Paddy McGuinness has opened up about the difficulties of bringing up children with autism.
The TV presenter and his wife Christine share four-year-old twins Penelope and Leo, as well as two-year-old daughter Felicity, who is also showing signs of the condition.
And during an emotional interview, Paddy broke down as he revealed family life can be tough as the parents – who have been married for seven years – “can’t do normal things as a couple”.
Speaking on John Bishop: In Conversation With, the 44-year-old admitted: “It’s very, very, very, very difficult, you know any parent with children with any kind of special needs is very difficult.
“Some days it’s a wonder how we’re still together, me and Christine, because you can’t sort of do the normal things that you would as a couple.
“I can count on one hand the amount of times we’ve been on a night out together, because you can’t just have a babysitter. You can’t just say ‘I’ll drop ’em off at me relatives to look after’ because it’s not like that.”
The Take Me Out host then praised his wife for caring for their kids while he works, adding that she was ‘better’ with the twins.
“I think women with children are better than men”, he continued. “This is only my opinion. Might be ’cos me Mum brought me up. I think maternally, they just take to being a parent quicker than men.
“And when the kids were born, I had that strange working-class mentality of these kids are here now, I’ve gotta provide for ’em. Christine wouldn’t leave them kids… she wants to be with them morning and night. ”
Paddy – who plans to launch a TV series on life as a father of autistic children – then wiped away tears and added: “I feel for parents who don’t have help or some days it feels like you’re drowning and you can never get to the top. It can consume you because you don’t see an end to it.
“I just want people to feel like they’re not alone in it. I think about parents, especially single parents with children with autism, like how the bloody hell do they cope? ‘Cos me and Christine are always on the on the edge, you know, of having our own breakdown because of things we deal with all the time.”
Taking to Instagram, the 30-year-old wrote: “My babies are growing up so fast! This time last year I was fighting for the twins EHCP so they would get extra support at school. I still hadn’t decided on where to send them and I wasn’t feeling confident they were even ready to go.
“They have surprised me so much and made me proud every day. My superstars are shining brighter than ever. ❤❤❤ “