‘HOMESICK’ Paddy McGuinness has broken his silence on his split from wife Christine – admitting ‘life is hard when you have zero contact’.
The Couple – who share three children – confirmed their split in July last year.
However, the pair are both dedicated to raising their children, Felicity, nine and twins Leo and Penelope, seven, who all have autism.
It means Paddy, 49, makes sure he is never away from home for too long, regardless of what TV show he is filming.
“Always, even back in the day with Take Me Out, I’ve always had a sort of rule what I stick by where I never do more than nine days anywhere because I just like being at home,” the amiable star told The Sun’s TV Mag. “I think naturally you get homesick.”
You might imagine, then, that filming his latest Channel 4 show – reality challenge series Tempting Fortune, which is set in South Africa – would have been a problem.
Luckily, Paddy was still able to stick to his rule, despite the exotic location.
He said: “I did this in two different stints. So I’d go out for five days, come back and then towards the end I went out for another, I think, four days.
“So it wasn’t too bad, really. I’ve done longer. When I used to do Take Me Out, for instance, you think a bit differently because you’re in the UK, so psychologically it isn’t that bad, but Take Me Out used to take a week.
” So Take Me Out, weirdly, out of everything I’ve done, is the show that took me away from home the longest. More than Top Gear, more than A Question Of Sport, more than anything I’ve done.”
He continued: “If I have to work away, I’ve got a phone. If you work in a job where you might be away for a couple of days a week, or whatever it is, in this day and age it’s a small world because you’ve got Zoom and phones and Whatsapps and everything else, so you still kind of don’t feel you’re away as such.
“But when you’re in the position these guys [the contestants on Tempting Fortune] are in, where you’ve literally got zero contact with your family, that’s when the chips are really down.”
In Tempting Fortune – which continues with episodes two and three this week – the 12 contestants must resist the lure of all manner of treats on offer while attempting an arduous 18-day trek through the South African wilderness.
As the show’s big-name presenter, we imagine Paddy was treated to a little more in the way of luxury?
He replied with a laugh: “I’ve got to be honest, I thought that’s what the deal was – until I got there!
“Channel 4 lured me in with that one. So when we got to where we were filming, I’m like: ‘Where’s the spa?!’ I remember, the first night, I was in my bed and I could hear this scratching and tearing and ripping – there was something living in me bed! They tell us: ‘Anything at all you see, don’t ever attempt to pick it up because it could be poisonous.’
“So I got the team in and they literally ripped the divan apart on the bed, and it was a family of geckos living in there. They got them out but the geckos kept coming back every night and in the end you just become feral – I’d sleep with this family of geckos, in me bed, while I was asleep. And I was like: ‘This is just mad!’
“So it was interesting, but on the other side, we were that far out that you’d be walking down like a little dirt track and a giraffe would just come wandering past you.
“I saw some stuff and I was like: ‘My god, people pay tens of thousands of pounds for safaris to see this and it’s kind of there every morning.’
“There was a little beach nearby and just wild horses would be galloping up and down the beach, it was amazing to see.”
Tempting Fortune continues on Sunday, April 2 at 9pm on Channel 4 and is also available on All4. TV Mag is available for free every Saturday, only in The Sun.