintenance breaks out and Laura grabs Leo and storms upstairs.
But the tables soon turn when the subject of Cyren’s cheating crops up and it emerges that he lied to his new love.
Angry Meaghan rages: “You said ‘I’ve never cheated in my life. I wasn’t happy with Laura and even then I never cheated.’
“Then to find out you have cheated on her. You need to be an adult and realise you are in the wrong. It’s about trust.”
With both women furious at him, Cyren turns on Meaghan shouting: “Stop making it about you. I should be apologising to Laura. I didn’t cheat on you.”
‘You’ve destroyed me’
Things go from bad to worse when Cyren tries to mend fences, offering to stick to any rules laid down, as long as he can see Leo.
But when Laura suggests he’s a compulsive liar who will cheat on Meaghan, just as he did on her, Cyren puts his foot in it once again.
“No,” he insists. “Because I love her, I actually love her.”
After fleeing to her bedroom in tears Laura tells her ex: “Since we split up, through the whole process, you’ve brought me down, you’ve called me ugly, you’ve called me fat, you’ve been absolutely vile.
“You’ve destroyed my self-esteem as a woman, as a mum and there was absolutely no need for it.”
Amazingly, it is Meaghan who comforts her love rival with a hug and the frostiness between them begins to thaw.
“When I saw her crying it really did break my heart,” says the 19-year-old. “I can see she’s hurting.”
The women bond even more with a visit to a hair salon and a family day out to a petting farm seems to cement their closeness.
But Laura is still reluctant to let the younger woman into her son’s life, demanding that she stays at her mum’s house on the weekends that Leo is with his dad.
She said: “She’s got Cyren so why does she want my son too?”
Yet she apologises to Meaghan for misdirecting her fury, saying: “It’s easier to take my anger out on you because I can’t get through to Cyren. It’s probably the wrong thing to do.”
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In the end the trio come to an agreement and sign a contract, detailing when and where Cyren can see his son, with Meaghan agreeing to take a step back when Leo is around.
Cyren walks away happy.
“Leo’s back in my life, a hole’s been filled,” he said. “My life’s looking up again, I’m really happy.”
Old Wife New Wife airs at 9pm on Wednesday on Channel 5