Paddy McGuinness has spoken about his single life, going on dates and his enormous pride over his children and what makes them so special

Paddy and Christine McGuinness have never been worried about what people think.

So if any exes could stay living together two years after their separation, it’s them. And the first rule of life after a break-up? Don’t take your divorce home with you.

For their lawyers might be thrashing out a settlement by day, but by night, neither lets that affect their family time together at home. For Paddy and Christine, their three autistic children always come first.

But the exes also want the best for each other. Paddy says, “If Christine met someone else, I’d be supportive.”

“If someone didn’t know our situation and came to our house and they spent the day with us, they would not have a clue (we were not together),” says Paddy in an exclusive interview with The Mirror. “We get on well, we live together and co-parent. We get the lawyers back and forth but that’s separate – that’s a different thing.”

Paddy and Christine McGuinness and their three children Leo, Penelope and Felicity (

Paddy and Christine still live together (
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images)
And as for dating again? Paddy says: “I tried a couple of dates last year – After twelve months of adjusting to life on my own I felt I should give it a try rather than really wanting to. For now I’m happy being single.”

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Any potential new partner would probably struggle with the current home set-up. He says: “For now, we’re happy with how things are, living together and helping each other balance work and kids.”

The pair were married for eleven years before announcing the split in July 2022 and share 10-year-old twins Leo and Penelope and seven-year-old Felicity who are all autistic.

The condition affects more than 1.2 million people in the UK. It means your brain works differently from most people’s, but how it presents in different individuals can vary enormously.

Paddy and Christine who live in Cheshire, spoke movingly for the first time about their heartbreaking struggles to The Mirror in 2017, just after the twins’ diagnosis at the age of four.

Now almost six years on, it’s amazing how far Leo and Penelope have come as their proud dad reveals the progress they have made.

“Leo and Penelope went from being non-verbal up until the age of about four or five to now at school getting the best marks in the class,” reveals Paddy. “My son is the head boy. They come home and do their homework and then have fun playing like any other child. They are thriving.

Paddy McGuinness became a household name hosting ITV dating show Take Me Out (
“They’ll always have things that they need a little bit of help and assistance with. And that’s what we’re there for as parents. But these days the kids come in, and they don’t stop talking! I’m so proud of all my children.”

The youngest Felicity, who was diagnosed at the age of three, is very creative. “She loves making cards. She’s aware of birthdays and special days and occasions – On Valentine’s Day this year, Felicity made me and Christine a beautiful card.

“There are a lot of hard yards, but those lovely things make everything better.”

The couple shared their journey to understanding autism in their 2021 critically-acclaimed BBC1 documentary, Autism and Our Family. Paddy says; “It’s not one size fits all. Every child with autism is different.

“(But) I wanted to do it for all the parents who may be struggling, especially single parents.

“I want to show we’re all in it together, we all have these struggles, whether you’re a fancy celebrity or you’re working in a factory.”

The making of the documentary led to an unexpected outcome – Christine received her own autism diagnosis at the age of 33.

She didn’t let it hold her back, throwing herself into raising awareness and becoming a well-known TV face in her own right. She recently starred in the BBC’s spiritual hiking show Pilgrimage, while Paddy held the fort at home.

“We’re all about covering for each other with the kids.” he tells us. “We never ask each other about our work. We don’t sit together and have deep conversations about what we’re doing.

“(But) we help each other balance work stuff. So I’ll always support Christine professionally, and she’d be the same for me.”

He adds: “I think any parent will understand work becomes your break. When you’re with the kids, when you go work, you’ll have a little bit of breather from it. That’s how we manage it, and it keeps everything fresh at home.”

This year the Lancashire funnyman has several exciting projects – despite Paddy’s other BBC show Top Gear being paused. First up, is his new Sunday morning BBC Radio 2 show, announced earlier this month.

“It’s perfect.” he tells us. “I’m doing it from Manchester so I get up with the kids, nip to town, do a two-hour show from 11am to 1pm. And I’m still at home in time for when roasties are coming out of the oven.”

Top Gear paused after co host Freddie Flintoff was injured during filming. (
BBC STUDIOS/Jeff Spicer)
He was offered the slot, which was previously Michael Ball’s, in a scheduling shake-up following the sad passing of the late Steve Wright.

Paddy who impressed Radio 2 bosses when he covered for Rylan Clark says: “I only know what I do on the show live and what people say to me as I’m on. But apparently they had loads of positive feedback. When it comes to negativity on social media no one likes to be criticised, and no one likes to be talked about negatively. It’s impossible to constantly go ‘whatever’ but it’s about managing that. I can’t control what people think. The fact that people are talking about me I have to take as a backhanded compliment. People are interested.”

