Award-winning podcaster Giovanna Fletcher has opened up about parenting in lockdown, navigating her relationship with childhood sweetheart, McFly star Tom and the secret behind their 23-year relationship in an exclusive interview with HELLO!.
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Proud mum to Buzz, seven, Buddy, five and Max, three, the winner of I'm a Celebrity described parenting during lockdown as a "mixed bag," revealing she and Tom, who has just been announced as Strictly Come Dancing's latest contestant, had to "explain what was happening, and reassure [their children] that it was going to be a strange time".
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Giovanna has once again lent her voice to Churchill's Little Chapters of Chill, an audiobook series with mindfulness at the heart of every story.
After spending lockdown with her husband Tom and their three boys, Giovanna admitted lockdown, at times, was "so hard as a parent", but found narrating the audiobooks was an opportunity for her to both breathe and navigate her own stress, as well as that of her children.
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"The boys had each other in lockdown, so they could be at home together and just play – but they had each other and nothing else, so I think they did get cabin fever!" explained Giovanna.
Giovanna and Tom share three boys together
"I remember very early on sitting them down and explaining what was happening, reassuring them that it was going to be strange, and we're going to feel feelings that we don't know. It was a definite thing where we had to talk about it."
The Happy Mum, Happy Baby podcast host explained that although anxiety in kids can come out in different ways, she and Tom often found themselves worrying for their children during the pack of the pandemic. She continued: "We really worried about the return to school after the first lockdown, but we had no reason to. The boys were absolutely fine."
Giovanna's husband Tom is famed for his success in McFly, but the rockstar will soon be hanging up his guitar in exchange for dancing shoes on BBC's Strictly. Ahead of his appearance, we asked Giovanna what makes their long-lasting relationship so unbreakable.
"I sometimes have a fleeting moment where I look at the kids, and then look at him and think 'ah, this is all because of us'. It's amazing," she said.
When asked to reveal the secret behind their happy marriage, Giovanna simply replied: "laughter".
The couple met when they were just 13-years-old at Sylvia Young Theatre School
"We've both laughed a lot throughout the 20+ years of knowing each other. And talking. Always talking. We end every day together on the sofa, despite the fact that we both carry on working once the kids are in bed. We'll always come together in the evenings, watch something like The Office, laugh with that, maybe have a glass of wine, and have some time just us.
"We keep saying we want to restart our date nights, even if it's just once a month, so that we can re-find time for each other. Especially when life is so hectic and you become a family, time is often spent risk assessing, and you're so focused on the kids that you forget to make time for your partner."
Tom and Giovanna tied the knot in 2012
After meeting at just 13-years-old, Giovanna admitted their relationship had gone through different phases since their teen love story began. "When we met we only went out for two days, then we had the whole teen drama stuff, 'I love you, no I don't', then he snogged all of my mates in the way that teenagers do!"
Admitting their teenage antics weren't enough to keep them apart, Giovanna told us: "The feeling of knowing what's important and not getting lost in the 'fluff' was really what kept us so strong together".
Giovanna Fletcher has partnered with Churchill alongside Emma Willis and Angellica Bell to launch the second series of Churchill’s Little Chapters of Chill children’s audiobooks. Little Chapters of Chill – Part 2 are available here, and all major streaming platforms now.