Melisa Meeks in Los Angeles. She says she found out about Topshop heiress Chloe Green’s reported pregnancy when her son suddenly told her after stuffing a basketball up his top
Melissa Meeks was playing basketball with her eight-year-old son, Jeremy Junior, in the garden two months ago when he innocently let slip some potentially devastating news.
‘He said it so nonchalantly,’ she says. ‘We were messing around with a basketball when he stuck it under his shirt and said: “Look, I’m pregnant.”
‘I asked him: “Why would you do that? Do you know somebody who’s pregnant?” He said: “Yes, Chloe”.’
The Chloe she’s referring to is Chloe Green, the 27-year-old daughter of Topshop tycoon, Sir Philip Green.
The news was devastating to Melissa because the father of the baby, presumably, is Melissa’s husband Jeremy Meeks, the ‘hot felon’ former gang member and criminal (now model) who’s been a constant presence at Chloe’s side since last summer.
The blow hit Melissa hard: ‘It was as if my heart stopped for a little bit,’ she says.
‘I was in shock, but at the same time I knew it was coming. To me, starting a family with a billionaire’s daughter is the golden ticket, right?’
Naturally, she wanted to know more, but didn’t want to pressure her son.
But Melissa is convinced the pregnancy is real and the hurt is writ large across her face. ‘Deep down I knew,’ she says. ‘I had a gut feeling.’
While Jeremy — who’s also stepfather to Melissa’s two elder children, Eliana, 17, and Robert, 12 — and Chloe haven’t confirmed anything, reports that they are expecting a child together were all over the media this week.
Theirs is an unlikely union.
Chloe Green is the only, indulged, jet-setting daughter of a billionaire, while Jeremy Meeks, 34, is a heavily tattooed villain, with a list of criminal convictions as long as… well, the ever-growing list of luxury holidays he is enjoying with Miss Green since they were photographed cavorting on a £118,000 super-yacht in the Mediterranean off the coast of Turkey last June.
Jeremy Meeks, known as the ‘hot felon’, began a relationship with Chloe Green, the 27-year-old daughter of Topshop tycoon Sir Philip Green, last summer
Until those photos appeared, Melissa, a 37-year-old nurse, had assumed her eight-year marriage to Meeks, whose modelling career began after his police mugshot went viral on social media, was healthy and strong.
She’d thought he’d gone to Turkey to promote a holiday resort. The day before he flew out, he’d sworn blind he loved her.
‘I noticed he had started following this Chloe Green on his Instagram account and asked him who she was. He told me she was his manager’s business partner.
I asked if he was seeing her, and straight away he said no. Three or four days later, the pictures on the boat came out.
‘When he came back around July 4, he came to the house to take the boys. I was hardly functioning. I couldn’t sleep. I couldn’t eat. I was a mess. He said he was sorry for the way it came out and that he didn’t mean to hurt me.
Green and Meeks were photographed cavorting on a £118,000 super-yacht in the Mediterranean off the coast of Turkey last June
‘He told me he wanted a divorce, but a few days later he came to the house and we went swimming with the kids. I went upstairs for a shower.
‘He came up to shower and one thing led to another. Emotions were running pretty high, and we ended up sleeping together.
‘He swore to me he hadn’t slept with Chloe and said he’d be back the next day to talk.
‘The next day, however, he came to collect his things, left and went to Los Angeles. He filed for legal separation and I was served with the papers on July 11.
‘Next thing I know is there are more pictures of her and him out and about on the town in LA. Those came out on my birthday, July 14. It felt very cruel.
‘A few weeks later I discovered I was pregnant, but I was under so much stress I lost the child.’
Melissa was distraught. ‘I’ve tried to talk to him, but he won’t communicate with me. I haven’t seen him in months now.
‘When he’s picking up or dropping off the kids, we don’t talk.
‘I thought our relationship would last for ever. It was based upon truth and love. What we had was real. This life he’s in now is a fantasy life.’
Fuelling the flames of her resentment further is Jeremy’s offer of support, which has apparently been agreed by a court at just $1,000 [£712] a month.
