A widow who found her husband dead on the sofa after an argument said today she was pretending to be in a relationship with his brother for the sake of her children.
Ashlee Murrell, 33, said she was comforted by her brother-in-law Chris after her husband of seven years, Michael, suddenly passed away in May.
Less than two months after her husband’s death, Mrs Murrell posted photos on social media of her in loving embraces with Chris, 36, which has prompted anger from the brothers’ family.
But Mrs Murrell insisted there was no romance with her dead husband’s brother – and claimed they were only giving the impression they are a couple for the stability of her three children.
The grieving beauty therapist from Wellington in Somerset said Chris is living with her and her children, but he is sleeping in a spare room.
Speaking exclusively to MailOnline, Mrs Murrell said: ‘When Mikey died Chris was the first to come round and support me.
‘I was in pieces and he was a massive comfort, not just to me, but the kids as well.
‘We saw how well the children were reacting to having him around.
But the showmance’ has gone down badly with some of the brothers’ family – and Chris’s estranged wife Terri Nelson.
Their sister Christina Murrell posted on Facebook: ‘I think it is so insensitive and so wrong of them getting together so soon after Michael has died. I do not agree with it.’
And Terri, mother of Chris’s young daughter, added: ‘My ex is clearly so f***ing disgusted with the fact he is f***ing shacked up with his dead brother’s wife who passed not even two months ago that he has to make s*** up about me to make himself feel better.’
Describing how the unusual domestic arrangement has split the family, Mrs Murrell said: ‘It’s been really important for me to have that help with the kids. There have been so many things over the last two months that I never would have got through without him.
‘From the day Mikey died to the present, Chris has been there for us.