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Danielle Lineker on My New Stepfamily

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Fiona Wickham Fiona Wickham | 11:18 UK time, Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Lingerie model Danielle Lineker (neé Bux) was a single mother to one small daughter until she married Gary in 2009, and became a stepmother to his four teenage sons - the eldest being only 12 years younger than her.

Danielle talked to me about making the BBC Three documentary, My New Stepfamily, from her car as she picked up her stepsons.

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What did you find most rewarding about doing the programme?

I think what majorly came out of it for me was that everybody has the same worries, once they find themselves in a stepfamily. Everyone has the same thoughts and feelings and goes through the same process it so I wasn't on my own. And it was quite nice to know that.

It takes time for a family to adjust, that was the main thing I learnt. It takes time for everyone to establish their roles within a family.

How long do you think it's taken you in your new family to adjust?

We still are now. Everybody gets on, everything works really well but you know, relationships are still being built and bonds are still being made. We're three years down the line but I'm still learning a lot and getting to know the boys as well.

You came from a stepfamily too didn't you?

I lived with my mum and my stepfather and my two half sisters and one half brother, growing up. I spent a lot of time with my father's mother so I saw my dad and his side of the family a lot, usually at weekends and school holidays. I was quite split really.

You said in the programme that you'd forgotten a lot of what that felt like.

Yes, I left home at 17 and I'm 31 now, so quite a long time ago. You do forget these things - things like packing a bag to go off to my grandmother's for the weekend and then packing another bag to go home and not wanting to go home because I went home to all the things like school and all the rest of it.

Those sort of things I spoke to Lauren about, the 12-year-old girl I spoke to in the film. She had the same anxieties of going from one house to the other and they're the kind of things you forget really. It was fine but there was that upheaval of moving house at the weekends and that's what it felt like sometimes - that I was moving from house to house.

And it was just the upheaval, it wasn't that you were unhappy in either home?

No, it was just packing the bag and sleeping in different beds. I have to say now in my later life, it hasn't done me any harm. I'm quite robust in that I could pack up and move somewhere and really not care as long as I've got Gary and Ella and the kids, I'll happily move anywhere. I think that comes from being a bit of a gypsy as a kid.

I liked the scene where you admitted to your best friend that you picked on your own daughter more than your stepsons, when they were equally at fault.

And my friend agreed! You do single out your own because it's just so easy to go for your own child, it's the easy option really. And that's the reason - I just don't feel it's my place to be telling off someone else's kids. But there's ways of doing it which is something I've learned. I did This Morning today with Denise [Robertson] and she hit the nail on the head. You say it half serious, half joking.

The boys have just got in the car now so they're going to be picking up on all these tips I'm giving you! (laughing) They'll be like, agh, she's only joking, she's not really telling us off!

Like I say in the film, it's like being a big sister really rather than a parental figure. Because they've got that, they don't need somebody else.

Danielle Lineker holds paper cut outs of children

Did your daughter ever say to you, you're not being fair because you're telling me off and not the boys?

Yes, on occasion. But I think she's quite sensitive to the fact that she's mine and I can tell her off whereas you know, with the boys, I don't feel I can sometimes. I think she kind of knows, she picks up on that.

Do you think it took longer to feel comfortable with your stepsons because they are four teenage boys and you were working as a lingerie model?

I've got three teenage brothers so I kind of know what teenage boys are like. And at the end of the day I honestly don't think they really see me as a model. I think they just see me as their stepmum, the person who does their dinner and picks up their dirty socks. Like they don't see their dad as a TV presenter. You just don't do you, look at your dad that way?

And you never think of yourself in that light either so it's not something I ever thought about. They just take me on face value really. From the outside, yes, to the rest of the world it can look like that but when you're in your own situation, it's just not.

Do you feel the programme helped you mature into the role of a stepmum, with a bit more confidence?

Yes, I think what helped me was meeting other kids, and them being brutally honest with me on the way I should handle it. What was most useful to me was meeting the three Fox boys, because they're all teenage boys and they gave it to me straight whereas I couldn't speak to my own stepkids like that because they don't want to upset me or hurt my feelings particularly.

