A widower who found love eight months after his late wife’s death insists that she would be happy for him.
Jake Coates, 33, from Monmouth, Wales met his childhood sweetheart Emmy Collett when he they were both 11-years-old and married in September 2016 as she battled thyroid cancer.
And just eight months later he started a new relationship with events co-ordinator Jenna Selby prompting a mixed reaction from both his Instagram followers and Emmy’s family.
Emmy’s sister Sophie Collett was particularly upset with the news claiming her sister would be ‘devastated’.
However, former doctor Jake has spoken for the first time since he got together with Jenna claiming his late wife wanted him to find love.
Speaking to the Mirror Jake said: ‘Emmy wanted me to be happy. She wanted me to meet someone, she told me that.’
Jake Coates who lost his childhood sweetheart Emmy to cancer last summer found love with Jenna Selby (pictured together) eight months later
Jake insists that his late wife Emmy (pictured together) wanted him to find someone
The artist said that he also felt ‘let down’ by Emmy’s family.
He continued: ‘I will never personally say anything against Emmy’s family but I did feel let down.
‘I think if I had come out and said I had a girlfriend then, now or even a year from now, it would have been a hard pill for some people to swallow.’
Just hours after the new interview was published Sophie took to Instagram once more appearing to respond to Jake’s claims in a cryptic post.
She shared an image of a quote which read: ‘A narcissist paints a picture of themselves as being the victim or innocent in all aspects.
‘They will be offended by the truth. But what is done in the dark will come to light. Time has a way of showing people’s true colours.’
Captioning the image she paid tribute to her late sister writing: ‘True colours always shine through….more so each day.
‘Just like yours did @emmycoates_16 however in complete contrast yours did in the most spectacular, kind, loving, inspiring, selfless and beautiful way, always with the utmost grace, poise and consideration for those around you.
‘No matter what happens nothing can ever dull your sparkle or detract from you and all that you are. Love you more always xxxx’
After announcing their relationship back in February Emmy’s sister claimed that she would have been ‘devastated’
Responding to the news of the relationship Sophie (pictured with her late sister) said that she was ‘at a loss for words at the insensitivity of it’
Jake first revealed his new relationship when he shared this photograph of Jenna on his Instagram account ahead of a trip to Iceland in February captioning it ‘Who’s a lucky boy then?! escaping again – this time for a few days of R&R and a little bit of marathon training to the end of the world with this gorgeous little ragamuffin!’
Hours after Jake’s interview defending his new relationship was published Sophie took to Instagram once more where she shared this cryptic post about narcissists
Captioning the image Sophie paid tribute to her sister writing that nothing could ever ‘detract from’ her
Jake revealed his new relationship via Instagram in February where he described Jenna, who shares the same brown hair and green eyes as his late wife and bears an uncanny resemblance to Emmy as his ‘gorgeous little ragamuffin’, but the post provoked a mixed reaction from followers.
Some insisted they were delighted to see him find happiness again, but one commenter who said that Emmy would ‘want him to be happy’ prompted a heated response from her sister.
Sophie Collett replied that she was ‘at a loss for words at the insensitivity of it’.
‘I can assure you this would break her heart and leave her devastated as it has for so many of us,’ she said.
Jake’s followers on Instagram had a mixed reaction to the news he was in a new relationship
The widower responded to comments thanking people who had wished him well and claiming negative comments came from those who didn’t ‘know or understand’ him
Emmy (pictured during treatment) died from thyroid cancer at the age of 31. Before she passed away her eggs were harvested and fertilised with Jake’s sperm and he later revealed plans for a surrogate to carry their baby
The happy couple on their wedding day. Emmy didn’t know how long she had to live when they walked down the aisle
‘She would never have conducted herself in this way. This post and the way it has all been done is the opposite of what she stood for and the way she chose to live her life-being kind to others and being selfless.’
Jake did not reply to directly on Sophie’s comments, but thanked followers for ‘lovely positive words’.
He admitted he’d deleted negative comments as he doesn’t have ‘space’ in his life for them and that people who have written them don’t know what he’s been through.
‘I’m just doing the best I can each day and doing everything I can to be happy,’ he explained.
Jake (pictured with Jenna) said that he felt ‘let down’ by the comments he received from Emmy’s family
Jenna regularly shares snaps of herself and her boyfriend on her Instagram account
New girlfriend Jenna, a mother-of-one, worked in events, marketing and communications for brands such as LVMH and HSBC before opening her own creative consultancy, arranging events and experiences.
Jake met his childhood sweetheart Emmy Collett when he they were both 11 years old but the pair drifted apart for university.
In 2015 they overjoyed when they got back together, despite Mr Coates working as a doctor in Sydney and Ms Collett as a teacher in London.
They used to speak to each other on FaceTime every day and travelled back and forth across the world to maintain their relationship.
But within six months of them getting back together, the couple received the devastating news weeks that Emmy had cancer after a holiday to the Philippines.
Mr Coates posted this emotional tribute to his late wife exactly one year on from their wedding day
Jake described his late wife as ‘My co-captain on my bike. My best friend. My lobster. My wife. And truly my hero’
Ms Collett, from Luckington, Wiltshire, who had been plagued with symptoms such as diarrhoea, tiredness and enlarged lymph nodes, was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer.
He immediately flew back to the UK to be by her side and proposed just weeks later.
Just as the pair were due to go on holiday, Emmy was told cancer had already spread to her spine, lungs, liver and bones – and she could never give birth.
She was taken to the Royal Marsden Hospital and was told she could have made a full recovery if the disease had been diagnosed earlier.
Writing on her blog, Emmy explained: ‘It was explained to us that my longstanding bowel problems were due to the extremely high level of the hormone, calcitonin, secreted from the cancer cells.
Before her death, Emmy started raising funds for the Royal Marsden Cancer Charity and she and Jake went on a 2,000km tandem bike ride from London to Copenhagen
‘I was needing to empty my bowel every 15 minutes day and night which was having a severe impact on my quality of life including extreme fatigue, a fissured and blistered anus, weight loss and erratic menstruation.’
After her death in June 2017, her grieving husband revealed his plans for a surrogate to carry the baby Emmy longed for, using frozen embryos created before she passed away and to run 10 marathons to raise funds in her memory.
Ms Collett spoke to MailOnline last year and said: ‘My ‘school girl crush’ on Jake started almost 20 years ago when we were just 11 years old.
‘We quickly became ‘childhood sweethearts’ and at 13 he told me that I was ‘his lobster’.
‘When we were 16 we finally sought the courage to fully admit our feelings for each other and we dated for three years.
‘Although at university we went our separate ways, we remained close, but it took until October last year, after 10 long years, to rekindle our romance.’
Mr Coates confirmed the heartbreaking news on his Facebook page in June 2017.
He wrote: ‘I feel utterly lost and empty without her. I can’t look to the passenger seat whilst driving the car without the deepest ache spreading across my chest.
‘And there isn’t a moment that passes when I don’t miss her.
‘She was my north, my south, my east, my west. The reason I wanted to wake up every morning and be a better person.
‘My co-captain on my bike. My best friend. My lobster. My wife. And truly my hero.’