ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What Is Bigamy And Why Do People Do It

Updated on August 30, 2011

What Is Bigamy?

Bigamy is the act of being married to more than one person at the same time, without the spouses knowing about each other. A bigamist is the person who commits this. Bigamy typically means being married to two people at the same time, but also refers to two or more. It is different from Polygamy, in which case the spouses know about each other.

Bigamy is a deceptive crime where a person goes through a legally binding marriage ceremony, whilst already being legally married to another. It isn't a common crime, but when it is highlighted in the news, it usually makes for interesting reading.

Baring in mind that you can go to prison for it, why would anyone commit bigamy? It's an interesting question in a day and age where getting divorced is rife. Seems you have to enjoy weddings an have a desire for more than one set of in-laws. Or be a compulsive liar.

The Bigamist With Five Husbands

Many may think that bigamists are only men, but this isn't the case. In the UK news recently has been the story of Emily Horne from the West Midlands, who over the course of 13 years married five different men, without divorcing any of them. Only the first wedding in 1996 was legal and all subsequent marriages were breaking the law.

Five ceremonies, five dresses, five rings, five sets of in-laws, five husbands. Emily Horne claims that she likes "making people happy". Horne got her parents to buy her first wedding dress when she was just twelve years old. It seems that the wedding obsession started early. The first and only legal marriage began in 1996 when she had just turned eighteen. The marriage to the guy she had met at school lasted just five months until she left him.

In 1999 Horne married a bank worker, and in 2000 a web designer. In 2002 she married a train guard. It was he who discovered her past and alerted police. Emily Horne was jailed for six months. You may think that a jail sentence would have deterred her from anymore weddings, or at least led to 4 divorces, but no. In 2007 Horne married again, but this time she confessed to her past as the couple were about to leave for their honeymoon.

This time Emily Horne was not jailed, but received a suspended prison sentence due to personality disorders. She is now said to be considering a vow of chastity and thinking of becoming a nun.

How did she get away with multiple weddings when you have provide identification in order to marry? Simple, she lied. She used different names on marriage certificates and changed her fathers occupation each time so she wouldn't be detected.

A Male Victim Of Bigamy

Reasons Why People Have Committed Bigamy

Bigamy is a strange crime to commit, though there has been examples of why people have chosen the route of bigamy instead of divorce and re-marriage:

  • Some have claimed that divorce was too complicated after a marriage had broken down and so it was easier just to marry again rather than go through the divorce process and re-marry. This should be classed as lazy bigamy.
  • Men have stated that they want to remain with their first wife and family, but instead of having a mistress, want a second wife and family, and spend time living two separate lives. Neither family are aware of the other. This has been found to work best if the man travels for his job to explain constant absences. This is just out and out I'm a bastard bigamy.
  • Then there's the people who do it for the money and leave a trail of debt in their wake. No need to marry someone wealthy then get divorced, just marry a string of average earners and bleed them dry instead. Greedy bigamy.
  • You of course then have the Emily Horne type of bigamy which is all about being an attention seeker and loving the whole idea of weddings and all that goes with them. Being a bride is intoxicating to these women. Wedding obsessed bigamy.
  • My favourite excuse is the kind of bigamy where the person just forgot that they were married in the first place. Or they were drunk and have no recollection of ever getting wed. This should be termed convenient bigamy.

Though not a widespread crime, bigamy is no doubt a devastating experience for the people who are victims of it. It may sound trivial at first, that the crime is simply being married to more than one person at a time, but emotionally, for the people involved especially in an ongoing marriage, it must be hell to know that you have been betrayed like that. Betrayed by the person you love and consider to be your partner, and yours alone as your marriage vows state.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      Little Silver 

      7 years ago


      Can you please tell me the name of the attorney that took your case on bigamy....Thank You

      PS: Or anybody that can tell me the name of an attorney.

      Little Silver

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      i married someone from another country, didn't know he was already married wen we got married. he was here on a student visa and after that he got his ilr and then after 3 years called his 1st wife to the uk and child and since then had another child in the uk. what can i do? can his ilr b revoked because it was all marriage under deception, and also does it make a diff that his had a child in the uk?

      please help me i am broken. i don't know what to do. thinking about ending it all

    • profile image

      mary ambro 

      7 years ago

      I filed for a disolution of marriage after my husband sued me. My attorney advise me that it would be best. When I went to case management conferences all they talked about was my gift money and property that was in both our name and nothing about what he had so i did a people search on my husband and discovered he had married more times than he had said. I went to the clerk of courts in miami-dade and obtained both marriage certificates. My husband knowing he never divorced 1 st wife signed a sworn affidativ claiming someone stole his identity and he never married first wife 60 days after. admissions was requested. He his a pathological lier and bigamist as a result of his lies the judge ordered me to pay his attorney fees

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      My daughter got married in Jan 2008 to a guy in the military. The following month she found out that she was pregnant and that he had married another lady 18 months before. Not only that, he was still married to her and had never been divorced. Once she found out about the 1st wife she realized that he had lied on the Virginia state application, stating that when he married my daughter it was his 1st marriage (which a person if convicted could get up to a 5 year prison sentence (according to the Virginia state marriage application)). My daughter called the justice of the peace that married them, and told him what she found out, he (the justice of the peace) told my daughter to report him to the local police and get an annulment/divorce immediately. When she reported him to the local police, during the conversation they realized that he was in the military; from there they told her that she needed to report him to the military and let them handle it. Once she reported him to the military they got him on other violations but they did not do anything about the bigamy issue. She went back to justice of the peace and told him what happened. He was upset. It ended up taking my daughter several months to find a lawyer that was willing to take her case and help her get annulment/or divorce. My daughters’ annulment was finalized in late 2008. My daughter also found out that he finally got a divorce from the other wife in early 2010. And if that wasn’t enough, she found out several weeks ago this guy is planning to get married again in the state of Virginia sometime in spring 2011. (I would love to know what the justice of the peace that married this guy and my daughter would say about that.)

