Mark Morriss, frontman of Britpop band the Bluetones, has been accused of physical and emotional abuse by his ex-wife, Anna Wharton.
In an essay published on Substack, Wharton said that Morriss was abusive to her on more than one occasion. She said police had previously visited the household but that Morriss told them she was lying about her allegations. He was “finally” cautioned for “throttling” her when she showed police a photograph that appeared to show eight finger markings around her neck.
“What a thing you should have to think of straight after an act of violence like that, but otherwise I would never have been believed,” she wrote. She said she had sought support from a domestic abuse charity.
Morriss told the Guardian: “I may have been thoughtless and selfish in some of the dealings in my personal life of late, but these allegations of abuse and gaslighting are wholly untrue, and I refute them completely.”
He added that his personal life had “certainly gotten into a hell of a tangle, people have undoubtedly been hurt because of me” and that “in many ways, all this coming to light is a great relief”.
He said: “I am sincerely sorry for everything to anyone caught up here.”
Wharton said she met Morriss in August 2011. He allegedly wanted to have a child but told her to have an abortion when she became pregnant. She continued the pregnancy, during which she heard of another woman who had recently been in a relationship with Morriss. He had told this woman that Wharton had shown up six months pregnant saying he was the father, she claims.
Wharton said that his “constant cheating” meant their relationship was always on and off. She said that his infidelities often took place with fans – including one six weeks after their marriage – to whom he repeated the line about being tricked into fatherhood. When she attempted to address his cheating, she said he told her: “You knew what my job was when you met me.”
She described Morriss as a “tyrant” who frequently checked their house “to catch me out”, including accusing her of lying about cleaning. “It got to the point where I would polish the back of the front door so he’d smell the scent before he crossed the threshold,” she wrote. “But cleaning wasn’t the point, control was.”
Wharton accused Morriss of “telling people that I am crazy, and lying about me”, “gaslighting women to believe what he wanted them to, convincing them not to put the dots together and realise what a narcissistic, pathological liar and serial predator he is”. She claimed that he also told his mother that she tricked him into the pregnancy and lied that she was bipolar.
Wharton wrote of her shame at rekindling the relationship with Morriss last year. She and their now nine-year-old daughter lived in a separate house to him. When they visited one morning in June 2020, she said that he was “forced to confess he had another woman in his bed”.
Hours earlier, she wrote, he had sent her a text message saying that Wharton’s suspicion that he was cheating “absolutely destroys me” and that “I don’t want anybody else”.
She says she subsequently discovered that Morriss appeared to have been living a double life, carrying on intimate relationships with two other women, both single mothers, during 2020. The two women found each other, and subsequently Wharton.
Morriss told the Guardian that the last 18 months “undoubtedly had an adverse effect” on his mental health and decision-making. “But the last thing I wanted to do was hurt people who have been kind to me during this difficulty.”
He said he had a “very strong and healthy co-parenting relationship” with the mother of his son – whom he did not identify – and wished for the same in his relationship with Wharton and their daughter. He expressed regret that the matter becoming public could negatively affect the lives of the children involved.
The musician the Anchoress, AKA Catherine Anne Davies, said she would be severing her collaboration with the group the Helicopter of the Holy Ghost, of which Morriss is a member, after she provided vocals on their 2021 single A Little Longer.
Davies said she had never met Morriss “but I certainly don’t want to be involved in anything that perpetuates the power and status that has allowed these things to happen”.
Morriss, 50, was born in Hounslow, Middlesex. The Bluetones formed in 1993, releasing singles on Fierce Panda Records before signing to A&M Records and reaching No 1 with their debut album, Expecting to Fly, released in 1996. The follow-up, Return to the Last Chance Saloon, reached No 10 in the UK albums chart.
Releasing three more albums – the last, A New Athens, in 2010 – the band have remained active on the UK touring circuit. They parted ways in 2011, but re-formed for a Britpop-themed tour in 2017. Morriss has released four solo albums and is a member of comedian and jazz musician Matt Berry’s live band, the Maypoles.