So speaking to them was like getting the word on the street really (laughing) and realising that maybe I am a bit out of touch with what's going on. I think I'm young because I'm 31 but God! Especially on the programme when I met Lisa from the magazine, that made me feel really old! She was using words I'd never heard of. So it was good to keep in tune with what's going on.

I felt this subject isn't talked about very much and when it is, it's in quite a negative light. We always hear stories about when it hasn't worked out. And like I've said, the Royal Family are a stepfamily now so we need to be talking about it.

Fiona Wickham is the editor of the BBC TV blog.

Danielle Lineker: My New Stepfamily is on at 9pm on Tuesday, 20 June on BBC Three. The programme is part of BBC Three's Adult Season and is available on iPlayer until Tuesday, 27 July.

As part of Adult Season, BBC Three is asking you to share your stories on what it means to be an adult on the BBC Three blog. Reggie Yates, Kirsten O'Brien, and Stacey Dooley have contributed videos with their thoughts on adulthood.


  • Comment number 1.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 2.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 3.

    Who cares that a lingerie model is now an ex-footballers wife and as a result, a stepmother? I am surprised that the BBC was not able to find a more appropriate adult to tell the same story. Did the programme makers really think that step families will feel better knowing that their own experiences are being shared by a so-called celebrity? I'm thankful that the licence fee is on the brink of being reduced, maybe the BBC will spend the fees more wisely in future.

  • Comment number 4.

    I wonder why you did this programme as most stepmums would not have the opportunity to do this? You don't need the money so number 2s comments may be premature. I hope your reasons are adequatley covered in the programme and that they are valid - otherwise people may think you have nothing else to do.

  • Comment number 5.

    I wonder how the first Mrs Lineker feels about this programme? Did Gary or Danielle spare a thought for her when they signed up for this? It's disappointing, but perhaps unsurprising, that, given the upheaval and distress their relationship must has caused the original family, Gary and Danielle haven't chosen to remain in diginified silence.

  • Comment number 6.

    You know you've got too much airtime to fill on too many TV channels when this nonsense is being broadcast.

  • Comment number 7.

    This program is targeted at younger audiences hence using a celebrity (definition of celebrity still on-going but public eye definitely) who most young children may aspire to be in the future (she is a model in her own right) will get the message across better. Often 'celebrity' is someone which people of all ages aspire to and to see these 'celebrities' going through similar pains as say the person on the street, it can help make you realise that there are other people going through this.

    If this program was made with a non-celebrity then it would be on BBC2 and not targeted at younger audiences. This program should raise issues and awareness for young children and mothers/fathers going through similar hardship and hopefully help a few through the pain.

    It does bore me to death about the way the licence fee is spent. The licence fee is paid for by everyone so should be spent to cover as many many different areas (similar to how taxation and NI is spent). Not everyone is going to agree with everything the BBC makes.

    Point 5 - dignified silence - therefore we shouldn't talk about this or any other subject in the future? Break-ups are sometimes mutual and equal in blame.

  • Comment number 8.

    Why on Earth has this been given space on the BBC Sport Homepage?! Ridiculous!!

  • Comment number 9.

    Rubbish. A total irrelevance of programming and the sort of thing that should be cut back on in the future. Just what is the point of BBC3 exactly?

    I heartily agree with Jayjobee's comments at number 5.

  • Comment number 10.

    Reduce the license fee by cutting the cr*p...

  • Comment number 11.

    A message for the BBC:

    You are the best of the best media corporations. Yes you are.

    But just because 'everyone else is doing it' does not mean you have to broadcast ... things like this. Do not demean yourselves, you are the last brilliant old hope before the sensationalisation of all media resorts to judgement, opinion pieces and advertising as the bulk of their content.

  • Comment number 12.

    Being part of a step-family myself i found this programme really interesting and think Danielle did a very good job, given that this is about her fitting into a family and was insightful to see the step-parent's point of view as well as the children's. It was also nice to see the feelings i have are shared by other children/young adults.

    i also found it quite interesting to see a side of her which has not been shown...

    everyone is entitled to their opinion of course, but if you dont like it - quite simply switch over! :-)

  • Comment number 13.

