Gogglebox stars Steph and Dom Parker have a strong relationship, but have now revealed the testing time that they’ve been through in their 20-year marriage.
The TV-loving pair revealed to the Daily Mail that health problems have played a huge part in their time together, including problems with Steph’s spine, as well as having a severely disabled son together.
Their son, Max, has severe epilepsy and is autistic with a mental age of six, and lives in a special care facility.
Steph reveals that making the decision for Max to live away from home so that he has the best care possible was “hard”.
She said: “Letting go of him and letting someone else look after him during term time was the hardest thing for me. I think any mother would be the same.
“[But] you have to be practical. If I had let my emotions spill over, I would have been a basket case.
“You have got to grow another layer of skin. You have to get up in the morning and put your armour on. We cope together and it has made us stronger as a couple.”
She also reveals that the couple have come to terms with the fact that Max may not live into old age – but that they are “grateful” to have had him in their lives in the first place.
Steph and Dom on Lets Sing and Dance for Comic Relief (Image: BBC)
She revealed: “It is likely that one day he will have a seizure and not come out of it. He has about 100 seizures a day.
“I don’t think he will make old bones, put it that way. We are fairly prepared for that and grateful he is still with us.”
While running their famous B&B together – which the couple have now passed on to a management company to run, while they live in a nearby cottage and in west London – the pair also had to cope when Steph became unwell with a spine complaint six years ago.
She had to have two operations on her spine, removing a damaged disc and having stabilising supports inserted, and Dom was her nurse at this time.
Steph and Dom with beloved dog Gigi (Image: PA)
Now that she’s well again, Dom says: “Look at her, fit as a fiddle.”
The pair reveal that it’s the problems they’ve overcome together which have strengthened their partnership.
And Steph reveals that the best way to cope with the bad times? “Laughter, laughter and a bit more laughter.”