| 13.5°C Dublin

Time heals Ben Foden admits he was largely at fault for break up of marriage to Una Healy

'I sat the kids down to tell them why mummy and daddy split up'


Una Healy and Ben Foden are co-parenting

Una Healy and Ben Foden are co-parenting

Una Healy and Ben Foden are co-parenting

Una Healy's ex-husband Ben Foden has revealed how he sat their two young kids down to tell them why their parents were no longer together.

And the former England rugby player admitted he was largely at fault for the marriage break-up.

Ben previously confessed to cheating on the Tipperary beauty, but insisted it was just one of the reasons for the end of their marriage after six years.

He and Saturdays singer Una have two children, Aoife (9) and Tadhg (6), while Foden has since remarried and has a one-and-half-year-old daughter, Farrah, with his new wife Jackie Belanoff.


Ben with his partner Robin Johnstone

Ben with his partner Robin Johnstone

Ben with his partner Robin Johnstone



"I've sat down with the kids and talked to them about why mummy and daddy aren't together any more, so they have an understanding of it," he reveals. "Obviously not the massive details.

"They are not stupid kids, they can read and stuff now, they are on social media. They talk to their mummy and they ask her difficult questions, and they ask me difficult questions, but we try and answer them as best as possible.

"But the scary thing is with Tik Tok and social media and all this sort of stuff.

"At the same time it's so important to these kids in their development and in their future, because they are going to have jobs in 10 or 15 years in terms of like coding and computing and all that sort of stuff.

"Something I know very little of."


Una and Ben married in Co Tipperary in 2012

Una and Ben married in Co Tipperary in 2012

Una and Ben married in Co Tipperary in 2012


Ben (36) also confessed to the Sunday World that he and Una (40) toyed with the idea of naming Aoife 'Farrah' when they were trying to choose a name for her.

He married Jackie in 2019, after just two weeks of dating.

Sunday World Newsletter

Sign up for the latest news and updates

This field is required This field is required

"Jackie loved the 'FF', having the 'Farrah Foden', just having the same sort of thing," he explains.

"But weirdly, when Aoife was born Una and I talked about calling Aoife 'Farrah', so it was talked about by us and then Jackie mentioned it, she loved the name.

"I look at Aoife and I think it would be weird if we called her anything else but Aoife - and it's the same now with Farrah - I couldn't really imagine her being called anything else."

Ben, who takes part in Dancing On Ice on Virgin Media One/UTV tonight, spends most of his time in New York but gets home to England where he got to see his Tipperary-based kids recently.

"I've just sent my kids back from Christmas to Una and I definitely notice for the two years that they have been in Ireland they are definitely picking up the traits," he admits.

"Not really like in the twang, but in the way they say things and little words that Una used [to] always use.

"Listen, I'm not too fussed really, as long as they're cute and they're intelligent and loved and good people then they can talk with any accent they want."


With their two children Aoife and Tadhg

With their two children Aoife and Tadhg

With their two children Aoife and Tadhg


Ben admits he had to find his feet co-parenting.

"It was difficult to begin with. Just to find out where everyone slotted in and obviously where everything happened so fast, especially with Jackie and I," he says. " But over time it just seems like we are getting better and better and Una and my relationship is getting better, and Jackie's relationship as well.

"I have always said about Una, she is a great parent, a great mum to the kids. They are always in a loving environment. They are really excelling in terms of academics and sport and going to school and just being social with everyone.

"Everyone says they are great kids, whatever environment you bring them into. That's the main thing, that they're healthy and happy, whether they are with Una or myself, we try and create that environment."

But he claims he and Jackie are more suited to each other than he was with Una. "I just think that Jackie and I met each other at such a vital point in our lives, both for her and for me, and I wasn't looking for it," he points out.

"I really didn't think I was going to get married again. I just thought I'd be happy just being on my own.

"But I met someone that was so incredible who made me really live life again, made me want to take a chance, want to do something for this woman I knew for three or four months, we were dating.

"It was a shock. But going through a pandemic with her as well, spending literally every minute of every day all the time with her. She is like me, basically with blonde hair and an American accent. I just met my real partner. Nothing against Una. Una and I had a great relationship, but we were very chalk and cheese."

But the former rugby star admits things are good now between him and Una.

"She knows that I have responsibility being their dad and she has responsibility being their mum," he stresses.

"To be honest, the way things happened and the things I put Una through were pretty stressful at the time, so I would be a brave man to say that I knew it would happen like this.

"But I'm happy that things are getting back on track and Una's happy.

"She's happy at work, she's happy in Ireland with her family. She's happy in her life as well, which is great."



Ben fondly recalls hanging out with Una's family in Co Tipperary and going to pubs and rugby matches with them, and while he hopes Aoife and Tadhg will flourish in the paths their parents became famous for - music and sport - he will support them in whatever career they choose.

He is now focussed on Dancing On Ice, having previously only skated for fun for a few weeks when he was 15.

"Falls are part and parcel of ice-skating. I really tried to not fall for a long time, which is probably more dangerous than actually falling, because I was getting my body in all sorts of position," he says.

"The better you get, the harder the moves and the technicalities, the more likely you are to fall, but it's part of getting better. I've come a long way."

Dancing On Ice is on Virgin Media One/UTV tonight at 6.30pm.

Download the Sunday World app

Now download the free app for all the latest Sunday World News, Crime, Irish Showbiz and Sport. Available on Apple and Android devices