EXCLUSIVE: Christine McGuinness, ‘Paddy will always be around’

The Real Housewives of Cheshire star tells us, 'I’m very, very lucky, my heart is full.'

Paddy and Christine McGuinness look slightly awkward on a red carpet

by closer |
Updated on

Two years on from the high-profile split from husband of 11 years Paddy McGuinness, Christine McGuinness is, by her own admission, better than ever and happily single.

Christine, 35, tells Closer, “My life’s full of love with my children. I’m very, very lucky, my heart is full. I don’t feel like I’m missing anything at all. And now, I think it’s very important that I have some time on my own.

"I met Patrick when I was 19, and I’m 35 now – I don’t know any different than to share my life with somebody else. I’m going to share it with my children of course, and Patrick’s always going to be around as the father of my children, but I want to have time on my own.”

Paddy, 50, and The Real Housewives Of Cheshire star met back in 2007 when Christine was working as a model. They got engaged on Christmas Eve two years later and tied the knot in June 2011. Plagued by cheating rumours through out their marriage, their split in July 2022 came shortly after Paddy was hit by claims that he had kissed “a fellow TV star” behind Christine’s back.

While the pair’s split appeared relatively amicable at first, with the former couple continuing to live together in order to co-parent their three children – twins Leo and Penelope, 10, and daughter Felicity, seven – their divorce battle has turned messy in recent months. Christine has reportedly hired no-nonsense family lawyer Catherine Bedford, nicknamed The Pitbull, who represented Lisa Armstrong during her divorce from Ant McPartlin.

Last month a source admitted, “The gloves are off, Christine was good to Paddy, she stayed at home and brought up his children while he was out earning money. It’s going to be an expensive divorce for Paddy. Christine has had enough.”

Paddy and Christine in 2021
Paddy and Christine in 2021 ©Photo by Ricky Vigil/GC Images

And now Christine reveals that she will always prioritise her children, calling motherhood her main motivator in life.

She explains, “If you’ve got any kind of responsibility with little ones, you’re always going to have that worry of, ‘If I’m not here, who’s going to look after them?’ I think more so if you’ve got children with additional needs. We don’t have a lot of people around, we haven’t got a lot of family and I do worry.

“I think it’s natural as a parent to feel like that. I’m just trying to not let it keep me awake at night anymore. Part of my job now is to raise these children to be as independent as possible. So that one day, when I do go, they’ll be able to look after themselves and shower and cook their food.”

Luckily, Christine has been well supported by her friends, including Coronation Street’s Helen Flanagan – who’s going through a divorce herself from footballer Scott Sinclair after 13 years together – during this difficult time.

Helen Flanagan
Helen Flanagan ©Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images

But, as she openly admits, the reality star hasn’t always found it easy to make friends.

“I’m definitely saying yes to more opportunities now,” she reveals. “I’m more open to having friends – not that I was against it before, I just struggled to continue a friendship. I would often meet people and I’d get on with people, but I’d struggle to carry that on.”

In 2021, Christine – as well as her three children – was diagnosed with Autism. And she’s found that the diagnosis has really helped her to understand herself better. She shares, “For me, it’s not a label; it’s understanding yourself, therefore opening doors to ask for help when you need it.”

It was therefore a huge challenge for Christine to take part in the upcoming BBC2 series Pilgrimage, which follows a group of celebs – including Made In Chelsea’s Spencer Matthews and wildlife presenter Michaela Strachan – as they take on a modern-day pilgrimage along the North Wales Pilgrim’s Way.

Not only did Christine – who describes herself as spiritual but doesn’t practise a particular faith – face emotional and physical challenges, but the journey also pushed her completely out of her comfort zone.

“I wasn’t really sure what to expect,” she says. “I was surprised at how quickly we all got on and how much I settled in, because I’m not the best around people. I don’t know if it’s because it was so intense or how much time we spent together.

Closer mag cover

“This is the first time I’ve ever eaten with a group of people who I didn’t know. I like very plain food because I don’t like to be overstimulated, and I find it quite embarrassing to explain that. But I did that every single day from day one. Everyone made me feel really comfortable and they never made me feel any different to them.”

She concludes, “It’s been amazing. I want to say yes to more opportunities. I say no to quite a lot of stuff over fears of having to spend time with people. But people aren’t that bad, are they really?”

Pilgrimage: The Road Through North Wales airs Fridays at 9pm from 29 March on BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

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