While he suns himself aboard a £100 million yacht, he claims he only earns $6,000 [£4,300] a month — less than Melissa.
‘I don’t think Chloe’s anything spectacular,’ says Melissa. ‘She’s very average-looking. I’ve never met her, so maybe she has an amazing personality. Or maybe it’s her bank account.
‘I don’t know what it is, but do I think my husband would have left me for her if she’d been a cashier at McDonald’s? Absolutely not.
‘Do I think the lifestyle they live is what attracts him? One hundred per cent I do.
‘The yachts, the private jets, the designer clothes, the expensive cars add to the whole package.
‘For somebody like Jeremy, who never had anything growing up and spent most of his adult life incarcerated, it does.
‘I earn decent money as a nurse but I’m no billionaire. I loved him 110 per cent and would have done anything for him.
‘I’d never have expected him to do anything like this to me and the kids. It’s bizarre — surreal.’
‘Regardless of what was going on in our marriage, she [Chloe] knew he was still married and had a family, but that didn’t stop her pursuing him. It seemed like it didn’t matter — I didn’t matter.’
While Meeks was unavailable for comment yesterday, in the past he has effusively declared his love for Chloe.
In November last year, he said: ‘I love Chloe for her, and if she didn’t have a dollar I wouldn’t give a s**t because we’re so happy.’
Melissa says she still doesn’t like to think about the situation and tries to push it out of her mind because the reality is so horribly painful, particularly given the numerous postings on social media charting her husband — for he remains her husband — and Chloe’s affair.
It’s hard for her 12-year-old son Robert, too. He was only two when Melissa and Jeremy starting seeing each other, and regards him as a father.
He’s seen him only a handful of times in the past ten months.
‘Robert gets really upset,’ Melissa says. ‘Jeremy was a major part of his life. He misses him a lot. He thinks Jeremy doesn’t love him any more, and asks when he’ll be able to see him again.’
Painfully for Melissa, she discovered last year that Jeremy had actually introduced their son, Jeremy Junior, to Chloe.
It happened in August when Jeremy was in North California, where the family live, for a visit, and brought his new girlfriend with him.
‘Jeremy Junior had been staying with his father for a week, and that’s when it happened,’ she says. ‘No one told me. Jeremy just announced: “Oh, by the way, you’re going to find out anyway. Jeremy Junior met Chloe.”
‘I said: “What?” He said: “Everything’s fine. We had a blast.”
‘I asked why he didn’t tell me — I’m his mother after all — and he said it was because he thought I’d have a “problem” with it.
Green and Meeks at a Topman store in Los Angeles last year
‘Perhaps when Chloe’s a mother she’ll understand how hurt I felt. In fairness, Jeremy Junior says she’s nice to him, which, as a mum, I’m glad about.
‘I want him to be happy. He spent Christmas and New Year’s Eve with them on the yacht. They flew to Florida on a private jet. Her parents were there, too.
‘It’s a very different world to ours. They brought him designer clothes — Dolce & Gabbana — a PlayStation and lots of other things, too.
‘I remember when he came home I told him to clean up his room, saying: “I’m not your maid.” To which he replied: “Well, I have one on the boat.” These people have so much money they don’t live in reality. Philip Green is a man of great power and wealth. In that world, you have the money to get what you want no matter what.’
Melissa truly believed she would grow old with Meeks after they met at a friend’s party in Stockton, California, in 2008. They married shortly after Christmas and, a year later, Jeremy Junior was born.
‘He had little blue eyes and they stayed blue.’ Her face softens as she remembers that day. ‘He was pretty small — 6lb 11oz — and I remember Jeremy cupping him in his hand and staring at him. He said it was one of the greatest moments of his life.’
Jeremy had had a pretty rough childhood and he wanted better for his son. Indeed, Meeks was little more than a baby himself when his own father was sentenced to life in prison for murder. His mother had drug problems, so he was raised largely by his sister and gravitated towards street gangs.
‘He was incarcerated for a lot of his adult life before he met me,’ says Melissa. ‘I think his involvement with street gangs had something to do with wanting to feel he was part of some sort of family.’
