Danielle Lineker on My New Stepfamily

Tuesday 20 July 2010, 12:18

Fiona Wickham Fiona Wickham Editor, TV blog

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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.

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  • 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.

  • rate this

    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.

  • rate this

    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.

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    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.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

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

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    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.

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    Comment number 8.

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

  • rate this

    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.

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    Comment number 10.

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

  • rate this

    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.

  • rate this

    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! :-)

  • rate this

    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'?

  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

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

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    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

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    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.

  • rate this

    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

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    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

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.


    Thanks so much for your advice good luck to you both



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