HELLO! DIGITAL COVER STORY
Alison Hammond reveals future adoption plans and how teenage son Aidan encouraged her to do This Morning
The TV star also talks about losing her mother and her most nerve-wracking celebrity interview to date
Sharing the same birthday and full of laughs and smiles, it's immediately clear to see that Alison Hammond and her teenage son Aidan share an incredibly close bond when they join us for an exclusive photoshoot ahead of Mother's Day.
"Aidan is my twin who was born 30 years after me," Alison tells HELLO!. "Our personalities are very similar. I'm so proud of the kind young man he's turned into."
MORE: Alison Hammond's home has a very sentimental touch
The TV presenter reveals it was her 16-year-old who encouraged her to take on her new role at This Morning. "He was like: 'Go for it, Mum. They've offered you the job, go and enjoy it.' He's amazing like that. I don't know what I'd do without him," admits Alison, who has been co-hosting the ITV show on Fridays with Dermot O'Leary since January.
The popular star, known for her trademark laugh and hilarious chats with Hollywood's A-Listers, also reveals her most nerve-wracking celebrity interview to date (Jennifer Lopez) and future plans to one day adopt.
Alison stars on our special Mother's Day digital cover
How would you describe your mother-son relationship with Aidan?
"Aidan is like my twin who was born 30 years later. He was born on my birthday, on 5 February 2005. Our personalities are very similar. We lock horns a lot, I'm not going to lie. Sometimes he thinks he knows it all, or that he's older than me. Ultimately, it's a balancing act to parent him in the best way that I can, but also still allow his personality to come through and have his say in things."
MORE: Graham Norton defends Alison Hammond after This Morning mistake
MORE: Alison Hammond vows not to be bullied by anyone
You must be so proud of him. How has he been coping during the pandemic?
"I'm proud of the person he is, how kind he is. He's a lovely, chilled out young man. When other people come up to me and say: 'Your son is so lovely', I think 'Yes, I've done my job.' On his birthday in February, when I saw how many cards came through the post from his mates, I thought, 'This child is loved.'
"I'm also proud of how he's handled the pandemic. Seeing him thrive in life and watching him cope with doing his studies makes me very proud. I think he's only complained once. So many children are struggling with their mental health at the minute. I've been really proud with how he's kept busy. I ask him every day: 'Are you okay? Is there anything you want to talk about?' He seems as happy as Larry. The way he's coped is amazing. He's the kid I wanted to be when I was younger."
Alison and Aidan star in their first HELLO! shoot together
Tell us about the moment you first met Aidan.
"I had a C-Section and the consultant who delivered Aidan was playing music. A Whole New World was playing when he came out. It was a great song for him because it is a whole new world for him. I already knew he was going to be a boy and I'd already called him Aidan – I hadn't even thought of a girl's name. So it wasn't a surprise to me when I did the gender reveal live on This Morning.
"Him being born was the best birthday present I've ever received. I was over the moon. But now, people often forget about my birthday – they bring round presents for Aidan! It's special, and I think he likes having his birthday on the same day as mine. I tell him it makes him lucky."
MORE: Alison Hammond shows off luxury treehouse including hot tub
The mother-son duo have a close bond and even share the same birthday
How has being a mum changed your life?
"I was so nervous about becoming a mum in the beginning, and I look back and think: 'What was I nervous about?' He has enriched my life in ways I never even imagined. He's brought so much joy, I can't imagine life without him.
"My one wish would be that I'd had more children. I wish I'd had another three back then. I would totally consider adoption in the future. I've got so much more love to give – I don't think I'm done with one child, I'm just not. Aidan has already got two sisters and a brother from his dad's side, who he still sees."
MORE: 5 best Mother's Day afternoon tea delivery services
What does Aidan think about your career in TV?
"Whenever Aidan has joined me at my work, it just comes to him naturally. He was never nervous of being on set. It's something he finds normal. Seeing him on this shoot, I thought he might be nervous as he hasn't done something like this for a long time, but he was like a duck to water. He should be a model! He's so at ease with the camera. Nothing phases Aidan, so whatever he puts his mind to, I know he's going to be fine. He's not going to need me. Although he might need me to do his washing!"
Aidan encouraged his mum to take on her new Friday presenting slot
Was Aidan supportive when you got your new role on This Morning?
"Aidan was the one who encouraged me to take the job presenting the Friday slot on This Morning. He was like: 'Just go for it mum. They've offered you the job, go and enjoy it.' He's amazing like that. I don't know what I'd do without him. He watches me on TV every week. I say: 'Don't put it on, it'll distract you during your lessons' and he says, 'Oh I'll just have it on in the background.'
