Joe Wicks says 'default is to shout' as he overcomes effects of 'chaotic' childhood

Joe Wicks launches the Gousto Cookstarter campaign, which will see five restaurants awarded with 10 thousand pounds worth of funding each, as well as a year-long programme of mentoring and coaching by Gousto. (PA Images)
Joe Wicks thinks his chaotic childhood has helped him to become a better husband and father. (PA Images)

Joe Wicks, aka The Body Coach, has opened up about how his "chaotic" childhood affected his own mental health and how he's working to "break the cycle" with his family.

This comes ahead of the 36-year-old's new BBC One documentary, Joe Wicks: Facing My Childhood, which features his dad Gary, who suffered from a heroin addiction, and his mum Raquela, who lived with an eating disorder and OCD.

"I’m not always perfect," the man loved by the nation admitted to OK! magazine. "My default is to shout and swear because that’s what I grew up with.

Joe Wicks aka 'The Body Coach is seen during his live PE With Joe on January 11, 2021 in London, United Kingdom. As the UK enters it's third lockdown since the COVID-19 global pandemic started Joe has once again started keeping the nation's school children fit with free online sports classes. Photo by The Body Coach via Getty Images. (Photo by The Body Coach/The Body Coach via Getty Images)
Joe Wicks aka The Body Coach kept the nation's school children fit during lockdown with his live PE With Joe sessions. (The Body Coach via Getty Images)

"I still lose my temper, but on the whole I always strive to be kind, caring and patient with my family. It’s something I’m constantly working on.”

Wicks said he and his mum argued a lot when he was growing up because "it was so intense with her OCD".

"We couldn't bring friends over, everything had to be clean, and we couldn't make noise – it was like living in an IKEA showroom," he explained.

Speaking emotively about his dad's addiction, he added, "Every time my dad said he was 'popping to the shop for milk,' I knew he was going to score heroin because he never came back with milk.

"I remember being really upset every time he relapsed. I hated how drugs took him away from me."

Wicks grew up on a council estate in Epsom and was used to hardships like not having the heating on. "There was no way on earth I ever thought I'd get out of that situation.

"When you're in that world, you don't ever think it's going to change. I wasn't ambitious. I didn't have expectations of myself." Of course, knowing how much he's achieved now, it shows just how far he's come.

Read more: Most parents worried about kids' mental health: How to spot if your child's struggling

Joe Wicks and his wife Rosie arriving at York Minster for the wedding of singer Ellie Goulding to Caspar Jopling. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)
Joe Wicks and his wife Rosie married in 2019. (Photo by Peter Byrne/PA Images via Getty Images)

"As a young kid I was really disruptive and I couldn’t concentrate," he said, demonstrating this journey. "When I became a teenager I got really angry because I began to understand my dad’s addiction. That was the hardest part for me.”

But he doesn't blame his parents, and instead reflects on what he's learnt from his difficult upbringing. “Understanding what they’ve both been through has helped me move on. I’ve repaired my relationships with both of them and now we’re better than ever," he said.

"Plus, I think everything my mum taught me, and even my dad’s mistakes, have helped me become a better husband and a better dad.”

Wick's doesn't want his documentary to be perceived as "heavy" but instead "wants it to show a positive outlook". "Despite everything my family has been through, my dad is still here, he's clean and my mum is in a much better place too," he said.

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Wicks is now focused on making sure he "breaks the cycle" and gives his kids the stable environment he lacked as a child. But it seems he has already broken that cycle.

As he didn't grow up with the example from his parents, it did take him a long time to feel like he wanted to commit to something – but this all changed when he met model Rosie Jones. The pair married in 2019 and share two children, Indie, nearly four, and Marley, two, but are expecting a new addition to their family in September.

Read more: The most common mental health conditions - and where to get help

He still, however, wants his children – who he's aware are having a very different upbringing to his own – to know "that not everyone lives the way we do", with the family talking together about what they're grateful and appreciative of.

Joe Wicks: Facing My Childhood will air on BBC One on 16 May at 9pm.