TV

Jamie Oliver opens up about his private life: "We don't need any more kids!"

The chef spills on his home life, marriage to Jools and his incredible success...

By Helen Vnuk

Jamie Oliver heads a global food empire worth hundreds of millions of dollars. He gets to make whatever TV show he wants to make. He influences government policy. But there's one thing he doesn't have a say over: whether he and wife Jools have another baby.

Jools, 43, said earlier this year that she'd like one more to join Poppy, 16, Daisy, 15, Petal, nine, Buddy, eight, and River, two. Jamie isn't so sure.

"I don't have much control in that department," the 43-year-old admits to TV WEEK, on the phone from the UK. "I've tried to put the brakes on a few times and it didn't work. Women are very powerful, and I'm not very good at restraint or control.

"I can give you a stronger answer, like, 'Look, five is enough. I'm struggling already to get them in the car. I can't even have a car anymore. I drive a f*ing bus. We don't need any more kids.' But you would be under the idea that I have control of this situation. So, we'll see."

The couple have their hands full with their five children (from left) Daisy, Petal, River, Buddy and Poppy.
The couple have their hands full with their five children (from left) Daisy, Petal, River, Buddy and Poppy.

If anyone has earnt the right to boss Jamie around, it's Jools. Teenage sweethearts, the couple married in 2000, just as Jamie's TV career was taking off. Since then, Jools has provided unwavering support for Jamie as he's thrown himself into a string of ambitious projects, from training disadvantaged youths to improving school dinners.

Last month, Jamie announced in a magazine article that he and Jools would renew their vows on their 20th anniversary in 2020. Now, he reveals that he hadn't talked to Jools before he made the announcement to the magazine.

"She said, 'Is this true? Is this what we're doing?' I said, 'Yeah, might as well, let's do it,'" Jamie says.

"We're nearly 19 years in, which is extraordinary. I think 20 is a good moment. And if I can get to 40, I'll do it again, and if I can get to 60, I'll do it again. I just think it's quite a nice thing to do. We don't really do many big parties, so it's just an excuse to get amongst it."

There's another 20th anniversary that will come up before then, though: the 20th anniversary of the debut of Jamie's first TV show, The Naked Chef.

So how does he feel now, looking back at that young chef?

"I think I had really big lips before my face grew into them," he says with a laugh.

"I think my fashion sense was highly questionable. My haircuts have been extraordinarily challenged."

But Jamie remains immensely proud of what The Naked Chef achieved.

"Twenty years ago in Britain, cooking was for girls," he explains.

"It was kind of a moment, The Naked Chef. It was about telling the boys that they've got to do their bit. But also, that cooking wasn't for girls, that cooking could get you girls."

For more from our interview with Jamie, pick up a copy of the new issue of TV WEEK. On sale now!

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