Strictly star Vincent Simone has spoken of his idyllic new life in the Northern Ireland countryside.The Italian born star of the hit BBC1 show, his wife Susan and sons Luca, seven, and three-year-old Matteo moved into a detached house on an acre and a half of grounds a year ago, looking for a quieter life.
“I’ve never lived in the countryside before,” Vincent tells Hello! “Where I lived in Italy we were surrounded by buildings and the noise of scooters, and the town Susan and I moved from – not far from London – is very bustling and lively. So it has been a real change for me.” Explaining that he was exhausted after travelling constantly for work, both on the show and subsequent tours, he added: “Being able to finally enjoy this house and be here every day for my children – playing with them, painting pictures with them, exploring with them – has been really amazing.”
Vincent Simone with his wife Susan and their children
Susan adds that she needed the extra support that Northern Ireland could provide. “London life is so vibrant and I do sometimes miss that, but I was getting to a stage where I was starting to feel exhausted, being on my own so much with two small children. “I was beginning to suffer from anxiety. It’s not an ideal situation when you have a husband who is on the road touring. My parents are here in Northern Ireland, as are my brothers and sister, and I needed that network around me.”
That support has been ever more important as the couple’s son Matteo is undergoing tests to determine why he has delayed speech and language. “We’ve been down many different avenues, trying to get to the bottom of it,” Susan tells Hello. “Because he’s still so young, the health professionals are reluctant to put a label on it – and it’s not that I want him to be labelled; I just feel that if I understood, I could help him because at the moment I feel helpless. I’ve cried many tears because of the fear of the unknown.” Having speech therapy, however, has seen the little boy start saying the words ‘Daddy’ and ‘Mama’. “A lot of the tests have come back clear, which is reassuring, and I need to take a step back and relax a bit more.”
To read more of the interview, read the next issue of Hello! magazine, out now.