Inside Gogglebox stars’ lives before the show – including how Jenny and Lee met
27th February 2021

Dissecting almost everything on television, from the 10pm news to Naked Attraction with the same level of passion and enthusiasm is part of the reason why the nation holds the Gogglebox cast so close to their hearts.

Each set of family and friends have their own unique take on some of TV's biggest moments, we as viewers have become so accustomed to their sense of humour and controversial opinions it is a difficult task to imagine what they were like before the show's fame.

Though millions of us can't get enough of their hot takes on the latest Netflix series, what we all really want to know is what they are like once the cameras have stopped rolling.

A large portion of the show's cast look completely unrecognisable now from their younger days, reports the Mirror.

The faces we have welcomed into our homes every Friday evening looked drastically different before the rise of Gogglebox, take a look:

The Michaels

Barring a brief hiatus, the Michael family are the longest serving members on the show.

Dad Andrew is always joined by wife Carolyne, with the pair now retired, and most commonly by son Louis.

There are two daughters in the family, with Alex featuring on the show more often but lookalike sister Catheryne has also appeared and left viewers puzzled due to their similarities.

Brother Pascal has not yet made an appearance on the show but there are a number of pictures of him on their various social media accounts.

Daughter Alex has uploaded an Instagram snap of the siblings in a field during their childhood years, while youngest brother Louis also took to Instagram to share a pic of all the kids, with the girls wearing matching pink dresses and boys in the same denim dungarees.

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The Michaels have long been a staple of the show, though were briefly removed in December 2014 after father Andrew revealed he was running as an MP for UKIP in the Hastings and Rye seat in the 2015 general election.

Channel 4 producers were not keen on the idea of having someone on the sofa who could potentially hold a political seat, and the family were swiftly axed.

Carolyne conceded the family were devastated over their departure and were left in tears after being given just five days to choose between the show and her husband's budding political career.

She went on to reveal how she did not want to leave, and found the show "too painful" to watch during the series they were axed from.

Thankfully, the Michaels were invited back in September 2015 as Andrew decided to put his political career on hold.

Pete and Sophie

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Two of the show's most popular cast members, Sophie and Pete Sandiford's dry humour and quick-wit is part of what has made them a huge asset to the programme.

The pair both remain living at home together, so it helps they clearly share a similar sense of humour.

Both Pete and Sophie's social media profiles are littered with childhood throwback snaps, such as the one posted by Sophie on Instagram showing the pair sitting side by side on the sofa in true Gogglebox style, with Pete appearing to say something funny while Sophie stares beside him.

As part of Pete's 27th birthday celebrations, Sophie took to social media to share a snap of Pete as a child stood next to Sophie while rocking a back-turned cap and massive dark sunglasses.

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Pete responded to the pic by commenting: "The Velcro on those shoes was a bit long – need another pair of them."

To which Sophie quipped: "@sandifordpete maybe Father Christmas might bring you some with some chord pants if you’re lucky."

Outside of the show, Pete works in insurance while Sophie is a shop window dresser.

There are more Sandiford's who have yet to appear on the show – a brother called Harry and sister Lucy.

A little known fact about the pair is that they are related to the Chuckle Brothers, with Sophie and Pete the great niece and nephew of Paul and the late Barry Chuckle.

Jenny and Lee

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Jenny Newby and Lee Riley are part of the furniture when it comes to Gogglebox.

Appearing on the show since 2014, the pair are often mistaken for mother and son or even husband and wife – but they are simply best friends and have been for over two decades.

They met while Jenny was the Landlady of a pub in Paull, East Yorkshire, where Lee was a regular.

Lee sent Gogglebox fans wild in May of last year when he shared a snap of the pair in 2004 while one a cruise holiday together.

In the pic, Jenny looked unrecognisable as she adopted an edgy dark brown bob and was gripping onto a bouquet of flowers.

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Lee was quick to dispel any rumours of the snap being a wedding pic, captioning the image "Old photo 16 years ago of me and Jenny on a cruise taking the p**s and no before you ask we didn’t get married."

He went on to wait just one month before revealing another throwback snap, this time with Jenny wearing a black dress and gold necklace while Lee oozes dapper in a black tuxedo.

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The pair are both in happy, long-term relationships with other people who do not wish to take part in the show.

Jenny is married to husband Ray, while Lee has been with partner Steve Mail for 26 years.

Originally, Jenny was asked to take part with Ray, but after he said no, Lee stepped in to save the day at the audition.

Ellie and Izzi Warner

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The sisters from Leeds have been regulars on the show since series 6.

They are often seen enjoying tasty treats on the show, with Ellie taking to social media to share an adorable childhood picture of her eating on a bouncy castle.

She captioned the image: "Doing what I do best.. eating in a party dress."

Ellie, the oldest of the two sisters, is a hairdresser and remains at the family home, while nail technician Izzi lives with her boyfriend Grant and is mum to five-year-old son Bobby and daughter Bessie Rose, who was born in February last year.

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Izzie took the opportunity of Ellie's birthday to share more throwback snaps, including a series of school photos in their uniforms.

During the summer, Izzi was briefly replaced for an episode by Ellie's boyfriend after the country went into lockdown, but she was back the following week.

Shirley and Dave

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Welsh couple Dave and Shirley Griffiths have been a regular fixture on Gogglebox since 2015.

Last year, Dave shared a beautiful picture of the pair on their wedding day to mark mark their 45th anniversary together.

In the amazing snap from the 70s, Dave has long blonde hair which is parted in the middle – in stark contrast to the short, cropped look we have come to recognise on the show.

Dave captioned the image: "45years tomorrow, this girl wished upon a star and her dreams came true, Happy anniversary darling."

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He went on to add the hashtags "life goals" and "bliss" underneath the romantic wedding snap.

Dave is a cleaner in a factory, while Shirley works in retail in Caerphilly.

They have two children, Gemma and Simon, as well as a two-year-old bulldog called Blue.

Stephen and Daniel

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One of the only cast members who has featured from the very beginning, Stephen Webb is one of Gogglebox's biggest stars.

He has been a staple on our screens for so long it is difficult to find an image of him before his days on the show, but in 2015 the hairdresser shared a classic snap of his journey climbing in the Himalayas.

At the beginning of his time on the show, Stephen was accompanied by ex-boyfriend Chris, the duo behind one of the programme's most iconic moments.

"We all like a bad boy though, don't we," conceded Chris as he sat watching the television. Clearly watching a serious show or event unfold, a stunned Stephen responded with: "Yeah, not a f***ing terrorist though Chris. There's a bad boy and then there's evil."

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Sadly, things were not harmonious behind the scenes. The pair were engaged in a bitter feud that ultimately ended their friendship entirely.

Chris left the show in February 2018, never returning and instead replaced by Stephen's husband Daniel Lustig-Webb who has joined Stephen as a regular on the show.

There was a brief period between Chris's departure and Daniel's arrival where Stephen's mum Pat stepped in as a hilarious replacement.

In the summer of last year, Stephen and Daniel took to Instagram to celebrate what was their two-year wedding anniversary.

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The couple wed at a stunning ceremony in Chateau de Lisse in Lot-et-Garonne, France.

One snap showed the pair donning matching red umbrellas in their suits.

Daniel captioned the images, which were a mix of selfies and wedding day snaps: "Happy anniversary to my wonderful husband . Ywo [sic] years ago we were getting married with all our friends and family . You are my rock love you #teamlustigwebb all the way #anniversary #husbandsofinstagram"

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