Fitness expert Joe Wicks has reflected on the unexpectedly positive outcome of growing up with parents who struggled with addiction and mental health issues.
icks, 36, known as The Body Coach, began posting fitness and cooking videos on Instagram in 2014 before becoming a successful TV host and author.
He gained further notoriety during the Covid-19 pandemic with his popular PE With Joe live workouts.
Speaking on a new BBC documentary, Joe Wicks: Facing My Childhood, he said: “The trauma of my childhood has undoubtedly manifested itself in me in a positive way.”
Wicks’ mother suffered from OCD and an eating disorder, while his father was a heroin addict and struggled with depression.
Despite describing his childhood home as “like living in an Ikea show home” due to his mother’s obsessive cleaning habits and often calling his father a “junkie,” Wicks said, “You can flip it and use that energy in a positive way. “
Though he’s close to his parents – both of whom have since worked through their personal struggles – he revealed he’s self-aware of his own approach to parenthood because of his upbringing.
He said: “I’m constantly checking myself and trying to improve.”
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He has two children, Indie and Marley, with his wife Rosie, whom he married in 2019. The couple is expecting their third child in September.
“It’s really, really made me want to be a quiet parent that doesn’t yell because it’s something that’s in me,” he added.
“But I’m still slamming doors and feeling terrible. I feel so guilty but then when I walk away I come back and say ‘I’m really sorry, I love you’.
“And I always remember, whatever happened to my mum and dad, I don’t blame them for those things. So I’m not going to be a perfect parent every day of the week.”
Wicks said he wanted to make sure his children were aware of his childhood and their family history.
“I think it’s important to bring them into the conversation and let them know about my story,” he said.
“Because they live in this wonderful house … and I want them to understand that not everyone lives in these houses and has the holidays that we do.
“I want them to value our lives and be grateful and thankful and know that our family’s story really created all of this, it really did.
“So I’m going to be open with them and get them to talk about their mental health as much as possible when they go to school and on the phone and stuff like that.”
Wicks has 4.4 million followers on Instagram and 2.7 million on YouTube, which has led to near-constant communication from struggling fans.
“The more I share about mental health, the more comes in,” he said.
He revealed he can spend more than five hours a day replying to direct messages from followers and often feels “guilty” at not being able to reply to every message.
“I give out love and positivity and I get it back. That’s my drug, that’s my dopamine,” he said.
After creating the BBC documentary, Wicks said he realized how constant communication with fans was affecting his own mental health.
He said: “I’ve learned to let go a little bit.
“I can help many people, but I can’t help everyone.”
In 2020, Wicks was named an MBE in Services to Fitness and Charity.
Joe Wicks: Facing My Childhood airs May 16 at 9pm on BBC One and BBC iPlayer.
https://www.independent.ie/style/celebrity/childhood-trauma-has-manifested-in-me-in-a-positive-way-joe-wicks-on-growing-up-with-parents-with-addiction-41641936.html Joe Wicks on growing up with addicted parents: “The trauma of my childhood manifested itself in me – in a positive way”