EXCLUSIVE! Bear Grylls: ‘Being a dad is the hardest part of my job’

Action man Bear Grylls exclusively opens up to Closer Online about why fatherhood is the greatest adventure of all…

EXCLUSIVE! Bear Grylls: \\\\\\\'Being a dad is the hardest part of my job\\\\\\\'

by Kayleigh Dray |
Published on

We usually think of Bear Grylls as a fearless adventurer, ready to tackle everything from swimming in freezing waters, to downing his own urine in an attempt to survive the wild.

But, when he's not abseiling through rainforests, or attempting to give himself a DIY sea water enema (ugh!), he's a dad to three amazing boys, Jesse, Marmaduke, and Huckleberry.

Time to pin down the survival expert for a chat about Mission Survive, The Island, Mount Everest, and bath time fun with his beloved children.

We LOVE Mission Survive; what made you decide to take celebrities into the wild?

We all like to see the faces we know and love going on a big journey both physically and mentally - Mission Survive is the ultimate in that sense. And in my experience they also tend to love the space and freedom of the outdoors, the chance to be themselves and to push and explore their limits a little. The wild gives a confidence that is unique and empowering, and I love to see that growth in people.

Were there any diva moments, or celebrity meltdowns?

Everyone had their moment but there were no divas. I’m incredibly proud of the celebrity expedition team. It's all about where we finish rather than where we start.

Why do you think the show is different from other celebrity survival shows, like I'm A Celebrity?

Both can be fun but Mission Survive has so much danger for real all around that you can’t mess about. If these guys didn’t cotton on to what I was saying about focus, resourcefulness and hard work being key to surviving then the jungle would teach them the lessons the hard way.

Via Mission Survive
Via Mission Survive

Can we expect another series anytime soon?

I would love to make another series. It is possibly the show I am most proud of making as it builds people and that is always exciting to witness.

Obviously making shows like Mission Survive mean you have to spend a lot of time abroad; is it hard being away from your family so often?

It is the hardest part of being a dad. I just make sure I prioritise family first and try not to walk too close to the line. It means I tend to film then get home and say no to a lot of the fluffy celebby stuff that comes along. I always tell the team this is the goal: come home alive, as friends and successful - and always in that order.

Would you like your sons to follow in your adventurous footsteps?

My late Dad always used to say to me that what matters is to follow your dreams and look after your friends. That to him was life in a nutshell. I hope to do the same with my two boys, although if they wanted to then climb Everest with a 1 in 8 chances of dying I might be a bit less enthusiastic! I have seen the raw end of those statistics and I am not sure I would want my kids to go through that themselves.

They totally love the adventures, even the simplest ones they create at home. My three young boys have always been a little wild and I love that in them. As a father of 3 young boys I know what kids hunger for. Great adventures teach them not only great life and outdoor skills, but also gives kids a confidence and pride that money cannot buy.

Bear Grylls with Kate Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge

Do your sons love having such a cool action hero dad?

They are into climbing and making stuff, they love canoeing and doing mock rescue scenarios with all the ropes, and they have also been paragliding with me quite a bit too which they love.

But when I am in the bath with the boys, surrounded by bubbles and rubber ducks and giving them grief for stealing the hot towel, I don’t know how cool they think I am then!

Do you think kids today spend too much time indoors? How would you rectify this if so?

All of us need to get outdoors more - even a walk in the park or cycle ride can show children that there’s so much more to life than computers and TV screens. I think it’s so important to instil in them from an early age that outdoor fun can be for everyone and that you don't need to tackle Everest to find great adventures.

Do you have any advice for first-time fathers?

The Five Fs: Family, Friends, Faith, Fun and Follow your dreams. Focus on these and you will be headed in a great direction.

Bear Grylls and his wife, Shara

Speaking of advice, what are the top 3 survival tips / skills everyone should know?

The key is to understand that attitude is king: Never give up, embrace failure, or in other words keep going until you get the result you want, such as fire or catching food etc, and above all chose positivity, however grim the situation gets.

You always seem so calm on screen - can you recall your scariest ever moment in the wild?

When I climbed Mount Everest I fell 200 feet into an icy crevasse. At an altitude of 19,000 feet, I should have died which was terrifying. But my best friend Mick and a Nepalese climber were able to pull me to safety. You have got to be smart - you only get it wrong once. That's the reality of big mountains but also the appeal.

And what's the weirdest thing you've ever eaten in the wild?

Raw goat's testicles…I vomited in my mouth straight after!

What achievement in life are you most proud of?

I think to date one of my proudest moments is 21 SAS selection. It was a tough time but it taught me the value of persistence and hard work when you don't feel like it! Smile when it is raining and be the hardest worker on the field. It was that journey through selection that set me up well for so many of the subsequent adventures.

It was a long process of attrition where they are looking for the self motivated and the dogged. But once in, it is where I learnt so many of the skills I use today such as combat survival, climbing and skydiving.

My greatest achievement, though, is being dad to 3 such amazing young boys - and being married to my dream girl!

Who is your inspiration in life?

My dad inspired me to not be afraid to go for things and to take a few risks. Failure was never failure but was a stepping stone to success. He encouraged me to follow my dreams and to be a good friend to people.


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