Ross Kemp EXCLUSIVE: Star, 55, on life as an older father of four – Daily Mail

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Ross Kemp EXCLUSIVE: Star, 55, on life as an older father of four – Daily Mail

He is a national treasure, known for his hardman reputation, brooding role as Grant Mitchell on EastEnders and gritty documentaries.

And Ross Kemp has candidly discussed his life as a father-of-four, how he uses yoga to stay in shape and how he juggles his harrowing day job with family life in an exclusive interview with MailOnline.

The Extreme World presenter, 55, who has joined forces with Marella Cruises for their ‘Smiletinerary’ programme, has seen his life transform in the last eight years, with the star now a devoted dad to four young children. 

From brooding stares to babies: Ross Kemp has candidly discussed his life as a father-of-four, how he uses yoga to stay in shape and how he juggles his harrowing day job with family life in an exclusive interview with MailOnline (above with wife Renee O’Brien)

Devoted: The Extreme World presenter, 55, who has joined forces with Marella Cruises for their Smiletinerary programme, has seen his life transform in the last nine years, with the star now a devoted dad to four young children (above with twins Ava and Kitty)

Ross and wife Renee O’Brien, who married in 2012, have a son Leo, four, and two-year-old twins Ava and Kitty. He also has another son, aged eight, with his ex-partner Nicola Coleman. 

Discussing his joyous journey to fatherhood, the star admitted he wishes he had started a family earlier, saying: ‘I’m very happy I’ve got my children and wouldn’t have it any other way. I could have done it about a decade earlier though, I should’ve done.  

‘I was old, I was in my 40s, I was quite selfish  before, in terms of you put yourself first, you look at what’s going to be best for you and that totally goes out the window when you have children, you put your children way in front of everything you do.

Showing his softer side, the star added: ‘You don’t earn money for you so you can buy yourself a nice car or live in a big house you make money so you can guarantee your children a better life, a safe life, a secure life.

Best known: The star has won a stellar reputation for his documentaries, including the BAFTA award-winning Ross Kemp On Gangs 

Happy family: Ross and wife Renee O’Brien, who married in 2012, have a son Leo, four, and two-year-old twins Ava and Kitty. He also has another son with his ex-partner Nicola Coleman

 ‘The joy they bring you is incredible.’

On how he juggles his hectic working schedule – the BAFTA-award winning star’s latest project sees him visit the notorious Belmarsh Prison- with home life, Ross said: ‘I don’t think you ever strike a perfect balance in your life, I think that’s just a misnomer, you can’t ever do it.  

‘It’s not about putting one in front of the other. it’s just working, prioritising what’s best for your children, if I don’t work, that’s not good for them.’

Opening up about the sweet night-time sacrifice he makes for his eldest son to ensure he can sleep, the star said: ‘With my eight-year-old I have to sleep on a hard mattress next to him, that’s like being back in Belmarsh! He won’t sleep unless I’m next to him because he gets scared. 

Joyful: Discussing his joyous journey to fatherhood, the star said: ‘I’m very happy I’ve got my children and wouldn’t have it any other way. I could have done it about a decade earlier though, I should’ve done’ (above with his sons aged eight and four)

‘I’m lucky, I’m away for a period of time and when I’m home, I’m back all the time, When I’m home I get to read Leo a story every night, I get to kiss the girls goodnight and that’s great.’

‘With twins it’s a lot, two is harder than one, three is harder than one and particularly two girls at the same age at the same time, they’re both mobile, they both know their own minds, that’s a more than one person job especially when you’ve got other kids as well.’

Although hunky Ross has built his career on a tough guy image, memorably keeping cool when a gun was pointed in his face in Papa New Guinea, the star joked he is very much bottom of the ladder when it comes to the Kemp household.    

The investigative journalist said: ‘I’m the last one in the pecking order. I usually come after the golden retriever.

‘I got back from the prison, I’d been away for a couple of days and I think my wife’s response was “well you think you’ve had it hard, well I’ve had it harder” and there’s my four and a half year old screaming his head off because he had to take his Captain America t-shirt off. 

