A man once dubbed ‘Jilted John’ for being dumped in the run up to his wedding – before inviting a stranger on his honeymoon – has celebrated the birth of a baby boy with the fiancée who left him.
John Whitbread, 37, from Leicestershire, made headlines in 2015 for auctioning off a spare ticket for a luxury honeymoon to the Dominican Republic after being ditched by Amy Jackson five weeks before the the big day.
But the couple appeared on ITV’s Good Morning Britain last year after they rekindled their romance – before John got down on one knee and popped the question on live TV.
And now the couple have welcomed 12-week-old son Oliver, who joins Amy’s daughter, Daisy, 11, from a previous relationship.
And after John proposed last year, the couple are now set to tie the knot for real.
Photographer Amy explained she instantly regretted ending the relationship due to getting ‘cold feet’.
The 29-year-old said: ‘It all happened so quickly when we first got together. Within a month we’d moved in together and got engaged quickly.
‘There were lots of pressures. It all happened too soon and I got cold feet. I thought I wasn’t ready for it – I’d not lived my life enough.
‘How I handled it was wrong. It was when I was getting Daisy ready for school I saw my face on TV and the story was on the radio.
‘It just reinforced I’d made a mistake, but when the media got involved, there was no going back. I was asking to meet up and he was saying no.
‘I was getting death threats from people – it was horrible.’
It hasn’t been an easy journey for the couple – who unexpectedly hit headlines after John took to eBay to raffle the honeymoon ticket to the highest bidder after Amy told him at Christmas 2014 she did not want to get married.
The raffle was a huge hit with 155 of the £10 tickets sold to 125 women, with John saying he just wanted a nice girl to join him – no strings attached.
Desperate to find a holiday partner for the £1,950 trip to the Dominican Republic, with lucky winner Kelly Wood – who he met for the first time at the airport.
The pair flew to the Caribbean region, where they stayed in the honeymoon suite in single beds and returned as ‘good friends but nothing more’.
The raffle also raised £1,420 which John donated to the testicular cancer charity Balls to Cancer as he said at the time that people told him he ‘had balls’ for going on honeymoon with a complete stranger.
For two years, John and Amy did not speak and tried to move on with other relationships, but it never worked out.
Then they started to make contact with the odd message when memories came up on Facebook.
On New Year’s Eve 2017, John sent a message to Amy saying not to contact him again.
A few weeks later, John apologised and they cleared the air, sharing the odd message again, but he made it clear they were not getting back together.
But as time passed, they realised they were ‘meant to be together’. Amy said: ‘When it’s meant to be it’ll always find a way.
‘I never thought four years ago we’d be back together with a family. It wasn’t easy as he was really hurt. We had to be really honest and build it up from scratch.’
When it came to planning the big proposal last year, John made sure it was perfect and personal to them.
The first suggestion from ITV was for celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott to make them breakfast.
But he says hearing Just You and I by Tom Walker gave him the idea to get engaged at their favourite restaurant.
It took him three months to plan and he even got the restaurant to send an invite saying bosses were inviting loyal customers to breakfast to celebrate 10 years in business.
Amy was under the impression it was being filmed for the website. Amy said: ‘It was really unexpected.
‘After the first time I thought it was never going to happen again.’
Now the couple are adapting to life with little Oliver and are planning their big day next year.
John said: ‘It’s really nice and everyone’s happy for us.
‘It is like a film really. My dad, who’s not the emotional type, watches the proposal now and again and he gets choked up.
‘It’s really hard being a dad. It’s not easy, but you just do whatever you think’s right. ‘You have to work together as a team.
‘We’re both tired and he was a very ‘sicky’ baby. ‘It pushes you to your limits, but when he smiles it all just melts away.’