The proud dad chats to us about how strict he with his kids - and how excited he is to become a dad for the fourth time
Hi Pete! There are few men who’d get us out of bed at
this early hour…
See how things have changed – 20 years ago things were different, but now my role is to get people out of bed!
Cheeky! What’s your favourite thing to do with the children when you have downtime?
We’re a bunch of nutters. We dance around the kitchen a lot, cook, play sports outside – I’ve built a football pitch for Junior – or we’re in the pool or hot tub. If we’re not doing all that stuff outside, activities are usually kitchen-based because I love food and the kids love food, so we’re kitchen fanatics.
How do you keep the kids grounded when they know their parents are celebrities?
There are kids that are spoilt, that want for nothing, and that’s one thing, but I don’t like them being brats. It’s important we do certain things around the house, like we all sit around the table and have dinner every night. So when I have Junior and Princess, we all sit around and eat as a family. There’s no TV, no phones… it sounds boring, but actually that’s key family time, because they’d be on their iPads 24/7 if you let them. But if you have moments where they have to socialise, be with the family and talk about their day, they stay grounded and are up to date with reality, as it’s very easy to get carried away and be absorbed in your own world.
Is it hard when they’re away from you? Do you have to switch off to deal with it?
Look, I’m busier than I’ve ever been. I’ve filmed a brand-new series that launches next April and we’re about to start filming another show, so it’s been an incredibly busy year. What happens when I’ve got them is my whole attention is on them. When they’re not with me obviously I still have Amelia, and Emily and I are expecting another, but I’m really focused on my work as well and you don’t have time to think about this and that. When they’re with me, my whole time is devoted to them.
Are you strict with them, or is it Emily who’s the tough one?
The kids at school did a survey among themselves about who’s the strictest parent by far and they decided it was me, but they also said that I’m the most fun, so I must be doing something right! I’m very strict on manners – it’s one of the things I’ve always instilled and will continue to do so because my mum and dad were very much about that. A child with manners goes a long way.
Is Princess allowed to straighten her hair or put on make-up when she’s with you?
I’m strict, but I’m not strict to the point where I don’t let her be a little girl. Kids like to wear a bit of make-up around the house or high heels or whatever, and I understand that’s kids being kids and it’s no different to the amount any other kid would do it. But I’m very strict about other things, like when they’re out and about, and I’m not too keen on social media. I’m very different like that. But I guess that’s not really relevant to this – it’s just more the fact that all round I’m a fair but strict dad. What I’m saying is, my daughter Amelia is two and she goes and raids Emily’s make-up bag and that’s all fine and well and good when it’s at home – it’s just mucking about. But I’m very strict about other things, like I wouldn’t let Amelia go out wearing lipstick. Can I point out this isn’t a dig in any way, it’s just the way I am and it doesn’t mean I’m right – those are just my rules.
On the whole, are you comfortable with
your children being
in the limelight?
I have a different view on this because my kids grew up on reality shows and I think it’s OK to a point. I’m just not a fan of kids being scheduled, you know what I mean? When we did the reality show, it was literally like home videos. It was cameras following you and filming what you’d do. It wasn’t set up, like: ‘Well, kids, you have to be at this point or be here.’ It’s the same when we did magazine photo shoots – it was always fun things, like taking pictures of us on the biggest roller-coaster or with X-Men at Universal [Studios]. What I’m trying to say is, we were capturing what the kids were doing and I’m cool with that and think it’s OK because the kids will grow up and make a decision about what they want to do. But again, I’m quite strict on scheduling things with kids. I know there are a lot of children out there – for example, the Beckham kids – who do campaigns and that’s all well and good, and if that’s what the parents want them to do, fine. But I want mine to stay kids now and when they’re older they can decide what they want to do for themselves.
What jobs do you think they’ll do in the future?
Princess is going to be a nun, obviously – we’ve already taken her to one of the convents and she’s quite happy! Junior, whatever he does, he’s going to protect his sister. I don’t know, they can change their minds 100 times. Princess was telling me the other day she’d like to be a teacher and I’d love her to be one. That would be wonderful.
What’s the best parenting advice you could give?
The best advice I could give anybody is: you put your kids first, you’re a great parent and there’s no set rules.
Are you happy about Princess and Junior working?
Well, it’s like I said. But I’m not going to talk about that as it just ends up being an interview about how I feel about them and I don’t want to do that.
Is Amelia excited about having a baby brother or sister? And how’s Emily finding pregnancy second time round? Everything is good, thanks, and we’re all excited. Emily’s hospital bag is already packed and done – she’s ready to go!
Is she the organised one out the two of you?
A hundred per cent. With things like this she’s Miss Organised. She’s an incredible mum.
But she wasn’t too sympathetic recently when you mistook her eyelash growth serum for
eye drops [Pete posted a snap of
his ‘burning’ eyes, revealing his error, along with Emily’s response: ‘It won’t kill you, get over it’]…
I have to be realistic – I need to grow up a bit here, you know. The bottom line was, is this going to kill you? No, so what’s it going to do? Nothing. Well, get over it then! And in a way that’s funny because if it’s something that is going to kill me, she’ll be the first to take care of it! Basically, she did look after me. She said: ‘You’re so mean telling people I wasn’t sympathetic,’ so I said: ‘Yeah, that’s why everyone loves you because you’re just straight to the point – it’s brilliant.’
Are there times you wish you could switch off from all the press?
If I wanted to, I could go to many countries in the world where people don’t have a clue who I am. But I’m really happy I’m still accepted after all these years by the British public and I tell you, I never take it for granted. I’m not trying to be clever, but what I will say is, I’m so happy people ask me to do campaigns like this npower one, because they must like me as a family man and that means a lot to me as family is everything. I’m just forever grateful and hope it continues.
Finally, this npower campaign is all about superpowers – if you had a superpower, what would it be?
I’d like to be invisible for a day – imagine that. I’d hang out at Buckingham Palace and see what the Queen really watches – does she watch Corrie or is she an EastEnders girl? I’d just want to spend the day with the Queen and obviously she can have her privacy, but I’d just like to be invisible and find out, like, does she read Now magazine?!
Peter’s supporting the npower ‘Superpowers’ campaign to help find the nation’s everyday superpowers. Share yours at one of the roadshows in London, Birmingham, Manchester or Newcastle or enter online. Visit npower.com/superpowers