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Greg Shepherd has quickly become the breakout star of ITVBe show The Mummy Diaries, regularly having viewers in stitches with his quick wit and cheeky banter.
Not only that, he also seems like a loving dad to daughter Nelly, six, and three-year-old son Arthur.
But, despite being settled with family life, when new magazine chats to Greg, he admits the past few months holed up with wife Billie and the kids haven’t been easy.
“At the beginning we absolutely loved the lockdown, but as time went on it got harder and harder,” he tells us. “Their behaviour, especially Nelly’s, has deteriorated a little bit throughout, but I was speaking to other parents from her school and they said it was exactly the same for them.”
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Businessman Greg, 35, who has just bought a new home with ex-TOWIE star Billie, 30, also reveals the couple plan to renew their vows to mark their five-year wedding anniversary.
Here, Greg tells new which reality shows he would love to appear on, where he stands on expanding his family and why his kids are just like the cartoon characters Tom and Jerry…
Hi Greg! Have you bonded more with the children since being cooped up at home?
Yeah, I’ve done things with them that I’d never usually do. I’ve never painted a fence in my life and I’ve been getting Arthur to help me. I can’t even change a lightbulb! And we’ve been growing strawberries in the garden.
Do Nelly and Arthur get on well together?
They’re not naughty, but it’s got to the stage where me and Billie call them Tom and Jerry. They’re at six and three, so they’re not quite old enough to play with each other and Nelly gets frustrated because Arthur can’t do things. It kicks off and they’re chasing each other around the house.
Billie has told us before that she wants a big family. Would you like more children?
Well, you’ve asked me straight after lockdown. In lockdown I was like, “This is why we can’t have any more!” We’re not quite ready at the moment and we’ve got a house to sort and it’s the wrong time, but I’d never say never.
Do Nelly and Arthur want another sibling?
Billie has mentioned it to Nelly and Nelly said she’d like a sister.
Cute! How have you found homeschooling?
Hard! Nelly went, “Right, we’ve got to do the nouns.” I started Googling it and she was telling me what a noun is. The first few weeks I was enjoying it because Nelly was enjoying it – because it was Dad and Mum teaching them. Billie called herself Miss Marshmallow and I was Mr Shepherd. Then the novelty started wearing off. It was fun at first, but then it got harder and harder.
Is Nelly happy to be back at school?
Yeah. Arthur’s at nursery now too and he loves it. I think they needed it and Mum and Dad needed it, too.
Have you and Billie had any rows during lockdown?
Nah, nothing major. Only the usual being around each other 24/7. We have our moments like any couple, but I’m still living at home!
You had a fabulous wedding last year in The Maldives. Would you be tempted to do it all over again for a vow renewal ceremony?
I would love to do that. Getting 100 people in The Maldives isn’t easy – and it’s not cheap either. Even if it was with a more intimate group, I’d definitely do a 10-year, maybe even five-year renewal – because then it’ll be sooner!
Would it be in The Maldives again?
Definitely. It’s my favourite place in the world.
What’s the secret to a happy marriage?
You’ve got to always have close friends and do things with your friends as well as your partner. It’s about finding that balance and not being around each other constantly and also helping each other out. Lockdown was hard, but it’s nice to break it up a bit and come to work and send out my new books every day. Especially when you’ve got young kids, you never get a chance to switch off. And always make time and plan date nights. I always have to book the nights out!
Have you managed to squeeze in any date nights?
We cook for each other and we try to, but it’s never peaceful at dinner time in the Shepherd house.
Do you love being part of The Mummy Diaries?
Yeah. When I first started doing it I was really nervous. When they put the mic on me I was like, “Whatever I say is going on TV!” But now I’ve embraced it and I enjoy it. It’s work and it’s part of our lives.
Is there anything off limits from the cameras?
We’re quite honest and people tune in to watch the show because they relate to it. It gives parents a sense of relief, like, “My daughter does that.” It’s important for us to show how it is and not just the glamorous side.
Do you enjoy the fame side of things?
Yeah. I enjoy it and I’m not shy about it. I went out with Billie when she was in TOWIE, so I got a glimpse of it all. It hasn’t just happened overnight and I’ve slowly come into it. I like to think I’m quite comfortable.
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What made you decide to write your own children’s books?
I wanted to start a new venture. It started nine months ago and a friend of mine said, “Why don’t you get involved with kids’ books?” It must have been a sign because the night before I was lying in bed with Nelly reading her a book and sometimes I don’t just read a book, I’ll make things up. I’d always incorporate Nelly and Arthur, so the stories were about things we’d done that week, like going to the farm or safari or the park. I read an article about David Walliams absolutely smashing it so I thought, why not?
So could we be seeing you in a reality show like I’m A Celeb next?
I’ve already told Xanthe [Greg’s manager] that I’d do any of them.
How would you cope with the creepy crawlies?
I’d struggle with the spiders, but I’d do it. What an experience! Or even learning to dance on Strictly. It would be a privilege to do any of those shows.
Nelly & Arthur’s Big Day Out: The Farm can be purchased at nellyandarthursbigdayout.com
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