His groundbreaking documentaries and insightful podcasts may have propelled him into the limelight, but away from his extreme adventures and survival guides, Bear Grylls rarely gives insights into his life off-camera.
During an exclusive chat with HELLO!, the 46-year-old - who is set to star in Bear & Nicola Adams' Wild Adventure on Friday night - has opened up about surviving lockdown with his wife Shara and their three sons; Jesse, 18, Marmaduke, 15, and Huckleberry, 12.
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The couple met just a few months before he left to climb Everest when he was running around naked on a beach in Scotland on New Year's Eve. Days later, Bear - real name Edward Michael Grylls - became the youngest Briton to reach the summit of Mount Everest when he was just 23. He immediately became one of the world's most loved adventurers, before tying the knot to Shara in 2000.
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This summer, Bear and his team will join forces with the Royal Marines Charity to create an adventure led family festival called Gone Wild Festival. As a born explorer with a love of the outdoors, the TV star has co-designed a festival to give those with a thirst for excitement the ultimate family adventure.
Bear Grylls with his wife Shara
Here we chat about the festival with Bear as well as reflecting on his family life during the past 14 months in lockdown.
How was lockdown as a family?
It's been a challenging time for everyone, but there's also been some positive things to emerge. Families have spent more time together than ever before, ours included - and that has been a good thing.
We all found homeschooling tough (and humbling!) and the restrictions have been tricky obviously but those things pale into insignificance when you remember the sacrifices so many unsung key worker and NHS heroes have shown selflessly every day for us. That's what I have realised the most. Who the real heroes in life are.
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Are your sons taking after you career-wise? What do they think of your job?
All the boys are so different, and like all teenagers, they change their mind pretty often, but they have a great spirit and have grown up to love the outdoors. Scouts has been amazing like that for so many families. Encouraging friendships and a respect for nature. Those things are important.
The thrill-seeking adventurer will be at Gone Wild Festival this summer
Where are you hoping to go on holiday? Do you enjoy experiencing five-star luxury from time to time?
I can't wait to get back to our family home on our little island in North Wales. We have no mains electricity or water and run everything totally off-grid, but we love it. Our three boys, Shara and I are happier there than anywhere else on earth - adventure and solitude mixed with fun and family. My happy place.
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After a tough day, how do you like to unwind?
It's not all mud and action, I love nothing more than a long bath with a huge mug of tea. The best. What's the most disgusting thing you've ever eaten? That's a long list- from frozen yak eyeballs in Siberia, to bear poo in Transylvania, camel intestinal fluids in the Sahara, rat brain in the south American jungles and snakeskin urine in Mexican desert - all were low points. But then no one ever said that either survival tastes great and or is ever easy.
The TV star is known for his groundbreaking documentaries
Where's your dream post-COVID bucket list?
I would love to back to Nepal and show the family the mighty Himalayas and Everest from the bottom, that's been a dream of mine for some time now.
What can we expect from Gone Wild Festival?
It's going to be the ultimate family adventure, where you can go quad biking, wild swimming, climbing, learn cool survival skills and chill out with friends and watch some of the world’s best brands. It's the festival I always wished existed when I was growing up!
After a year in lockdown, how can festival-goers slowly immerse themselves into thrill-seeking activities?
I think we all feel a bit like we've missed out on so much fun over the past year and Gone Wild aims to put the fun back into you and your families life. All of us, on our team and the Royal Marine Charity, believe this is going to be the perfect way for so many to end the summer before the kids go back to school. Just trust me on this one... Gone Wild is going to be epic!
Bear became the youngest Briton to reach the summit of Mount Everest when he was just 23
Any motivational tips?
Life is all about grabbing opportunities and having that adventurous spirit when times get tough. I've learnt through this time to never take things for granted and that time spent with those we love together is everything.
Do you have a mantra/life motto to get you through tough times in survival mode?
For sure. Life and the wild is all about resilience and positivity. Those things keep you alive sometimes. Even with the festival, there were times the Gone Wild team could have given up and thrown in the towel but they didn't. You have to admire that spirit when you see it and that is why I am so proud to be hosting this festival. If we can spread some Never Give Up vibes then that's a good thing.
For more information on Gone Wild Festival, head to gonewildfestival.com
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