Pulling my husband’s XXXXXXL t-shirt out of our 15th load of laundry of the week, I couldn’t help but giggle as I thought of the lanky teenager I fell in love with all those years ago.
Tom and I met at a music festival when we were 17. He proudly walked around with his shirt open – which was really a bit strange as it’s rarely hot in Scotland.
Now 27, with a rigorous 30-hour fitness regimen and the title of World’s Strongest Man under his belt, Tom looks a far cry from the young lad I knew in 2012.
But it’s not just Tom’s physique that has changed over the years, my whole life has changed to accommodate the strongman lifestyle.
After exchanging numbers at the festival, things went pretty quickly between us. Tom basically stopped by my parents’ house once and never left.
We had only been together a year when he came back from the gym smelling of tires. When I asked why, he said, “Because I’m going to be the strongest man alive.” He had flipped them over as part of his initial training. He was addicted.
Roksana Ula’s photography)
It was tough because all of a sudden I wasn’t seeing him as much. We both worked during the day – he was a fencer, I was a trainee assistant and he was in the gym in the evenings.
We were both frustrated because we missed each other. He would get mad at me for little things like leaving my bowl out. Tom has autism, so he needs to get things done a certain way, and that can be intense.
However, we loved each other very much and soon Tom proposed. We were supposed to go away together for the weekend – something we never really did as we usually only stayed away for competitions – but my work decided they couldn’t give me any free time.
Tom insisted we go for a local walk anyway and I was upset because it was pouring rain. He then got down on one knee with a ring and I screamed before asking him if he had checked with my father. When he confirmed he had it, I said yes!
To make it work
We got married 14 months later on September 19, 2015. We were both only 21 years old so it wasn’t a very extravagant day.
Tom was working at Morrisons at the time, doing some security work. I was now a qualified helper, so it was my wages that paid for almost everything. We didn’t care though – we had the best day ever at a local venue.
Shortly after we got married, Tom came home from work early and said, “I quit.” It was almost Christmas, so I thought it was a crazy decision. I worried about how we would pay the rent and the rising grocery bill on an income.
He said to me, “I promise you, it will all work out.”
I said, “Okay, but you are responsible for keeping the house clean.” He accepted my terms.
He received sponsorships that helped us a lot in the early days – the best from the local butchers. They each send us two months’ worth of meat to fill our two freezers.
Although sometimes it doesn’t even last that long as Tom eats so much more in the two weeks leading up to a competition.
Tom’s dream finally came true in June last year when he won the title of World’s Strongest Man.
“We made it baby. The strongest man in the world!” Tom called me from California. I knew he was going to win, but I still immediately burst into tears of joy and relief.
Due to Covid-19 I had to stay at home in the Scottish Highlands which was tough but he kept me updated with texts and calls the whole six days.
For the finals, each competitor had to lift huge stones weighing between 140 and 210 kg onto elevated platforms in the shortest possible time.
He had given his phone to an elderly man who video called me so I could watch the action live. But the phone was in selfie mode, so he took his own belly instead of Tom! I yelled, “Turn the camera around!”
While Tom might have been in America without me, we both put our hearts and souls into preparing for his competitions.
I am the cook of our household. Already for breakfast he has 10 fried eggs, two slices of bacon, mushrooms and four slices of toast.
Lunch and dinner was always dry meat and rice, but now we have a nutritionist who allows things like ground turkey with tomato sauce or a chicken curry. To minimize my time in the kitchen, I eat the same food, just much smaller portions!
He also hired a psychologist. He learned how to manage his emotions better and that changed our marriage. Before, I felt like walking on glass and waiting for it to break. Now he can show his strong personality in the gym and then be my Tom at home.
He’s so thoughtful
I get him at his most relaxed and thoughtful form. He brings flowers home and records every little detail.
I say, “I need to get my nails done,” and the next minute he’s booked me into a salon. I was very lucky. People know Tom for his body, but he has a wonderful mind.
We’re happiest when we’re walking our dogs, sitting on the couch watching a movie, or supporting our Rangers soccer team. Although he’s usually bombarded by fans and I’m basically a professional photographer at this point.
He’s a hero now but to me we’re just a couple trying to spend time together so it can be frustrating. Even if they don’t know who he is, we often attract attention because of our height difference – he’s 1.80 m tall and I’m 1.60 m tall.
It’s a full-time job being his wife and I worked part-time to accommodate that. The laundry alone keeps me busy with all his workout gear. I also carry them because they are so big and cuddly.
Sometimes I’m even a weight for him! We’ll be in bed and one minute I’m laying down and the next minute I’m in the air and he’s doing reps with me.
He likes to cuddle, so I’m often quite crushed, but after 10 years I got used to it! I’m more exhausted after competitions than Tom.
He can sleep and eat well, but I get so upset that I can’t sleep or eat, I get sick and I’m so tense
I’m in pain for days afterwards.
Our next big goal is children. If one day they turn to me and say, “I want to be a strong man like dad,” I’ll probably reply, “Isn’t there anything else you want to do that’s a little bit easier for all of us?”
The strongest man in the world in statistics
£200 The cost of a weekly grocery purchase
350gr meat per meal
10 eggs per day
XXXXXXL big clothes
30 hours per week at the gym
15 Loads of laundry per week
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/inside-life-wife-worlds-strongest-26749598 Inner workings of being the wife of the world's strongest man - from weird diet to being used as a weight