A devastated husband has told how his wife left him and their nine kids for a ‘toyboy’ from Gambia.
Andy Hepworth said he is nursing a broken heart while missus Heidi, 44, lives it up with her Facebook lover in Gambia.
She wants a divorce, saying her future is with Mamadou Jallow, 30.
Andy, 44, said: “It’s a midlife crisis. She started going to the gym, booking sunbeds, getting tattoos and wearing dresses.
“The person she has become is horrible. She was a loving, caring mum. Now it’s like an alien has possessed her body.
“He has brainwashed her. It’s one big fantasy for her and she is following it through step by step.”
Heidi had never been abroad before she flew to be with Mamadou in Gambia last month.
A neighbour fearing for her three youngest, aged six, nine and 11, alerted their school.
But police found them staying legally with their 29-year-old sister.
Heidi said Sunday night: “I’ve met a young gentleman but it’s not an affair. The marriage had problems. We drifted apart. Can a woman not have a new relationship?”
Andy and Heidi met in the 1990s and had been together 23 years.
He said: “She had three children from a previous relationship but I brought them up as mine. We then had six kids of our own.
“Five years ago I moved out but I realised I wanted to go home and she took me straight back.
“We decided to take the next step — and got married.”
The family appeared settled in Hetton-le-Hole, Tyne and Wear.
Ex-delivery driver Andy, who served in the Navy for four years, first noticed a change in Heidi in March.
He said: “She was wearing more makeup and dresses which she’d never done before. It just wasn’t her. She was going out all the time with friends and was always on her phone.
“She has strange friends on Facebook, men from Africa and Asia.”
Andy said she blocked him being a Facebook friend.
But when he asked if there was another man he was told “no”.
He added: “I didn’t think she was messing around with a bloke here, but I did wonder what she was up to.”
Heidi moved out twice in a fortnight after rows. When she was home inbetween Andy claimed he found messages from Mamadou on the family computer. He added: “It felt like my heart had been ripped out. I loved her.”
Heidi says Mamadou, who lives in the capital Banjul, is not using her to get a UK passport.
She said: “Andy went off but I still took him back. The marriage came to a natural end. Now I’m very happy. You couldn’t meet a nicer man.”
Andy slammed Heidi for leaving their youngest kids, saying: “A caring mum wouldn’t go off gallivanting around Africa with her new boyfriend.”
Heidi said: “The children haven’t been left to fend for themselves. I’m missing them and video chat every day. It’s hard but they understand. I don’t know if I will move here permanently but I see my future with Mamadou, and my children.”
Andy added: “We were always a rock solid. But I think it’s over. She’s said and done too much.”
Police said: “There are no concerns for the children. They were left with an appropriate adult.”