Inside I'm A Celeb star Richard Madeley's younger years from tragic child abuse to infidelity
28th November 2021

RICHARD Madeley left his fans heartbroken earlier this week as he was barred from returning to I'm A Celebrity… Get Me Out Of Here.

The Good Morning Britain star had been rushed to hospital in the early hours of Thursday morning after falling unwell at the Gwrych Castle camp.


Having broken the show's 'Covid bubble', Richard, 65, was forced to pull out of the hit ITV competition and return home just days after it started.

He opened up to his social media following that he was "absolutely fine" and left "gutted" at leaving the castle after he was "taken to hospital as a precaution".

The TV presenter left his fans devastated after only competing in one Bushtucker Trial and just minutes of air time since entering the castle grounds.

But it's not the first time Richard has faced tricky times – having been dished out tragedy throughout his life, from a difficult upbringing to tragic baby loses.

Here, we take a deep dive into Richard's life behind the scenes: his childhood, family and the tragic secrets of his personal life.

A difficult childhood

Richard opened up about his early years in his book Father and Sons – which tells of how issues throughout his life began with his grandfather being abandoned.

At the age of ten, Geoffrey Madeley was left without a family as he moved from Worcester to Liverpool with his parents and six brothers and sisters.

Richard claims his grandfather's tragedy came "straight from the page of Dickens", as he was left abandoned at his uncle's farm after falling asleep there.

His parents had left to catch a ship to Merseyside, leaving the little boy alone in the house – having been left to become a labourer as part of a deal.

Geoffrey was "collateral" to secure a passage for the family to Canada – and he was forced to work the land while his family escaped forever.

Richard explains in his book: "When I was a teenager, on one of my long walks with him, I asked, ‘Didn’t you even get a chance to say goodbye, Granddad?’

"With perfect composure he replied, ‘No. No, I didn’t.’ He was not treated like a slave, he was, after all, family. But he had become something close to a chattel."

Richard blamed his grandfather's tragic abandonment on how he would beat Richard's father Christopher, starting a cycle of abuse in his family.

Violent beatings from his father

The Good Morning Britain host has since revealed that he suffered violent beatings at the hands of his father Christopher.

He was left badly scarred for months as a child from "the cane", which he would be hit with for any behaviour that his father deemed unacceptable.

"I was seriously beaten," Richard opened up on the ITV programme. "I am still angry about it. I swore I would never lay a finger on my kids."

Richard has two children with his wife and fellow TV presenter Judy Finnigan – Jack, 35, and Chloe 34, and is a step-father to Judy's two children.

He told The Guardian about his childhood beatings, saying: "He thought it was acceptable, and it was back then. The beatings were learned behaviour.

"When my father beat me it was out of hand – and I realise now that it was because he was dealing with a lot of buried anger."

Christopher died aged 49 from coronary thrombosis – a tragic death with led Richard to quitting smoking as he wanted to avoid the same demise.

Richard wrote of his dad's passing: "He managed to drive himself to his front door, fumbled desperately with the key, staggered inside and collapsed into my appalled mother’s arms. He had three minutes to live."

He revealed his last words were "disappointingly mundane", adding: "No last pearl of wisdom; no sweeping but pithy summary of forty-nine years of existence.

"He gasped, ‘Do you have to lean on me so bloody hard?’ before his life winked out with the sudden totality of a power cut."

A near-death experience

Richard almost died as a child after he contracted pneumonia, as he recalled asking his mother during the scary time: "Mummy, am I going to die?"

He said: “The reason I remember this so clearly was that my mother brought my bed downstairs to the living room, and the custom then was this only ever happened one step before death.

“This was why, when my father died of cancer, he refused right to the end to have his bed downstairs.

"One day, very alarmed, I said to my mother, ‘Mummy, am I going to die?’. This must have been on my birthday because I remember mum had a cake with candles on it, and I was too weak to blow them out.”

Turning to crime?

The journalist was caught shoplifting in 1994 as he later revealed that he had become "overconfident" in his teenage years, following a tricky childhood.

In 2008, he revealed that he mistakenly took a bottle of Champagne through the till on his food shop – but he didn't get away with it.

"I put the food through the till, I forgot to take the champagne out," he told The Guardian.I can handle anything, I can juggle eight balls in the air, and actually I came a horrible cropper. I can joke about it now."

He was taken to court and luckily cleared of charges – but admitted the publicity for the shoplifting incident was "mortifying".

"If I'd been accused of robbing a bank, at least it's got a bit of glamour to it, but f***ing shoplifting… It's like w***ing in a public toilet. Just horrible," he concluded.

A string of affairs

Following his father's passing, Richard admitted that he had "about ten" affairs during his marriage to first wife Lynda Hooley.

He told Piers Morgan's Life Stories in 2009 about his behaviour, explaining their marriage got off to a "bad start" and it "fell apart".

The star confessed to cheating on his wife "numerous times" during their five years together, estimating he'd been with ten other women.

"Although the marriage had some very happy moments, there was a lot of negativity in it," he told Piers of their relationship.

"I'm not using that as an excuse. It's wrong to have affairs, but I was a very young man."

Heartbreaking baby loss

Before the birth of children Jack and Chloe, Richard and Judy, 73, suffered a devastating miscarriage with their first baby.

Richard opened up to The Telegraph during Baby Loss Awareness Week in 2018, saying: "Judy was 16 weeks pregnant when she went for a routine scan."

The couple, who wed in 1986, recalled the day the nurse rushed towards him to tell him the horrific news about their child.

He said: "But I’ll never forget the nurse hurrying towards me, an agonised expression on her face: 'Mr Madeley, you need to come this way…'

"I joined Judy in the examination room. Tears were streaming down her face: 'It’s died, Richard. It’s died'. The scan had revealed a perfect foetus with a non-existent heartbeat."

Judy was put into induced labour to deliver the foetus, which left the couple feeling "empty, cold, defeated and drear".


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