    How do you know that their relationship caused distress to the original family? Gary and his first wife got divorced in August 2006 and Gary and Danielle met in September 2007. Why a 'dignified silence'?

  • Comment number 14.

    that's an hour of my life I'll never get back! And we're paying for that. Rubbish

  • Comment number 15.

    Just watched Danielle programe on step families. Was very impressed with her and her attitude towards the topic. I come from a broken family and have recently split from my partner of 10 years and have a 5 year old son and wonder what effects it will have on him if ever me or his dad get new partners. Enjoyed the programme. Saw a totally different side to her which was nice to see. Well impressed. Well done to her and good luck with the Boys x

  • Comment number 16.

    I think Danielle moreless said at one point that George might fancy. Though what if george told his dad that he had feelings for her what would Gary do?

  • Comment number 17.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 18.

    Thank you so much ten minutes after your programme finished I recieved a call from my ex and we discussed this issues regarding our only daughter aged 11, she has been a star in our seperation but we both have been concerned she will not discuss the issues- she is fabulously loyal to both of us but is the child that spilts her week between two parents who both have moved on in relationships. She was really concerned that I was in a new relationship and felt disloyal to her dad because she had a good relationship with my new partner - my ex said one night she called him by my ex's name by mistake and was mortified- he explained it was fine but introduced her to his new girlfriend and I was unware of this but she couldn't tell me -
    We have thanks to your programme realised who is the most important person and who needs are priorty.

    Thank you for helping my lovely daughter and wish you very well with your new family

    Maria Hughes

  • Comment number 19.


    Thank you so much, you have really helped my daughter you will never know how much.

    Good luck to you and Garry we wish you much happiness

    Maria Hughes

  • Comment number 20.


    Thanks so much for your advice good luck to you both


  • Comment number 21.

    Thanks so much well done to you - help invaluable

    you should be family advisor

    Maria Hughes

  • Comment number 22.

    Have tried to make three comments on this blog whats going on you ar Fab

  • Comment number 23.

    Thanks very much well done


  • Comment number 24.

    I once saw this woman where I used to work. She looked absolutely stunning that time, only after she'd left though my colleagues were going on more about who she was with rather than her. I honestly did not notice Gary Lineker with her, I mean I did somewhat notice she was with a grey-haired man but my attention was fixed more on her. I would have liked to meet Lineker but oh well I suppose he didn't stand out enough.

  • Comment number 25.

    I have to say that when i read in the national news papers some time ago that Gary Lineka like most celebrities had met a younger women,especially a model i thought straight away completely typical of men of his era,however i have to say after watching the stepmother programme what a lovely lady she is and how i admire her for trying to make a family life for Garys`children and her own daughter,it just goes to show that not all celebs are not so false and love themselves as so many as them seem to,after all they are all normal human beings,its just a shame that most of them seem to forget where they actually originate from,thankfully it hasnt gone to Danielles head.

  • Comment number 26.

    In a similar blog yesterday on the bbc website, i said its time the licence fee is slashed immediately, and thankfully, fellow readers are supporting this argument. What a waste of our money on such frivolous articles which are of no benefit other to make busy those workers in the bbc who have no meaningfull jobs. Someone form bbc sport should explain how this is relevant news for a sports page. There is bbc3 and entertainment news, so how come this is ot published there?
    I really do hope the government really keeps to its promise by slashing the licence fee, then maybe the management of the bbc will think harder of the requirments of bbc to the public which pays for its budget

  • Comment number 27.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 28.

    This is NOT A sport related article please keep some sort of order to the website.

    We as public contributors are asked to keep 'on topic' so why not you?

    If I want this sort of thing I would look at the GMTV or Ch5 Jeremy Kyle website.

    Thank you

  • Comment number 29.

    Time was when you had to be an A-list celebrity to have a programme like this made about you. More recently, washed-up or minor celebrities started to get this attention. Now, it seems, provided you're in, or have been in a relationship with a celebrity then your life is instantly riveting entertainment. I once met Mike Flower from Mike Flowers Pops; how long before I can get my own show?

  • Comment number 30.

