Vanessa Feltz’s ex-fiancé Ben Ofoedu believes their relationship failed after 16 years because she had no intention of marrying him – and insists ‘I’m not a serial cheat.’
The former Phats & Small singer, 51, told MailOnline that he ‘always wanted to be a married man’ and dreamed of making Vanessa his wife, proposing to the presenter in 2006 with 50 red roses.
Ben claims Vanessa, who is 10 years his senior, never made it down the aisle because she stopped believing in marriage following her divorce from ex Michael Kurer in 2000, and he wishes she had been clearer about her longing for a ‘companion’ rather than a husband.
In February, Vanessa ended their romance after discovering Ben had been sexting a younger fan, which was the final straw after she had previously forgiven him for behaving inappropriately and bedding ‘an older woman’ on three separate occasions.
But Ben refutes Vanessa’s accusations about him being a ‘serial cheat’ and slams the TV star for publicly badmouthing him on This Morning, saying ‘there were two people involved, this was my life as well.’
Vanessa Feltz ‘s ex-fiancé Ben Ofoedu believes their relationship failed after 16 years because she had no intention of marrying him and insists ‘I’m not a serial cheat’ (pictured in 2022)
The former Phats & Small singer told MailOnline that he ‘always wanted to be a married man’ and dreamed of making Vanessa his wife, proposing to the presenter in 2006 with 50 red roses
Ben claims Vanessa never made it down the aisle because she stopped believing in marriage following her divorce from ex Michael Kurer in 2000 (pictured in 1999)
He told MailOnline: ‘Marriage means a lot to me, and I wanted to be married and she didn’t want that, so we were going in different directions.
‘I always wanted to be a married man, my mum and dad were married, it is a lot to do with my faith as well.
‘I was so in love so I didn’t see that, and I thought one day we would get married but that wasn’t on the cards.
‘When I met her, I expressed to her how important marriage was to me. She said ‘yes’ at the time and that was a huge thing for me… She knew I was religious… I kept on thinking ‘one day.’ I wanted to say, ‘this is my wife’, not ‘wifey’ but she just wanted a companion.
‘She had no intention of marrying me. For me it was important and for her it wasn’t. I wish at the very beginning she had said that, but she didn’t.’
As one of This Morning’s regular stars, Vanessa advises viewers on their relationship dilemmas so when it came to the breakdown of her own, the TalkTV host didn’t hold back.
She told Holly Willoughby and ex host Phillip Schofield in February, ‘I believed wholeheartedly in it so when you have to end a relationship it is very, very hard… I feel sad, I feel hurt, and terribly humiliated but to believe in your own relationship isn’t stupid.’
Vanessa also signed up to E4 series Celebs Go Dating in the wake of her split from Ben, who says it was a ‘mistake’ for her to do the show when she wasn’t ready to meet someone new.
Ben asked Vanessa to marry him in 2006 during a romantic stay in Dublin and the TV presenter later showed off her engagement ring on the red carpet at a film premiere (pictured in 2007)
As one of This Morning’s regular stars, Vanessa advises viewers on their relationship dilemmas so when it came to the breakdown of her own, the TalkTV host didn’t hold back
Ben said: ‘Not everything is for public consumption, not everything is for Instagram.
‘I was surprised when Vanessa went so fully on Instagram and the next thing, she was on This Morning talking about it… there were two people involved, this was my life as well.
‘After 16 years we had such a closeness, I used to say, “it’s just me and you” and I wasn’t there I could just see her exploding on TV and in every newspaper and I was like ‘wow.’
‘I hid away and worked it out for myself without everyone staring at me whereas she was constantly on stage.
‘I don’t know what was going on in her head. It’s a shame we couldn’t work it out privately…
‘There was a narrative spun by Vanessa that I cheated multiple times and it’s just not true. She has said I’m a serial cheat and I’m like “what are you talking about?”
‘Vanessa has forgotten what I’m like and is starting to believe the narrative and the hype. She said I went around cheating in different holiday camps and all this sort of stuff… she has forgotten that I didn’t do that.’
During Vanessa’s stint on Celebs Go Dating she was matched with a musician who she said, “looks like my ex, sounds like my ex, and is in the same business as my ex”, causing her to feel ‘trapped’ and ‘triggered.’
She was accused of being ‘rude’ towards potential suitors and dating expert Paul Brunson, which Ben says is further proof she agreed to do the show too soon after their breakup.
During Vanessa’s stint on Celebs Go Dating she was matched with a musician who she said, ‘looks like my ex, sounds like my ex, and is in the same business as my ex’
She was accused of being ‘rude’ towards potential suitors and dating expert Paul Brunson, which Ben says is further proof she agreed to do the show too soon after their breakup
He said: ‘It was really bad advice for her to do Celebs Go Dating.
‘We were in a 17-year relationship… it was a lot of time to be involved in something. We knew each other inside out. It was sadly a mistake for her to do it… it was just too soon.
‘She is a TV veteran, so she knows what she signed up for, but it was the wrong advice for her to do it.’
Ben accuses TV producers of ‘gaslighting’ Vanessa and using her personal situation for their own gain, saying ‘they overstepped the mark.’
He added: ‘The producers were cheeky with the musician, who I didn’t think looked anything like me.
‘I have to side with her on that, they were gaslighting her. I can understand why she felt triggered and that’s me.
‘I will joke about it and say the guy doesn’t look like me but why would they do that?
‘It was a real relationship and there was pain, heartache, and families involved. They overstepped the mark. She shouldn’t have done the show full stop, but it is what it is.’
Ben says he lost his identity during his relationship with Vanessa, and he realises now looking back that being with the TV star made him feel like a ‘plus one’ (pictured in 2022)
Ben is now focussing on his career and regaining his identity after realising that being with Vanessa left him feeling like a ‘plus one.’
He will be going back to his first love of music, performing in a touring pantomime Peter Pan this festive season.
‘Sadly, being with Vanessa people forgot who I was,’ Ben admits.
‘I became a plus one and I don’t know what happened, but they forgot that I sing, and I act.
‘Everyone thought I was just ‘the boyfriend’ but I work too. I was there on my own merit, there was no Vanessa that got me into this.
‘For 16 years, I had no idea that I had lost myself. Now I realise oh my gosh you had completely lost yourself and everything was based around Vanessa.’
Ben says his life has come full circle as he prepares to star in pantomime Peter Pan alongside singer Boy George, who he saw perform on his first date with Vanessa.
Directed by Jordan Conway, the show has been dubbed the ‘largest’ ever pantomime due to also starring a troupe of circus performers as well as Irish and Highland dancers.
Ben says his life has come full circle as he prepares to star in pantomime Peter Pan alongside singer Boy George, who he saw perform on his first date with Vanessa
Peter Pan, which will head to arenas and theatres up and down the country in late 2023 and early 2024, also stars Dorit Kemsley, who features on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills.
Ben said: ‘I have gone back into singing and acting. The reality TV side of me was because of Vanessa but I’m not really that guy.
‘I’m doing this huge pantomime; it is the world’s biggest. I am a massive panto fan but this one is amazing, it is arenas, on tour.
‘I will be playing alongside Boy George who is an absolute legend. It is funny because my first date with Vanessa was seeing Boy George, so everything has come full circle.
‘I am playing a pirate and I get to sing my songs. It is a massive production and the set is huge… to do a show on this scale will be very different but I just can’t wait for it. It has improved a really negative start to the year.’
- Peter Pan tickets are available to buy on the World’s Biggest Panto website