Outside of radio, Paddy’s announced a string of stand up dates for later this year, and is about to start filming Chris & Paddy: Roadtrip, reuniting with former Top Gear co-host Chris Harris.

Paddy hosted A Question Of Sport from July 2021 until December 2023 when it was axed by the BBC (
BBC/James Stack)
“It’s a lot more gentler show than Top Gear,” he says. Paddy co-presented the BBC behemoth with Chris and Andrew ‘Freddie’ Flintoff for three years – until an horrific crash in December 2022, left Freddie fighting for his life with severe facial injuries.

Freddie is only just getting back to work, having recently filmed his new BBC cricket series Field of Dreams.On how his former colleague is doing, Paddy says: “Fred’s got a good character and he’s got a good family around him, so I’m pretty sure Fred will be alright. I’m always there for my friends if they need me, but I am not in their face. The last thing anyone wants is being mithered.”

It’s a typical bloke response. But that is Paddy’s USP.

Born in Farnworth, Bolton, in 1973, Patrick Joseph McGuinness got his big TV break in 2000, after childhood friend Peter Kay cast him in Channel 4’s Peter Kay Thing and Phoenix Nights. That led to 2004 spin-off Max and Paddy’s Road to Nowhere, stand-up tours and more TV offers than he could cope with.

But it was hosting Take Me Out from 2010 to 2019 that really made him a household name.

Paddy peppered the ITV1 dating game show with quippy catchphrases,”If he’s not Mr. Right, turn off your light!’ and “No likey, no lighty.” which people still stop him in the street to say.

“Now, no matter what I do or will do, that’s what I’m remembered for,” he says, proud the show has several wedding and baby success stories. “It was lovely because then everyone started doing dating shows again – First Dates, Married at First Sight, and Naked Attraction. The only one that really worked before us was Blind Date.”

Perhaps it’s time for a Take Two? ”I have always been asked to do it again,” he admits. “I’d love to do a couple of one-off specials for charity, but I don’t think I have it in me to do a whole series.”

It’s not his only venture into dating shows though. In the mid-nineties, Paddy, sporting an Adonis-like body and curly locks, was a contestant on late-night ITV1 show God’s Gift, hosted by Claudia Winkleman.

For Onken’s ‘Feed Your Inner Happiness’ campaign, Paddy McGuinness has shared his tongue-in-cheek time-saving tips (
Michael Leckie / PinPep / SWNS)
“I’ve worked with Claudia loads of times since and she has no recollection of me on the show – even with that hair!” he grins.

His pal Peter – who he first met at nursery school in Bolton is currenty on tour:“I’ve not seen Pete on tour but I did get a glimpse (of it) in his front room when I popped round for a cup of tea. I will go and see him perform again because his tour is on until 2062!”

With such a busy schedule, Paddy recently partnered with Onken Yogurt for its ‘Feed Your Inner Happiness’ campaign sharing his top tips for helping frazzled parents make more time for ‘joyful moments’.

But those moments are unlikely to be at 8.15am. According to the campaign’s new research, it’s the most stressful time of day for people. And that includes Paddy.

“I’m not a morning person,” he says. “That’s the time that can be absolute chaos when you’re getting ready for work and dealing with the kids!“I get the kids’ favourite breakfasts sorted and then they are out of the door for school.”

Paddy loves it really though – that’s why he and Christine are refusing to let their split burst their family bubble.

Paddy partnered with Onken’s Feed Your Inner Happiness campaign to give his hilarious parenting tips. He’s pictured here with child models (
Michael Leckie / PinPep / SWNS)
“With TV, you do a lot of work in a condensed period, and then you’re at home most of the time,” he says. “[So] I’ve always been a hands-on dad. I do the kids’ morning and evening routines, but I do prefer putting them to bed. Before we had kids, and we were not working, me and Christine’s day would start at 3pm. We’d stay in bed till 1.30pm and then eventually get up and get ready and go out. And we’d be surprised that all the shops were shutting!”

Having suffered from depression in the past, Paddy prioritises his mental health to help him manage life and work pressures. “The best money I ever spent in my life was on therapy. At the time I was diagnosed with clinical depression, we had just gotten the autism diagnosis – that coupled with how incredibly difficult, it is raising children regardless of autism, I went into a spiral.”

These days he says he is “as good as gold” and enjoying all the fun demands of fatherhood; “Yesterday we had some of the kids’ friends over for a little party and I was up to my ears in balloons. It was great.”

One thing the star always remembers is just how lucky he is. “If I look at my friends who all work in the real world, like my mate I met working in a factory, he’s been there for 20 years,” says Paddy. “It’s realising you’re doing something that some people would give their right arm to do. So you don’t take it for granted. That’s what’s always kept me going.”

Paddy McGuinness has teamed up with Onken Yogurt to share his tongue-in-cheek time-saving tips. Check out