When Jenna Clarke realised she was gay aged 17, the first person she confided in was her younger brother Michael.
But when she fell head over heels for pretty Ashleigh Pritchard, she had no idea he would snatch her lover from under her nose.
Jenna, now 25, was horrified to discover her bisexual girlfriend was having a secret affair with the brother she adored.
Ashleigh, 24, had even been sneaking out of their bed in the dead of night to be with her lover’s brother, also 24.
Their eight-month fling was rumbled when his girlfriend saw a saucy message from Ashleigh on his phone.
Jenna said: “It’s horrible to be betrayed by the two people you love most but what Michael did hurt most of all.
“Growing up, we were inseparable. I’ve got four brothers but I was always closest to Michael.
“I was always a bit of a tomboy so we loved playing football together.
“I was really protective of him and would never let anyone give him any hassle.
“We had a hard childhood in lots of ways, but my happiest memories are of playing with Michael in arcades when we went on caravan holidays. I thought we’d always be as close as we were as kids.
“When I realised I was gay as a teenager, I turned to him first.
“He was shocked and I was emotional, as I worried what the family might say. But they were all supportive.”
Jenna, from Splott, Cardiff, met Ashleigh in a club in 2013 and was smitten.
“A few days later she added me on social media. We sent constant messages to each other. Then she invited me round and we kissed.
"She told me, ‘I’ve never been with a woman but there is something about you.’ We couldn’t fight our feelings.”
Weeks later Jenna introduced Ashleigh to Michael – and found out they already knew each other.
She said: “They realised they’d been to school together but hadn’t seen each other in years.
“Ashleigh was a bit giggly around Michael. She admitted she’d had a crush on him at school. That was a bit weird. But she assured me she didn’t fancy him any more.”
Within a year, unemployed Ashleigh had moved in with sales assistant Jenna and her mum.
Jobless Michael was soon leaving his girlfriend at home with their two kids and spending more and more time with his sister and her girlfriend.
Jenna said: “I was worried about Michael because he seemed really low. I’d never seen him so down. I liked the fact he spent so much time with us and that he felt he could confide in us.
“We’d have little movie nights where we’d sit on the couch watching films with a takeaway. Michael always wanted to sit between
"Ashleigh and me on the couch. He said it was because he could see the screen better and I thought nothing of it.
“Sometimes, I’d go downstairs to get a drink and I could hear the two of them giggling, but when I’d come back into the room they’d go silent.
“Ashleigh would sometimes disappear in the middle of the night, saying she wanted to check on him.
“I should have seen the signs but I trusted them both so much.
Michael came close to admitting the fling in 2016 when Jenna arranged a lavish birthday night out for him – and Ashleigh stormed out of the club in a huff.
Jenna said: “I made a huge fuss of him. I booked a limo so we could travel to the club in style.
“Everyone seemed to be having a great night so I didn’t take much notice of Ashleigh and Michael chatting in the corner.
“Suddenly Ashleigh was crying and screaming, saying she wanted to go home. It didn’t add up.
“I found out she and Michael had had an argument because he’d tried to break things off.
“Michael was in tears and told me, ‘You’re such a loving and caring person. You’re too good for Ashleigh. Please break it off with her because she’ll cheat on you.’
“I’d no idea she was actually cheating on me with him.
“Later that night his girlfriend asked me if I thought they were too close for comfort. I told her not to be paranoid.”
But a few months later Michael’s girlfriend proved Jenna wrong when he left his phone lying around and she saw a sexy message from Ashleigh.
Jenna said: “When she called to tell me what had happened, I was in so much shock I couldn’t even cry.
“She was really upset. She told me a message had flashed up on Michael’s phone from Ashleigh.
"Apparently, she’d told him she wanted to be with him, not me. She talked about their sex life and she even said she wanted children with him.
“I was so stunned I could barely speak. I’d always thought his girlfriend was being paranoid. I could barely look at Ashleigh, who was sitting right next to me.
"She broke down, and tried to claim her Facebook had been hacked.
“But I knew she was lying and she admitted they’d slept together. She said it was because I hadn’t been paying her enough attention.”
Ashleigh tried to claim she’d slept with Michael only once.
She recalled: “She was hysterical, saying it was a mistake and that it was me she loved. I didn’t know what to think.
"I asked her what had happened and she’d said she’d gone downstairs one night while I was in bed and they’d slept together on my couch.
“I felt sick because I realised she’d got back into bed with me like nothing had happened.
“Then I confronted Michael and that’s when I realised their stories didn’t stack up because he let it slip it that it had happened more than once.
“After a lot of tears, they admitted it had been going on for eight months. They even confessed they’d sneaked off to the toilets when we were on nights out. I was inconsolable.”
Ashleigh begged for forgiveness but their bond couldn’t recover. Michael and his girlfriend also broke up.
Jenna said: “I loved Ashleigh so much I wanted to give it another go, but I knew I could never trust her again.”
Two years on, Jenna still feels the pain but she has found love with recruitment consultant Elise Humphreys, 33.
She said: “Elise has shown me what real love is. She’d never betray me like Ashleigh has. I get the occasional message from Ashleigh, asking for another chance but I couldn’t go back.
“I’ll always love Michael because he is my brother but we barely speak now. Things are very strained.
"The rest of the family is frosty with him because of what he did. He was the one person in the world I thought would always be on my side.”
Michael and Ashleigh did not want to comment but a friend of Michael said: “He’s devastated at what happened. He regrets it big time."
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