"I used to ask my mum: 'Was I any good [on This Morning] today?' and she'd say: 'You were amazing.' Now it's Aidan saying I've done a good job. Plus, he loves Dermot, he thinks he's really cool."
MORE: Alison Hammond and Ruth Langsford share first exchange following replacement reports
"My one wish would be that I'd had more children," says Alison
You always look like you're having so much fun interviewing A-Listers. Do you ever get nervous?
"I do get a little bit nervous with all the interviews I do. I want to do a good job for This Morning. One of my most nerve-wracking assignments was with J-Lo. Before I went in to see her, she'd chucked the journalist before me out of their interview. I was so nervous, looking over my questions and second-guessing myself. But the next thing I knew I was in the room and it was fine."
Who have been your favourite celebrities to interview?
"Hugh Jackman, Will Smith, Renée Zellweger and Russell Crowe."
"I'm alright the way I am," says Alison
Your career in the spotlight also means you're subject to criticism. Does that bother you?
"I'm happy the way I am but I notice that my size does bother other people. I think we need to look at ourselves and ask: 'What bothers me so much that I need to comment on somebody's weight?' I find it interesting that me taking up more space in the world bothers so many people, especially when it doesn't bother me or my son. I'd love to see what it would be like to be a size 12 for just one day. Then I can turn around and think: 'I'm alright the way I am.'"
MORE: 20 best Mother's Day hampers to splash out on this year
Does Aidan show an interest when you interview celebrities? Who would he most like you to meet?
"He's always interested in who I'm interviewing. He got excited the other day when he heard I might be interviewing Ryan Reynolds – he loves Deadpool. But his dream is that I interview Lewis Hamilton. That's the one person he'd really like me to interview, but it hasn't happened yet. Hopefully one day. You never know – he might be working on his car team one day and introduce me to Lewis!"
Aidan would love his mum to interview Lewis Hamilton
Is motorsports something he wants to focus on in the future?
"He loves anything to do with Formula 1 – the drivers, Lewis Hamilton. He loved the Ferrari on the photoshoot – he wanted to drive it! That's his dream. At the moment we're looking at applying to a motorsport college. He wants to go into engineering. He loves go-karting so that's what we'll do in our spare time. When he was really little, he was obsessed with trains and he was happy with looking at the trains at the station down the road, but now we've got to travel to go-karting places around the country!
"The other day he said to me, 'Mum, can I buy my car now so I can get it all ready for when I'm 18?' I replied: 'Babes, slow down, get your license first, do your theory test, then the practical. There's no rush.'"
What kind of mum do you think you'll be when Aidan starts bringing home partners?
"I'm going to be so open. Whoever he loves, I'm going to love them too. I don't want to be that mum who asks, 'Where you from, what are you like?'"
The pair will go to the cemetery this Mother's Day to lay flowers on Alison's mum's 'forever bed'
How will you and Aidan spend Mother's Day this year?
Every Mother's Day he makes me breakfast in bed. I make his breakfast every day, but this is the one day I can chill out. He makes me pancakes or a full English breakfast – and he has to clear the plates away, too. Then, we'll probably take a walk down to the cemetery to put some lovely flowers on my mum's forever bed. We just want to have a nice day and light a candle for my mum."
Your mother sadly passed away in January last year. How does her memory live on in your life?
"Her picture is all over the house. It feels like she's still here. I really miss my mum, she was like my best friend. It's life, it stings and it's hard to bear, but I'm doing alright. She lives through me and my son. Aidan wears a gold chain that she brought him for Christmas before she died. It's really special to him.
"I've got my mum's cooking genes – her cooking was amazing and I've got a natural ability to cook, too. My signature dishes are chicken and rice, lasagne, king prawn fried rice, and Jamaican cornmeal porridge. I also do a good ackee and salt fish, which I believe is the Queen's favourite Jamaican breakfast."
"He's brought so much joy, I can't imagine life without him," says Alison
Your life changed when you did Big Brother in 2002. Looking back, would you change anything?
"I wouldn't, because if I changed something, I might not be where I am today. The person who watched my best bits from the house was one of the producers on This Morning and that's how I got my job there. If I'd won instead of being evicted second, that might not have happened so I wouldn't change anything. It was all written in the stars."
Like this story? Sign up to our newsletter to get other stories like this delivered straight to your inbox.