Fitness expert Joe Wicks has spoken candidly about how his life has been changed by his father’s addiction to heroin.
Joe – known to many as The Body Coach – was this week’s guest on Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, where he reflected on his childhood, including his dad’s struggles with substance abuse.
Speaking to presenter Lauren Laverne, he explained: “Because of my dad’s life, I didn’t go near [drugs]. I was scared of it and I got into exercise and fitness and so his mistake changed my life.
“I just don’t regret anything I’ve gone through or anything I have been through with my mum and dad, I’m just proud of who I am.”
Joe said that during his childhood, he “cracked on” with things, and never felt especially unhappy because “it was all I knew”.
However, he did add that he found things more difficult when he became a teenager, recalling: “He’s had times when he’s relapsed but today he is clean and that’s the most important thing, but when I was a teenager I found it difficult.
“I didn’t understand, I was angry but now as an adult I understand. I have got more empathy.”
“I only ever said [I hated him] once,” he added, stating he said it to a schoolmate and not to his dad directly. “I have never really admitted that to my dad, but it was just a reaction and I felt so bad because I didn’t hate my dad, I hated what drugs were doing to him and doing to my family.
“It was an angry thought and I suppose I let it out and I felt instantly bad and I remember just thinking, ‘What a horrible thing to say about your dad’.”
Since the UK entered lockdown, Joe has become a go-to for many thanks to the “PE lessons” on his YouTube every day.
The popularity of his daily videos means hundreds of thousands of pounds have been raised in ad revenue, which Joe has been donating to charities aimed at helping the NHS.
Desert Island Discs airs on Sunday mornings at 11am on BBC Radio 4, and is available on demand on BBC Sounds.
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