Steely: Although hunky Ross has built his career on a tough guy image, memorably keeping cool when a gun was pointed in his face in Papa New Guinea, the star joked he is very much bottom of the ladder when it comes to the Kemp household

‘It’s that kind of stage. You could make a documentary of the Kemp household.’

The heartthrob also spoke about how he keeps the romance alive in his marriage to Renee as they look after their young family.

He said: ‘We go to yoga, and on the way back, if we’re lucky, we fit in a quick Japanese meal.

‘I also go to a martial arts club locally, it’s my little club, I met Russell Brand there, he’s a great jiu jitsu guy, I do mixed martial arts, kickboxing.’ 

The couple recently spent some rare time together without the children on a Marella cruise in Italy and Spain, with Ross saying: ‘It was good to get away. We don’t get to talk about anything usually, the only thing you talk about is nappies or who’s being picked up where so it was nice to remember the person I got married to. 

‘We do actually have things in common.’

Rise to fame: Ross shot to fame in 1990 as hunky hardman Grant Mitchell in EastEnders (above with Steve McFadden as Phil Mitchell) and said he wouldn’t rule out a return to the soap

Ross recently revealed his hopes to film a new Living With series on Alzheimer’s, inspired by his close friend and former on-screen mother Barbara Windsor’s battle with the disease.      

Barbara, 82, was diagnosed with the condition in 2014, with her husband Scott, 56, acting as her primary carer.      

Ross said: ‘I have just been to see Scott and I saw Barbara last week. I think if you’ve got Alzheimer’s you don’t get the support you get with other diseases and other illnesses so they’re trying to change the law. I’m very proud of my friends.

Close bond: Ross recently revealed his hopes to film a new Living With series on Alzheimer’s, inspired by his close friend and former on-screen mother Barbara Windsor’s battle with the disease

He said: ‘I think she has good days and bad days, I was lucky I saw her a week and a half ago, she knows me, we talk about the old days of EastEnders, we talked about lots of things’

‘I think she has good days and bad days, I was lucky I saw her a week and a half ago, she knows me, we talk about the old days of EastEnders, we talked about lots of things. Obviously she’s in the position it’s not gonna get any better.

Earlier this week Barbara and Scott delivered a letter to the Prime Minister pleading for better dementia provisions for sufferers. 

Ross said: ‘I think Scott has done brilliantly. I think people would have thought it wouldn’t have lasted or he wouldn’t have been with her but he’s been brilliant, he’s been stoic.’

The star’s latest project sees him poke fun at his sombre demeanour in a playful campaign for Marella Cruises, to ensure maximum smiles when on-board.

After the company’s research found that more than half of the nation agree they smiling less, Ross was sent on a European cruise on a Marella Explorer Trip to test the brand new ‘smiletinerary’, an array of fun activities, and see if he could shed his steely exterior.

Hunk: The star, who set the internet alight with his hilarious World Cup celebration videos last year – revealed he does yoga and martial arts to maintain his hunky physique

The musclebound star was treated to a special Smiletox facial  a ‘Jumpga’ workout class, a game of mini-golf and delicious food and drink. 

On why he wanted to get involved, the star said: ‘I’ve been doing a lot of heavy stuff this year. I’ve been doing childcare, homelessness, online gambling and knife crime. 

‘I’ve been filming at HMP Belmarsh, there’s not that many smiles there, the few there are welcome but it was a great opportunity to meet some nice people, both the crew the film crew and all the people.

‘It was better than being in a prison cell or a ditch somewhere or less salubrious accommodation so I jumped at the chance 

And smile: The star’s latest project sees him poke fun at his sombre demeanour in a playful campaign for Marella Cruises, to ensure maximum smiles when on-board

‘And obviously there’s a joke to be had that I’m perceived to be a grumpy old man or a grumpy middle-aged man which is not actually my true demeanour

‘We cover quite a few subjects, it’s nice to do something that’s about putting a smile on someone’s face.

‘I had a fantastic time, my wife came and joined me for the last three days and we both had a great time as well. It’s so important to put a smile on someone’s face, it goes a long way.’ 

Relaxed: After the company’s research found that more than half of the nation agree they smiling less, Ross was sent on a European cruise on a Marella Explorer Trip to test the brand new ‘smiletinerary’, an array of fun activities

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