      This marriage affected my daughter’s life in the way that it made it almost impossible for her to conduct everyday functions in life such her have the proper ID to identify her, getting a job, students loans to continue going to school and finally obtaining health and dental insurance on her own, etc. However, thank God that although this problem missed up a lot of things in my daughters life she was able to find someone to help her get away from this marriage and get her name back.

      I don’t know if this is true or not, but I heard about a person that was finally convicted of bigamy, once they paid there fines and served their time they were barred from ever being able to get married in whatever state they were convicted in. People should be warned some kind of a way about these people that continue to marry more than one person at a time and don’t get divorced.

    • lsy1010 profile image


      8 years ago from China

      Nell, when you first wrote this hub, I was a newbie and hadn't met you yet. When I did, it wasn't at the forefront of your hubs. Today it jumped to the fore from the networking of someone else who discovered it. I was totally blown away by the incredible experience it discribes and your incredible ability to describe it so that it almost felt like being in your shoes - but mostly by your ability to finally set it into perspective and live on. It says so much about you, who you are, what a fantastic person Nell Rose is! You should never feel any "less" or lack. This came to you unbidden, knocked you for a loop and you survived, better and stronger than before. I applaud you!

    • profile image

      one of Dave Calways many,unfortunate wives 

      8 years ago

      My husband married another "woman"-she knew full well,too,in June 2008,he never divorced me.When I followed the law,of Florida and petitioned for temporary support-only then I discovered the curret Bigamy-his defense is that his divorce to his prior wife was not final,by a couple days, when he married me!Like,"Well,your Honour,I can commit bigamy because I committed bigamy".Mr.Calway,you sir, are the very definition of sociopath.7 years of my life,any potential for children or family perm.gone-Bigamy is truly akin to murder.I hope he can explain this to the IRS.P.S.Mr.Calway,03-20-67-has been banned from entering the U.S. and England!Ah,Mexico,how splendid you are

    • dawnM profile image

      Dawn Michael 

      8 years ago from THOUSAND OAKS

      very interesting article, I enjoyed it very much and it was written well.

    • profile image


      8 years ago







    • profile image


      8 years ago

      How many people in the bible were not bigamists?

    • profile image

      sherry Daniel 

      9 years ago

      I am a victim of the Greedy Bigamist type whom I believe with all my heart is a sociopath. I was fairly wealthy so his plan from all we can conclude, was to poison me with heavy metals after he had forged my name to the Life Insurance Policies and made himself beneficiary. He didn't care about my children whom he was planning on putting in the street at my death. These people are dangerous. They are without conscience and extremely good at building a "Pristine Social Persona". They are the "nice people" that no one would believe would do such a thing. You can't tell what they are easily. I get a lot of laughter when I mention Bigamy. It's not funny. There is a great deal of Bigamy in direct contrast to other statements on this page.

      Most people are ashamed like rape victims and will not come forward. Do your own survey of local attorneys and ask how many bigamy cases they deal with in a year. Shocking how many. People just are afraid to talk about it because people treat you like you are stupid and 'how could you let something like that happen to you'. It is a crime that is on the rise in great just goes unreported because your attorney's will tell you the truth....."district attorneys basically NEVER prosecute bigamy". It is viewed as a domestic issue and also is not considered a violent crime so therefore not worthy of the courts time. I have heard it from DA"s own mouths myself...'well,we don't usually mess with a bigamy situation'. So trust me far I have lost 7yrs of my life and have been through unbelievable physical and emotional pain. The worst is finding that other victims of this same criminal hide like cowards and won't come forward to help my case. i have a web site to warn others about this bigamist conman.

      Thank God, I have been able to save one of his next soon to be victims. Her daughter saw my site and told her mother. Apparently the wedding was called off and their family was saved. I was well off and retired at 46yrs old when I met him. Now I am in debt and must work to survive even though I am sick. this woman is still able to take her fancy vacations and is free because I fought back. The only thing is....she won't return my calls and she won't tell the detective anything to help me put this man away. She is just

      selfishly enjoying her salvation and cares nothing for the others who come after her as those of us who stay in everyday and continue to fight to save the others who come behind us. My final point is this... I beg you. If you are a victim of crime... FIGHT BACK. swallow your fear,inconvenience yourself and REMEMBER THOSE WHO COME AFTER YOU. Fight to protest the future victims...not for revenge....fight to be glad that you did the unselfish thing...fight because it's the right thing to do....fight because the criminals are counting on you not fighting and know that people will just give in and let the criminal continue hurting others as long as it's not Them! Don't be as bad as the criminal....Fight for Right...or the CRIMINALS WILL ALWAYS WIN and it's your fault. Don't blame the justice system...I have lived it and researched it and it is the citizens who refuse to get involved and be bothered in anyway that are responsible for the rampant crime in our country. Criminals rejoice at the sound of the names of these selfish and cowardly people and they count on them as they commit each and every crime.

    • pan1974 profile image


      9 years ago from Columbus,Ga

      I wonder how Emily Horne got away with marrying 5 men.How did she have time for them?She must really have a personality disorder.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)