Ben Shephard has given a very honest account about his time in lockdown with his wife Annie and their two sons Jack, 14, and Sam, 13. During a recent chat with Nihal Arthanayake on BBC Radio 5 Live, the Good Morning Britain host confessed he had felt a "sense of guilt" for relishing every moment he has had with his loved ones amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He said: "In amongst this horrific virus that is ripping families apart, when it all started in the first few weeks there was a sense of guilt because there was a special moment when you thought, 'how often do we get to have everybody at home, there's an easing of pressure with work commitments, the weather is lovely.'"
Ben Shephard and his wife Annie share two sons
"There was a sense that we were going to get to know each other in a way that we hadn't for a long time," the doting dad added. "Then, when they extended the lockdown and the following week, all four of us had moments. It gets very hard, you can't remember what day it is, you get lost amongst the time of the day. For us, as soon as you start losing that pattern, it felt like this wasn't going to end. I certainly started struggling. We all had to sit down and talk about that and talk about how we were feeling and be really honest that we were relying on each other as well."
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Ben, 45, also explained how there has been tension in the house with his teenage sons. "Jack is much smaller, but he is the emotional one and the one who will explode," he said. "Sam is a lot more gentle. Often, if there's anything physical, it will come from Jack. They're good mates and they’re pretty different." He continued: "Having boys is like having dogs. You just need to run them every day. If they're stuck inside every day, the built-up energy is extraordinary. As long as they feel like they've been able to exercise, then I'm very content with how that comes about."
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Despite enjoying their daily exercise routine, his sons have been missing their friends. "Sam (used to) go on huge bike rides and go back to one of their houses and play Fortnight or FIFA," shared Ben. "That's hugely missed for him. He was really starting to enjoy that independence. Suddenly to be inside and to have me and his mum saying, 'what are you going to do now? Are you gonna do this, are you gonna do that?' It can very quickly get very frustrating."
The couple tied the knot back in 2004
However, during these uncertain times, Ben revealed how he is bonding with his children now more than ever. "There's a moment just before bed that's brilliant – going up and saying goodnight and just having a chat," he said. "I know they talk to their mum more than they talk to me, which is brilliant – I know that they have that relationship. Sam and I have been going on runs together – that’s been a fantastic way for the two of us to talk about how he's feeling.
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"Jack's introduced me to Call of Duty. He gets the most amazing sense of satisfaction and hilarious enjoyment in watching me struggle. In those moments, sharing some hilarity at my absolute failure as a gamer is a great moment. Because we’re looking at the screen, by not having the face to face contact, often they will be more disarmed and more open because they don’t feel as under pressure or in the spotlight."
Nihal Arthanayake is on BBC Radio 5 Live every Monday to Thursday between 1-4pm.
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