NADINE DORRIES: I wish I’d been as strong and forgiving as Kyle Walker’s betrayed wife when I caught my husband kissing another woman

The nation is gripped by the Euros, but some are more intrigued by the complex personal affairs of England’s vice captain Kyle Walker. For those who haven’t been following, Kyle apologised some time ago for the ‘idiot choices’ he made in fathering two children with ‘influencer’ Lauryn Goodman while he was married to his childhood sweetheart Annie Kilner, the mother of his four other children.

Last week, Lauryn insisted on taking Kyle’s son Kairo to England’s match against Denmark, despite the fact that Annie was there with Kyle’s other sons. It’s hardly the distraction the Manchester City star needs as he prepares for tonight’s game against Slovenia.

But even though I respect Lauryn’s wish to do right by her son and take him to Germany to watch Daddy play, I can only imagine the pain Annie must be going through as all this is aired in public. How could she forgive Kyle for his betrayal?

England and Manchester City footballer Kyle Walker with his wife Annie Kilner, with whom he has four children

You see, I know how she feels — because I too was once the humiliated wife. I too suffered a breach of trust that resulted, in my case, in years of resentment — and which ultimately contributed to my husband Paul and I separating for nine years. Like Annie and Kyle, we had been together since we were young: I was just 17 when we had our first date.

When I look back over those nine years of estrangement, I know I was lost, adrift and in pain — as was Paul. We reunited not long before he received a terminal diagnosis — and he died in my arms in 2019.

The truth is: I should never have let him go in the first place.

Back in the early 2000s, Paul and I had started a new business. We were raising three young children and were working flat-out. And though we had a beautiful relationship, there were signs that something was wrong.

I remember waking early one Sunday morning, reaching my arm out for him and asking for tea — which he brought to me in bed every morning of our married life — to find he wasn’t lying there next to me.

I looked out of the bedroom window: the car was gone. I texted him to ask where he was and the blunt reply came: ‘At the office.’

His tone was cold: there was no, ‘need me to pick anything up?’ or ‘are the girls awake yet?’ And why was he at the office on a Sunday morning in the first place?

The next clue came a few weeks later, when a member of our staff brought up extra-marital affairs while we were talking. ‘Do you think Paul would ever cheat on you?’ she asked me. ‘Never,’ came my immediate response. To this day, I have not forgotten the moment that lovely lady tried to warn me.

Never indeed: Paul and I had always been deeply in love. We insisted on sitting next to each other at functions, hated being split up, and friends teased us for constantly holding hands. We had worked our way up from nothing together, and we were doting parents.

Before falling asleep, we’d hold each other and talk about the joyous life we’d created, laughing so much that we had to press our faces into our pillows to muffle the sound, so as not to wake the children. We were loving and passionate and had the healthiest of relationships.

But one day I found that ‘never’ could happen after all.

It was a work ‘weekend away’. I’d woken in the middle of the night to find the bedroom door open and a summer breeze drifting into the room.

The previous evening, on a rare occasion, I’d gone to bed first, after we and our team had all had dinner together at a local pub. I had meetings planned for the following day — the start of a new week — and I’d left everyone else downstairs, drinking and chatting. Paul had kissed me on the forehead and said: ‘I’ll be up in a minute: I’ll just sort everyone out with drinks.’

I’d fallen asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow, yet when I woke in the early hours — thanks to his absence, as much as anything — I heard muffled voices coming from the hot tub outside.

I slipped on a dressing gown and crept downstairs towards the moonlit garden. And there she was: one of our employees, kissing my husband. Her eyes met mine and she pulled away from him.

‘Your wife is here,’ she said to Paul, and smiled at me as she spoke. The pain I felt was indescribable.

Yes, she worked for me — but I’d thought of her as a friend. I’d believed she was as committed to making the business work as we were: but actually, she was only interested in Paul and taking him away from me.

I learnt later that everyone else had suspected something was going on between them: I had truly been the last to know. I’m quite ashamed of what I did next. The following morning, after hours of ferocious arguments between Paul and me — and many tears shed by both of us — I picked up the phone and called her husband.

Nadine Dorries pictured with her husband Paul. She now believes that his affair was not his fault and that he was easy pickings for any woman who wanted him

Nadine Dorries pictured with her husband Paul. She now believes that his affair was not his fault and that he was easy pickings for any woman who wanted him

His secretary told me he was in a meeting. ‘Well, you’d better get him out,’ I said. ‘I need to talk to him about his wife.’ My voice left no room for doubt as to how angry I was —and, within seconds, he was on the phone.

I told him exactly what had happened and his response floored me: ‘Oh God, no, not again.’

I wasn’t the first upset wife to call him. It transpired that she was a serial, gold-digging adulteress in search of a better life than the one he could afford. The poor man broke down. It has been hard to admit this to myself, but I now believe that Paul’s affair was not his fault. He was too trusting: an innocent who stood no chance. A kindly, jolly, Robert Redford lookalike, Paul was easy-pickings for any woman who wanted to ensnare him. It happened to him — and it will happen to many more happily married men to come.

But, back then, I just couldn’t move on. The betrayal was like an open wound which eroded the foundation of trust our marriage was built on and made the storms ahead impossible to survive.

We both regretted our break-up more than anything else in the world.

If I had my time again, I would force my younger self to think of all the precious things Paul and I had built together. Hard as it would be, I would forgive him.

Not a day goes by now when I don’t turn out the light and wish I’d seen it all for what it truly was — and moved on.

Surely, if love means anything, it means being able to forgive. If I had put it all behind me, we would have been unthwarted, our lives unshaken. We — not her — would have been the ones smiling for many years to come.

Annie Kilner, of course, has a still greater cross to bear. Kyle can’t cut Lauryn entirely out of his life: two other children are involved. But young as she is at 32, she has already proven herself to be a better woman than me in the forgiveness stakes.

I hope she can power through, because if she holds her family happy and intact, she will have more to be proud of than any of Kyle’s achievements on the football pitch.