Meeks was open about his past as a member of the notorious North Side Crips, one of California’s most brutal street gangs. In 2002, he got two years for theft and was in and out of prison for years for a series of crimes, including resisting arrest.
Happier times: Melissa Meeks with her ‘hot felon’ husband before he began dating Chloe Green
He has a Crips tattoo on his right forearm and a teardrop inked under his left eye, often said to symbolise a gang killing.
Having once been arrested for beating a 16-year-old boy ‘into a pulp’, he was described by police as ‘one of the most violent criminals in the Stockton area’ before he was jailed for two years in 2014 for possession of a firearm and one count of ‘street terrorism’. His police mugshot then went viral.
‘That’s what changed everything,’ says Melissa, who visited him in prison every weekend and supported the family in his absence. When Meeks was released two years ago, he was snapped up by an agent and soon secured a modelling contract.
‘He didn’t get his first big modelling gig until the New York Fashion Show in February 2017,’ she says. ‘Although he came out of prison in April 2016, he was under house arrest until July.
‘We didn’t have much money, but on our wedding anniversary he bought me this necklace that had a little diamond stud. We went wine-tasting. I was very happy that day. I had no idea that was the last anniversary I was every going to have with him.’
Her eyes fill with tears. ‘I try not to think about this stuff.’
The relationship began to change after the fashion show.
‘I wanted to be involved, I wanted to travel with him. But he said he couldn’t afford for me to go, as he was just starting out.
‘The big change came after the Cannes Film Festival. That’s when he met her. Week after week, I saw him change. I think the lifestyle and the industry got hold of him.
The 2014 mugshot from Stockton Police Department which sent the internet into a frenzy and set Jeremy Meeks on the road to stardom
‘He started to try to pull himself away from his old life and into his new life. He just wanted to do his own thing. I felt I didn’t fit into this new life. I’m sure if I was a billionaire I’d have fitted right in,’ she adds with a hollow laugh.
‘We’d have arguments and he’d say he wanted a divorce, then the next moment he’d be on the phone saying how much he loved me, and that he didn’t want to break up our family.
‘Emotionally it was very difficult, but he never said “this is over — I’m moving out” until those boat pictures happened.’
‘It was a slap in the face. I was devastated. It was shocking, unbelievable. The kids didn’t know what to do or say. I couldn’t go into work I was so upset. I lost so much weight. I was in a terrible state.
‘Now I’ve put the bits of the puzzle together I’ve realised that between Cannes in May and the trip to Turkey at the end of June he was living with us but spending a lot of time in LA.
‘That’s when I really noticed the difference. I felt in my gut there was something going on, but he looked me in the face and swore there wasn’t.
‘Now he maintains nothing happened between him and Chloe until Turkey, but I don’t believe it.
‘Isn’t it a bit of a coincidence the paparazzi were in the middle of the ocean when they were kissing? Somebody had to set that up.’
Once again she is almost in tears.
‘This is all so tragic for me,’ she says. ‘Was my whole marriage a façade? Even the stuff he’s posting to her on social media is the same stuff he used to say to me — exactly the same words, exactly the same phrases.
‘He’d say “I love you” and I’d say “I love you more”. He would reply: “That’s impossible, I love you to the moon and back.” Now he says that to her.’
In the beginning, Melissa tortured herself, following them both on social media. Now she doesn’t bother.
With her self-assurance at rock bottom, she also embarked upon numerous cosmetic surgery procedures, which she admits was to try to ‘be like the people in his world’.
‘I just felt I needed to enhance myself, so to speak; to make myself happier and feel more confident.
‘I can see now I lacked confidence, with him being thrown into this world of celebrities who have money to look top-notch. I wanted to do it for myself.’
Was she hoping to salvage their marriage? She shrugs.
‘How can I compete with a billionaire? In my opinion, I’m more attractive than her, but I can’t shower him with gifts or whisk him around the world in a private jet.
‘I wouldn’t want him back now. When I look at him I don’t find him attractive any more because of what he’s done to me and how he’s treated me.
‘His attitude is ugly, and when you’re ugly on the inside, you’re ugly on the outside. When [if] Chloe does have this baby, this is what she should bear in mind.’