real life

When Christine fell pregnant, her parents chased Clyde away. 47 years later, they married.

When Christine and Clyde Betteridge first met in the late 1960s, they instantly clicked.

Christine, who was 16 at the time, and Clyde, who was two years her senior, worked together at a Victorian shoe factory.

“[Clyde’s] father was his boss and his mother was my boss inside,” Christine told Mamamia.

Not long after their first meeting, Christine and Clyde began dating. Almost immediately, they were inseparable.

Watch a snippet from SBS Insight’s episode ‘Back With The Ex’ below. Post continues after video.

“We were together for around two years,” Christine explained.

“We were together all the time because we liked the same things, like going to car shows and walks and everything. We just did everything together. It was just a natural bond, I think.”

As their relationship reached the two year mark, however, Christine discovered that she was pregnant.

“Clyde’s parents were fine, his mum actually took me to the doctor to find out [that I was pregnant]. But my mum was a bit funny about it all,” Christine told Mamamia.

christine and clyde
Christine and Clyde with Christine's niece. Image: Supplied.
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Clyde devised a plan – he was going to ask for Christine's father's permission to propose to her. But not long after Christine fell pregnant, he was drafted to serve in Vietnam.

"[Clyde] came to ask my dad if he could marry him, and my dad, in all his wisdom, decided to say no because Clyde had just got his call to go and train for Vietnam. My father just more or less chased him away and said, 'You're not good enough for my daughter'. It broke both of our hearts," she said.

"Clyde went into the army, because he was drafted. He went off and I was sort of stuck in nowhere land with nobody."

After Clyde was drafted into the army, the pair failed to keep in touch. In the end, Clyde never got a chance to meet his child.

"I don't know if it was because my dad said what he said, but he probably thought he wasn't good enough for me either at the time. I don't know," she said.

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Christine and her son Raymond. Image: Supplied.

Just one month before she gave birth to their son, Raymond, Christine was married off to a family friend, in a marriage which would last nine years.

In the years that followed, Clyde also married and had three children. Besides Ray, Christine also had another three children.

One day, in 1972, Christine and Clyde ran into each other on the street.

"We did meet up, I married somebody else, it was either that or you have to adopt out your baby, in those days. But I chose to keep my baby so I married a family friend and Clyde did his thing in the army and then he married. We met up in 1972 in the street. But he was married and I was married and that was that," she said.

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It wasn't until her son Ray was 46 years old that Christine decided to search for Clyde once and for all.

"I've been trying to find him for years and [I tried to find] his parents. I used to take Ray to visit his parents, when he was only a baby. But for years, I tried to find him and I never could," she explained.

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Image: Supplied.

"There was always a part of me missing. For years and years, there was just something in my life that was missing. I had children and everything but there was always somebody that should have been there that wasn't there.

"I found his sister on Facebook, she's now passed away. I messaged her and asked her, 'Is Clyde still around?' A couple of days later, I got a message on Facebook from Clyde. It said: 'Give me your phone number! I want to ring you!'"

After a month of talking, Clyde came down to Victoria to reunite with Christine and to meet his son Ray for the first time.

"He came down and he was a bit funny about coming to visit us because he thought 'Ray might not like me or he might blame me' and all these sort of things," she explained.

"He got to the driveway and I saw him and I just melted. Like I was that 16 year old again. I just ran to him and wrapped my arms around him and he must of thought, 'What the heck is this weird person doing to me?' But he did the same, and from then on, we just didn't separate.

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"He went back to Queensland and then I moved up here. That piece of that puzzle was back and I haven't been happier since."

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Christine and Clyde on their wedding day. Image: Supplied.
christine and clyde
Christine and Clyde. Image: Supplied.

After living together for 12 months – and a long 50 year wait – Clyde finally asked Christine to marry him.

"We were out at work and I was helping him one day. I saw this ring in a catalogue, because we deliver catalogues to people. It looked like a flower. Not long after, he said, 'Come on, let's go look at [this ring],'" she said.

"A couple of weeks later, we're out at work and he comes in behind me and he gets down on one knee and he goes, 'Will you marry me?' I said to him, 'I've been waiting 50 years for you to ask me to marry you'."

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After becoming engaged, the pair opted for a quiet wedding in July 2018, attended by all of their children.

"It was his kids, that he had with his first wife, my kids that I had. All the kids were together at the wedding. Ray actually gave me away at the wedding. Everybody was crying, of course," she recalled.

"The celebrant who married us, she knew everything about Clyde and I. She said to Raymond: 'Do you, Raymond, give your mother, Christine, to your father, Clyde.' Everyone was crying. It was just really lovely. That's my life now."

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Ray gave Christine away during the ceremony. Image: Supplied.

Not long after getting married, Christine discovered that she had lung cancer. Thankfully, after a month of radiation treatment, she's now cancer free.

As for the next few years, Clyde and Christine are trying to make the most of the time they now have together.

"[Clyde's] gone back to work because we've got our 4WD but we want to go around Australia so now he's working to get a camper van," Christine said.

"We're going to go around Australia, we've already planned it."

You can find out more about Christine and Clyde's story on Insight, which airs on August 18 at 8.30pm on SBS. It will also be available to watch later on SBS On Demand.


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