    Who cares about these people and their lives, they get enough nonsense attention as it is

    Please stop being 'celebrity establishment`, c`mon BBC you need to do much better than this

  • Comment number 31.

    May I most humbly inquire BBC as to why the video is not available for Pakistani viewers? It's saying: "Not available in your area"

  • Comment number 32.

    Seriously Beeb, you really need to stop making this cheap 'celebrity' garbage or your case for the licence fee gets thinner as each day goes by. I implore you as a company to wake up before it's too late.

    And who's idea was it to originally put this on the sports page? Utterly baffling.

  • Comment number 33.

    Well, looking at the above posts - what a dreary bunch of complainers most of them are! This was a perfectly valid programme to make, useful and interesting to thousands of families in the same situation. It was much more than "celebrity gossip" - it was educational for new step-parents, and that's all the justification it needs.
    The BBC receives our money so it has to make programmes to suit ALL tastes, on a huge range of subjects. You know full well that you will continue watching the Beeb, when it suits you - so why bother to threaten never to watch again!? The licence fee is a piddling small amount to pay for good public broadcasting with no adverts... ask any American how much they would like TV without ads!

  • Comment number 34.

    I found this really interesting as it helped me address the problems i have had coping with my parents separation, and to be truthful i dont think i ever have. My mother spent most of my life bitching about how my dad never wanted us at his wedding and blatantly saying he didnt want us but would shot us over to his every weekend without fail. It showed the history does repeat itself as she was also from a divorced family and her mother did exactly the same thing and would tell her about all the affairs my grandad had.
    Recently i fell out with my dad and refused to talk to him because of all of the things my mam said about him, it seems she may have finally got her way as she hated us liking my dad at all but would still make us go every weekend so she could spend time with another one of her boyfriends that would no doubt end up in a failed relationship.
    To say that divorce does not affect you is a lie, i think it will always affect me but thats because of the way my parents handled it. Thanks to them both i have to adjust to the fact that i will never be able to have a steady relationship.
    My step-mother was a really horrible person but my dad put that down to her not being maternal and she was really posh, a total bitch at times if you ask me. The weekends we spent there was tidying her house so she could smoke away and do nothing while we entertained her son aswell.
    My dad has now moved onto would could be his second wife, the neighbour, yes that is more acqaurd than it was meeting my stepmother.
    My mother is as barbarric as ever and has been since engaged twice since the divorce of my father and is now with her current boyfriend. She could give any bad parent a run for their money as at 19 she cant wait for me to move out, well, then again at 15 she wanted me to get pregnant and move out. It is undecidable who is worse out of my mother and father.
    Im one of 5 kids, i have my two brothers, a half brother and a half sister and also a stepbrother, who may not be a stepbrother for much longer when my dad divorces my stepbrother and no doubtedly i gained 2 step sisters and a step brother and the neighbour as a stepmother.
    I spent most of my childhood crying for my dad, getting kicked out to my dads thanks to my mother and then her acting like she was mother teresa. Yes because mother teresa had no electric in the house because she spent it in petrol money going to see her boyfriend.

  • Comment number 35.

    Geoff, finally someone talks sense! I think you might be my hero! We're similar: I too prefer to take my cues on how to live my life from someone who typifies society as a whole like, say, an young underwear model married to an ageing, multimillionaire ex-footballer. I mean, would you rather listen to GARY LINEKER'S second wife or (God forbid) a few unremarkable, anonymous families and a family counsellor or two. BORING! How are they going to teach me anything if they aren't even famous?!1

    And, while I'm at it, the celebrity angle had nothing to do with it! I heard the Lineker family were pulled randomly out of a hat; it definitely had nothing to do with the possibility of the entire readership of every gossip magazine currently published tuning in regardless of whether they were step-parents/children or not.

    Reminds me of all the times I've heard 'Cynical Cedrics' whine on endlessly about the likes of Katie Price's and Kerry Katona's shows, but if it hadn't have been for them I'd know next to nothing about the intricacies glamour modelling or the very early history (read: before they worth putting on TV) of luminary pop band Atomic Kitten. Its educational, so get over yourselves you moaning bunch!!!1

  • Comment number 36.

