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Joe Wicks said growing up with his dad’s heroin addiction left him ‘anxious all the time’  

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Joe Wicks said growing up with his dad’s heroin addiction left him ‘anxious all the time’  

Joe Wicks has said he suffered with constant anxiety as a child while growing up with his heroin addict dad and his mum, who suffered with severe OCD.

The fitness guru and chef, 36, will lift the lid on his troubled upbringing in his new documentary Joe Wicks: Facing My Childhood. 

Speaking on This Morning on Monday to promote the film, which airs on BBC One on Monday night, Joe admitted he can’t imagine his own young children, Indigo, three, and two-year-old Marley, having to care for their parents like he had to.

Childhood: Joe Wicks, who is fronting a new documentary on his upbringing, has said he suffered with constant anxiety as a child while growing up with his heroin addict dad and his mum, who suffered with severe OCD

Joe’s documentary looks back at his experience of growing up with parents who struggled with OCD and addiction, as well as exploring the impact the experiences have had on his life.

Speaking to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby about his childhood, Joe said he originally thought the film would focus on others, in an extension of his work during the pandemic to help families through his online PE lessons.

‘There’s stuff locked inside you as a kid that you suppress and you don’t want to confront. I found it really difficult doing this documentary. It was, in my head, going to be about other families, mental health in the UK – “how can we improve that?” but it became a really personal thing.’

Dad: Speaking on This Morning to promote the film, Joe admitted he can't imagine his own children, Indigo, three, and Marley, two, having to care for their parents like he had to (pictured with Indigo)

Dad: Speaking on This Morning to promote the film, Joe admitted he can’t imagine his own children, Indigo, three, and Marley, two, having to care for their parents like he had to (pictured with Indigo)

He added, ‘All of those experiences I’ve been through have shaped who I am today. It’s given me that drive and empathy to want to help others and even share this story. There’s a reason I’m doing it – I want to help others.’

Joe’s mother Raquela left him in the care of his heroin addict father Gary when he was 12 years old in order to get help for her OCD. 

Joe has lauded his mother for being ‘brave’ enough to get the help she needed in the form of five months of therapy, while his older brother Nikki, 38, tried to shelter him from the daily horrors of living with their addict father. 

Opening up: Joe's documentary looks back at his experience of growing up with parents who struggled with OCD and addiction, as well as exploring the impact the experiences have had on his life (Joe pictured with brother George and dad Gary)

Opening up: Joe’s documentary looks back at his experience of growing up with parents who struggled with OCD and addiction, as well as exploring the impact the experiences have had on his life (Joe pictured with brother George and dad Gary) 

Personal: Speaking to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby about his childhood, Joe said he originally thought the film would focus on other families

Personal: Speaking to Phillip Schofield and Holly Willoughby about his childhood, Joe said he originally thought the film would focus on other families

Joe recalls that he was always ‘aware’ of his father’s addiction, explaining the consequences it had on him as a child: ‘Heroin addiction is a really destructive thing. I was just anxious all the time and scared and nervous. I acted up in school. I was disruptive, I was the naughty kid because no one stopped me and said, “What’s going on?”‘

On his mum’s battle with OCD, Joe revealed, ‘She was scrubbing the house three or four times a day, I was hoovering my bedroom twice a day. I had to show her the lines. These things weren’t normal but in my head I was like, “All mums do this.”… Every day was an argument.’

He continued, ‘I went through a lot, no one talked about it, no one was saying, “What’s going on?” So your mum and dad just didn’t want to talk about these things and that’s what the documentary is about – when can we bring the kids into the conversation?’

Family: Joe's mother Raquela left him in the care of his heroin addict father Gary when he was 12 years old in order to get help for her OCD (pictured with his mother and brother Nikki)

Family: Joe’s mother Raquela left him in the care of his heroin addict father Gary when he was 12 years old in order to get help for her OCD (pictured with his mother and brother Nikki)

Tough time: 'There's stuff locked inside you as a kid that you suppress and you don't want to confront. I found it really difficult doing this documentary,' Joe told This Morning

Tough time: ‘There’s stuff locked inside you as a kid that you suppress and you don’t want to confront. I found it really difficult doing this documentary,’ Joe told This Morning

Holly said that heartbreakingly, Joe felt responsible for what’s going on and Joe said, ‘I think as a child, what I’ve learnt from this is when you have that kind of thing going on, my mum and dad, I was trying to care for them and my brother was trying to care for me.’

‘You can become really withdrawn or a carer… I look at [my kids] and think, “I can’t imagine them having to deal with those emotions.” It was really difficult, it’s an emotional documentary.’

Joe also explained that although the documentary is emotional, there’s a message of hope. He revealed, ‘I have a great relationship with my dad today, we’ve repaired that damaged relationship and the same with my mum.’

In a clip from the upcoming documentary Joe is seen breaking down as he becomes overwhelmed by the memories messages from fans trigger about his own upbringing.

Parents: Joe added: 'I look at [my kids] and think, "I can't imagine them having to deal with those emotions' (pictured with his kids and wife Rosie, who is pregnant with their third child)

Parents: Joe added: ‘I look at [my kids] and think, “I can’t imagine them having to deal with those emotions’ (pictured with his kids and wife Rosie, who is pregnant with their third child)

‘So many of the messages that I’m receiving since the pandemic are about mental health,’ Joe tells the camera. 

”Common themes are anxiety, depression, it’s so prevalent. It’s not like one person a day, it’s hundreds of people.’

‘I do relate to it, my mum and dad were up and down, up and down all my life. My mum had severe OCD and my dad was in and out of rehab, it was madness.’

‘I remember being a child in that scenario and just being so upset and confused and lost. It was really tough. Then when I read these letters from parents who are going through similar mental health issues I can’t help but feel a connection.’

His voice breaking, Joe continued: ‘It comes in waves, some days I’m like I really love this other days I just want it to stop. I don’t want to be the Body Coach, I just want to be Joe.’

Emotional: In a newly released clip from the upcoming documentary Joe is seen breaking down as he becomes overwhelmed by the memories messages from fans trigger

Emotional: In a newly released clip from the upcoming documentary Joe is seen breaking down as he becomes overwhelmed by the memories messages from fans trigger

‘It’s all those emotions, I’m just in the middle of it, this is just what I do but it must affect me more than I think.’

Later, Joe is seen speaking to his father who tells him: ‘I can only imagine how difficult that must have been for you, and the constant lying.’

‘I remember you saying you were just popping down the shops to get some milk,’ Joe tells him. It was like your code words for “I’m gonna go steal some gear.” You never came back with milk. I knew that’s what it meant.’

The show was produced by documentary-maker Louis Theroux, who previously claimed Joe’s exercise programme was one of the things that helped him cope during lockdown.

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

Memories: His voice breaking, Joe says: 'Some days I'm like I really love this other days I just want it to stop. I don't want to be the Body Coach, I just want to be Joe'

Memories: His voice breaking, Joe says: ‘Some days I’m like I really love this other days I just want it to stop. I don’t want to be the Body Coach, I just want to be Joe’

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