In the second part of a tangled he-said, she-said tale of two weddings and a Facebook page, the man accused of bigamy uncovered on the social network claims it’s largely the product of his estranged wife’s imagination.
Tuesday on TODAY, Lynn France said she learned that John France — with whom she had two sons after a gala 2005 wedding — had taken a second bride only when she saw pictures of that second wedding on the Facebook page of John’s new wife, Amanda. Lynn asserts she is still married to John, and that he has spirited away their two toddler sons.
But on Thursday, John France appeared on TODAY with Amanda and an attorney to tell a decidedly different story. He asserted his marriage to Lynn was never valid in the first place, and that Lynn knew what he was up to every step of the way.
“I was not carrying on a double life, no way,” France told Matt Lauer. “I’m no angel, OK? But Lynn knew everything I was doing.”
Two weddings and a Facebook pageLynn France had a storybook wedding with John in 2005 on Italy’s Amalfi coast, and the couple settled into a marriage, raising their two young sons in Cleveland.
But she said that in 2008, she began to suspect something was awry when John took a trip to China and left his passport at home. Later, she found a hotel website up on the family computer screen, and when she went there, found John with Amanda. She said John told her he was leaving her for Amanda.
But, Lynn said, her sadness turned to shock when she tracked Amanda down on Facebook and found pictures not only of Amanda’s bridal shower, but another storybook wedding — this one between John and Amanda at Disney World, without a divorce decree between John and herself.
But on Thursday John told Lauer that Lynn knew full well that a clerical error had rendered their marriage invalid, and that their own children were with him in his new home in Florida when he married Amanda.
“This goes back years and years; it’s not new news,” John France told Lauer. “I hired an Italian attorney to go and confirm the marriage was illegal. The attorney came back with affidavits stating that it was invalid.
“We discussed this a number of times. At first she believed it, and then she keeps on flip-flopping, OK? This goes back at least two years.”
In a separate interview Wednesday, NBC’s Jeff Rossen asked John France whether he is using a legal loophole to pardon his cheating.
“I don’t think I was cheating,” John said. “If you have a marriage that is not right in the beginning, it’s not right at the end.”
Speaking with Lauer Thursday, John said that while the couple’s two boys didn’t actually attend his wedding to Amanda, they were nonetheless with him in Florida — and Lynn had to know a wedding was afoot. “To make [Lynn] feel comfortable, we had one of the nannies — who was one of [Lynn’s] friends — with the kids.”
He said, she saidTuesday on TODAY, Lynn also claimed that John France returned to her early last year and reconciled with her, then suddenly took their toddlers to Florida in May. She hasn’t seen them since, and says she can only keep tabs on them through Amanda’s Facebook page. There Amanda refers to the boys as her “little loves,” which Lynn regards as taunting.
“To the two of them, this is a big joke,” Lynn told NBC. “But to me, it is devastating because it’s my children.”
John France says he’s still sorting through Lynn’s statements, but that none of her accusations are true. He told Lauer he never reconciled with Lynn; instead, he was simply making trips back and forth from Ohio to Florida so Lynn could share in the raising of their children.
And while Lynn claimed she is barred from seeing her children, John’s second bride, Amanda, told Lauer it simply isn’t the case.
“That can’t be any further from the truth at all,” Amanda France said. “We’ve bought her tickets to come down. She’s canceled them herself.”
John France added that he has initiated annulment proceedings against Lynn in Florida and has filed for majority custody of the children, and said that he is thus barred from leaving the state with them.
Appearing with the Frances, John’s attorney Gary Williams told Lauer, “We’ve made numerous efforts to negotiate with Lynn’s visitation, but she’s elected not to exercise them.”
Lauer asked Amanda France whether she can understand Lynn’s pain over not seeing her children.
“Yeah, I understand that perfectly,” she responded. “But you know what? They love where they are. I love them more than life. They’re not my kids, but when they’re with me, you know, I treat them like they are mine. I’m not taunting her.”
While John France told Lauer he hopes the complicated court case between himself and Lynn “ends civilly” and that Lynn continues to have a relationship with the children, he made it clear he believes the boys are better off now.
“Lynn has a history,” he told Lauer. “I'm not going to bad-mouth the children’s mother on national TV. [But] we feel the kids are more stable, comfortable and secure and safe with me.”
Which wife is which?But in a measure of how complex a tale of two weddings can be, France at one point in the interview referred to Amanda as Lynn.
“See, even you’re confused about this!” Lauer chided him.
In a statement to NBC, Lynn France’s attorney, Andrew Zashin, said John France has not exhibited concrete proof he is still not married to Lynn. He added that Lynn did not go on TODAY to publicly embarrass John.
“This narcissistic version of reality is simply incorrect,” Zashin said. “Lynn wants to share her story in order to let people know that they do not have to live as helpless victims. No one should have to go through what Lynn is going through, watching as another woman claims her children on a Facebook page.”