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Take That's Mark Owen owns up to string of affairs

Take That star Mark Owen said he was "deeply sorry" today after admitting a string of affairs behind his wife's back.

The 38-year-old singer acknowledged the "pain" he had caused to his wife and friends through his flings with as many as 10 women.

Owen, who won Celebrity Big Brother in 2002, is known for his boyish charm but has often been seen as a "squeaky clean" member of the reunited group.

Owen and his wife Emma, who have two children, married only last October but have been an item for five years.

But in a confession to The Sun newspaper, the chart star said he had seen a number of women over the years during his relationship.

One of the affairs, with accounts manager Neva Hanley, went on for more than four years and Owen revealed they spent their final night together in a London hotel only a month before his marriage.

In a statement today, Owen apologised and asked to be left alone to work through his problems.

He said: "I'm so deeply sorry for the pain my actions have caused my family and friends. I'd like to ask the media to please respect the privacy of my wife and children during this difficult time."

A spokesman for the star said there would be "no further comment".

In an interview with The Sun, Owen admitted he had been "an idiot" and said: "It's about me, my mistakes. Nobody else is to blame."

Owen said most of his flings had been one-night stands and he estimated he had cheated with 10 women. The rest of the group are said to have known nothing about his long-term fling with Ms Hanley, whom he met at Preston railway station.

He said he sent her cheques totalling £12,000 in the past year to help her financially.

The star, who sings lead vocals on a number of the group's hits, including Babe and Shine, said he had been living with the guilt for years. He wished he had confessed all before the marriage.

Owen said the one-off flings were due to his drinking, but he has now stopped and has been faithful since he and Emma were married.

"On many levels it was a fresh start and that was how I was looking at it," he said in the interview.

Oldham-born Owen has a three-year-old son Elwood and daughter Willow Rose, who is one.

He broke the news of his infidelity to his wife at their London home yesterday.

He said his confession would help them to move on, and he wanted to be with his wife "for life".

"It's going to do good in the long run. It's for the best, this," he said.

© Press Association