    Blood_Meridian: excellent use of sarcasm - I too majored in sarcasm until I was 13. Fact is, the celebrity angle *was* important to this programme - it did attract a larger audience - but there is nothing wrong with that. The Linekers are celebrities not just because of their looks, but because they are basically ordinary people who have been successful through their work - and who also happen to be eloquent and talk some sense. I would never choose to watch Katie Price because I don't rate her intelligence very highly (from the little I know of her). And no - I wouldn't have tuned in to watch some unremarkable families with their family counsellor; that probably would have bored me. It IS interesting to see someone you feel you know, trying to cope with the gritty non-glamorous problems of life. If the BBC followed your counsel - TV would be ever so educational, ever so dull and ever so unwatched.

  • Comment number 37.

    I commissioned the Danielle Lineker: My New Stepfamily documentary, because I was interested in the fact that someone with first hand experience of stepfamilies and who was in the public realm wanted to explore this issue – many celebrities would have shied away from this emotionally sensitive subject matter.

    Someone like Danielle is often the right person to lead a programme like this because they can draw from their own experience., and I think that’s what this programme showed. She is very frank about her strengths and weakness as a stepmum and that openness is engaging. So I’ve been reading with interest the wide range of views on the programme. Some of you have applauded the channel for shining a light on the serious issue of stepfamilies, but some of you are critical that the programme used a celebrity to front it.

    The programme is part of BBC Three Adult season, which includes a number of documentaries about the big social issues that face young people. Not all of the programmes are celebrity fronted. Under Age and Pregnant, for example, was watched by nearly a million viewers last night, and featured ordinary young people telling their stories. The Blind Me, Small Teen Big World and Alice and Her Six Dads look at young people exploring issues that affect their everyday lives, like disability and family life.

    We're trying to tackle the big social issues that face young people in their everyday lives as part of the adult season - whether it is mental health, teen pregnancy or family breakdown. Sometimes we use celebrities and sometimes we don't - we do what’s best for the show and what’s best for young people.

  • Comment number 38.

    What a lot of dross, wrapped up in "social issue" cover. Cheap, tacky programme made on a budget. Gary Linekar is not a foolish twenty something, he should be older and wiser. I have seen Danielle crop up recently on tv, is this a ploy to introduce herself on tv and gain work? I cringe for the first Mrs LInekar who has kept a dignified silence.

  • Comment number 39.

    I believe that any programme that raises issues that effect many thousands of people in the UK can only be a positive step.

    So many families are now 'blended' and so lots of adults are becoming step parents. There is no 'manual' of how to cope with other peoples children and many, many people struggle with this. This results in unhappy step parents, unhappy second families and probably most importantly - unhappy children, being effect by circumstances they didn't choose.

    Regardless of whether she is an ex-underwear model, or footballers wife, what the presenter of this programme did, was bring issues in to the public eye. Highlighting, that step family dynamics CAN BE difficult to manage. This may have touched many step parents watching. I imagine they may have thought "I'm not the only one who struggles with this".

    Rather than making judgements on the presenter - I can see real value in airing this programme that effects so many of us in the UK today.

  • Comment number 40.

    I will never understand the need (fame or not) that makes anyone feel it necessary to film their life experiences - I'm a step child, came home after a night out to watch any crap and found this - thank god I'm old enough to know better than this...

  • Comment number 41.

    I hope Danielle Lineker does not fall in the trap of being her stepsons friend, because she is not. I understand that she doesn't want her stepsons to dislike her. She will never be their mum, and they will never see her as if she was, but she has to gain their respect. For this, she must not let her stepsons walk all over her, just on the ground that she is not their mum. She does not have to be a nasty fairy-tale step-mother, but she does have to set boundaries.
    The show raised 2 matters: not only divorce and remarriage, but also the big age gap between husband and new wife, and the small age gap between stepmum and stepsons. This is absolutely not unsual, I know quite a few women in the same case. One of them even has a step-daughter who is older than herself. It might make it more difficult to be strict and have credibility but you must not fall in the trap of being friends, at the expense of not being properly respected.


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