Gary Lineker has been talking about being dad to four boys – and what his 12-year-old stepdaughter Ella has taught him about girls.
The Match of the Day presenter said: "Well, they're bitchier, that's one thing I've noticed. In all the time I spent with the boys, I hardly remember them talking badly about their mates, whereas girls start young – and women are like this anyway – being picky about their friends. Boys might fight, then it's all over.
"But with girls it's, 'So-and-so said this today, and so-and-so is doing this and wearing that'.
"I find it funny, how it starts so young, that difference between boys and girls, men and women."
In an interview with the Mail to promote Walkers Crisps, Gary told how he met his second wife Danielle Bux following the breakdown of his marriage to childhood sweetheart and mum of his four sons, Michelle.
The 53-year-old former England star said: "My friend who introduced us said, 'She's really bright, she's beautiful'. I thought, 'Yeah, I've seen your beautiful before!' He said to Google her because she'd done music videos and modelling, but in those days I needed a bit of help to use the internet."
Gary only met Ella, Danielle's daughter, after three months of dating.
He said: "She was only five, tiny and cute. Now, she's becoming a young woman."
He said being a stepdad can be difficult, especially because his own sons, George, 22, Harry, 20, Tobias, 18, and Angus, 16, were in the mix.
They live with their mother, 'but close by, so they're always dropping in. You make mistakes along the way. I think the key is to defer to the real parent, but it's hard. We're all defensive about our children, more so than with someone else's'.
Gary added: "I've a feeling that the teenage years will be interesting. But it's wonderful to be given a daughter. She has a father, who's a great guy, and I'm careful to respect that relationship. I think we're doing OK."
His older boys have caused him some trouble. George failed to get the grades he needed to get into the university he wanted to attend. Harry was arrested for drink-driving and banned from the road earlier this year.
Gary said: "What I've discovered is that you never stop worrying about them.
"When they're young you worry about silly things, you worry about exam results, are they going to go to university, how are they going to afford a house?
"I think we all question how good we are as parents. If anything goes wrong you question yourself. I just hope, in the end, they turn out as good human beings.
"None of them are going to be professional athletes. George came to me when he was 12 and said, 'I'm not going to be a footballer, am I Dad?' and I said, 'Mmm, might be difficult'. That was one way of phrasing it."
His second son is talented on the pitch, but 'hasn't got the passion' it takes.
Gary said: "I think it's difficult for the children of someone who's done pretty well in sport to follow in their footsteps.
"I just hope they find something they have a passion for. I was lucky. I did."
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