Michael Owen said his marriage was a sham and begged me for nude pics, Big Brother's Rebecca Jane says

A REALITY TV star has spoken for the first time about how England football hero Michael Owen told her that his marriage was a “sham” — as he asked her for nude pictures.

Owen, 42, was at the centre of a scandal last year over his messages to ex-Big Brother contestant Rebecca Jane, 37.

She now says he said he was in a marriage of convenience with childhood sweetheart Louise Bonsall and “keeping up appearances”.

But she also revealed she felt 5ft 8ins Owen was too short for her.

Speaking in detail for the first time about the messages, Rebecca — a regular on ITV’s This Morning and GMB — said she felt like she was messaging a single man after the BT Sport pundit’s assurances.


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Rebecca, who runs a mental health business, said: “The story that Michael span me was that they were not really married and it was a sham.

“He said it was a marriage of convenience for the sake of appearances and to keep their racehorse business going.

“He told me his marriage was over, it was all a big façade and he wasn’t really married any more.

"I should have perhaps investigated his situation a bit more and been more cautious — but I took him at face value.

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“He fed me a load of rubbish over a six-week period when I was in communication with him and he wanted to meet me.

“But it should be remembered that I actually turned him down — I turned him down quite a bit and didn’t meet him.

“To be honest, he didn’t meet my height requirements.” 

Rebecca also revealed she spoke to Owen’s wife Louise, 41, for an hour in the days after the story appeared — and said she was “understanding” and accepted her version of events.

But the ex-footballer’s daughter Gemma was less forgiving, branding Rebecca “desperate” on social media.

However, Rebecca hit back, saying the 19-year-old — who is due to appear on Love Island from tomorrow — was a “hypocrite”.

Former Liverpool, Man Utd, Newcastle and Real Madrid star Owen’s squeaky-clean image was shattered last June when it was revealed he had begged Rebecca for nude pictures.

He also asked Rebecca — who admits she was thrilled to be contacted by a childhood hero — to meet him at Chester races and urged her to “leave nothing to the imagination” in pictures which he would “judge” for her.

Dad-of-four Owen, who has spoken publicly about his marriage and written two autobiographies, started following Rebecca on Twitter, before swapping messages on the site and then WhatsApp.

'I feel sorry for you'

He told Rebecca he had viewed one image of her 65 times as they swapped messages and calls during April and May last year.

After Rebecca sent him pictures, he replied: “Tremendous by way.”

Rebecca, who appeared on Big Brother in 2017 and has tens of thousands of social media followers, faced a storm when the story about their messages was revealed, although she did not speak publicly.

And one of those who criticised her was Owen’s eldest child, Gemma, an international dressage rider who enters the Love Island villa in Majorca this weekend.

As well as her “desperate” jibe on Instagram, Gemma also said: “I feel sorry for you getting your t**s out for a bit of fame” and branded her “the lowest of the low”. 

She also accused Rebecca of “ignoring” an attempt by her mum Louise to speak to her.

Rebecca, who lost her previous job at a mental health charity after the story came out and was then in hospital with Covid, said Gemma’s attack added to her woes.

She said: “I thought it was immature and it caused unnecessary further distress.

“It was her dad who was in the wrong, and not me — I had taken him at his word and she should have realised that. 

“I also did not ignore her mum. She had messaged me on a social media site that I was forced to close down, and I did end up speaking to her in the end. 

“What Gemma said about me was vile, and it seems hypocritical now that she is going into Love Island.

She needs be careful now she is seeking fame. Good luck to her on the show, though — although I won’t be watching.”

Mum-of-two Rebecca, whose business helps companies with the mental health of employees, sent a message to Louise, provided her number and asked if she wanted to discuss the messages days after the story came out. 

She added: “I ended up speaking to Louise about it and in the end, after I explained what happened, she was lovely.

"It appeared to me that Michael had fed her a load of rubbish too.

"She thought it was someone else messaging me, like his social media manager, and asked me to prove it was him.

“I sent her voice notes he had sent me on WhatsApp, and she checked dates and stuff and it all tallied up.

“She was calm and really understanding, and agreed I hadn’t done much wrong.

“She realised he had made the running and spun me a few lines.

“It did make me wonder if it was the first time it had happened or if she had friends that it had happened to before.

“And I think Louise realised Michael and I didn’t meet up and that he had got carried away.”

Rebecca, who has a law degree and used to run a love cheat detective agency, says she faced sexual harassment from a boss at the mental health company she was working at when the story broke.

And she was plunged into despair when the firm — from which she has now taken a payout — released a statement distancing itself from her in the wake of the story.

Rebecca speaks about her work experiences, and her dalliance with Owen, in the Tim Marner podcast episode out next week.

Owen and childhood sweetheart Louise married in June 2005, with pictures of their wedding appearing in Hello! magazine. 

He had shot to global fame aged 18 when he scored a solo wonder-goal against Argentina in the 1998 World Cup.

Owen was named BBC Sports Personality of the Year months later and went on to score 40 goals in 89 games for England.

He and Louise founded a stables business in Cheshire and since retiring from football, Michael has worked as a pundit and covered last weekend’s Liverpool v Real Madrid Champions League Final for BT Sport.

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In 2019 book, Reboot: My Life, My Time he spoke about marriage problems and revealed he had “stared into an abyss called divorce” as he struggled after retiring from football.

Owen declined to comment

  • HEAR more of Rebecca’s story on the Tim Marner podcast on YouTube, Spotify or iTunes.

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