Danielle Lineker on My New Stepfamily
Editor, BBC TV blog
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.
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.
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.
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.