HE was a famous pop star, she was a medical student 17 years his junior – so it was understandable that few thought Peter Andre and Emily MacDonagh’s relationship would last.
But eight years later, the couple are proving the doubters wrong, celebrating their fifth wedding anniversary today.
The pair say they remain smitten, sharing common interests and values but with their different outlooks on life bringing a “balance” to their blended family.
Peter, 47, says: “We have two completely different ways of looking at things but we create a nice balance.”
That is a far cry from Peter’s stormy union with model Katie Price, which ended in him calling time on their three-and-a-half-year marriage in May 2009.
Peter, who has daughter Princess, 13, and son Junior, 15, with the reality star, told a pal at the time: “Katie has everything she could ever want. But it’s like she is insistent on pressing the self-destruct button. In the end, it all got too much.”
And although he is now loved up with Emily — with whom he has kids Millie, three, and six-year-old Theo — that is not to say he and his wife agree on everything.
While Peter is supporting Princess in her bid for YouTube stardom, Emily, 30, is adamant that Millie and Theo will not appear on social media.
Peter says: “I respect Emily’s decision to keep the kids out of the limelight.
“I also think that with kids these days, I have to let go of the reins as they are different to our generation.”
‘Disgusting social media comments’
Princess and Junior have been on TV since the day they were born and now have thousands of followers on Instagram and YouTube.
But NHS doctor Emily keeps Millie and Theo out of the spotlight, blurring their faces in pictures and on their reality show Life With The Andres.
Emily adds: “You didn’t make that decision at that time, Pete, but now we have the benefit of hindsight as well to see how it has been for Junior and Princess. Social media wasn’t really around then.”
Despite Emily’s efforts, with a pop star dad it is perhaps no surprise Millie has a taste for the limelight and wants to be a singer too.
Emily adds: “Millie has already asked me why her face can’t be shown on TV but I 100 per cent don’t think it’s the right thing to do.
“I’m going to stick to that until she’s able to weigh up the pros and cons but I don’t think that will be until she’s a teenager.
“I don’t think children understand the dangers of the internet.
“When people know who you are, it opens you up to so much potential scrutiny and abuse. You only have to read the comments.
“I’ve seen comments where people are horrible about a baby’s looks and celebrity kids. ‘She’s unlucky she looks like her dad’ and so on. It’s absolutely disgusting.
“The reason I don’t have social media is because I can’t take that. I am not strong enough to deal with that. How can they at their age?”
Peter admits bashful Millie’s desire to be a singer has taken him by surprise, as he was convinced she would want to be a doctor like her mum. He says:
“Junior has an amazing voice but he doesn’t want to sing in public. He wants to be a serious actor in films.
“Bista (Princess) is obviously doing her thing and wants to be a TikTok and YouTube star.
“Millie is interesting. She is so shy, like Emily, and we thought she would be a doctor.
“But recently she’s been grabbing my headphones in the studio and she’s singing all the time.”
For Emily, their relationship was never about a celebrity lifestyle, and she often forgets her husband’s fame.
She says: “To me he’s the same person he always has been — he’s just Dad or Pete.
“Because we don’t get out that much, sometimes when we do I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, I forget that everyone knows who you are’. I do find that a bit weird. Millie’s just getting to the age where she understands that people know who her dad is.
“She’ll say things like ‘Daddy, why does that man call you Peter Andre?’
“She said, ‘Someone at school said my dad’s famous. What does famous mean?’ It’s very sweet.”
The couple might seem like chalk and cheese to the outside world but they have plenty of similarities — even accidentally buying each other the same anniversary card.
Peter says: “We’re fundamentally the same — we love the same food, TV shows, holidays, the same things on holiday.
“We are two peas in a pod. But where we differ is we can be extremes but it’s a perfect balance for the kids.” Emily adds: “Our upbringing, families and morals are exactly the same — that’s probably why we’re the same.”
The couple met ten years ago when Emily was a medical student at Bristol University.
Peter had been due to appear at the Plymouth Pavilions when he was rushed to hospital with a trapped kidney stone in 2010.
Emily’s dad Dr Ruaraidh MacDonagh, a consultant surgeon, performed an emergency operation on him.
As a thank-you, the singer gave him a pair of tickets to his show.
The medic took along Emily, who quickly struck up a friendship with Peter.
For two years they were just pals, before finally becoming an item.
Peter says with a laugh: “It proves there’s no love without pain. We’re good friends as well as husband and wife, and I think that helps.”
For their anniversary, Peter had planned a romantic return to the Greek island of Santorini, where they spent their honeymoon after tying the knot at a posh country pad in Devon.
‘I was on my own – it was really, really hard’
However, coronavirus and lockdown meant they were forced to stay at home with all four children — though Peter has treated Emily to breakfast in bed by a local catering company.
But they could not be happier about it. Emily says: “We love days with the kids. We’re having a lovely day out in the garden now. They’ll get in the hot tub probably.” But Peter is not giving up hope of that dream trip abroad this year.
He says: “Of course that’s much harder now. Even if it were simple, I think Emily and I would be too scared to go somewhere and leave the kids behind in case there was a lockdown again and we couldn’t get back.
“As it stands, we’re just going to do something with the family. But maybe later in the year we’ll be able to visit our honeymoon spot again.”
Having seen first-hand the pain and suffering caused by the deadly virus while working on the front line in hospital, Emily is relaxed about staying home.
She says: “I just feel we’re so lucky we’ve all been healthy. No one we know closely has been really unwell. I’ve always said there are so many people in the world who never get to go on holiday in their lives, never go on an aeroplane.
“So I’m not going to whinge about not going on holiday.”
Peter shot to fame as a 16-year-old on Australian talent show New Faces and since then has worked to pursue a career in music, on stage and presenting television programmes such as ITV’s home transformation series 60 Minute Makeover.
But four months of lockdown has given him the chance to spend every day at home for the first time.
Emily, who grew up in Taunton, Somerset, says: “I don’t want him to go back to work, ever!
“There’s been a lot of times since we’ve been together that I feel like a single parent. When Millie was a newborn — she was probably six weeks old — I was a new mum and really young, and he was away filming 60 Minute Makeover.
“I’d moved here to Surrey. I knew not a single person.
“I was on my own in the house pretty much every day for two months. It was really hard.
“Now, I’m used to it. I’ve got more of a support network but it’s really nice to have him around a lot more.”
After three decades of hard graft and touring, Peter has enjoyed being a house-husband while Emily saved lives and fought coronavirus.
So is he thinking about retiring?
“I’m going to be 48 in February,” he says. “At some point I want to find the right balance. I already said that when I hit 50, I’ll find a balance that really works.
“There is a part of me that wants to get more of that, because I’ve loved being here. The kids have seen me every single day and we’ve bonded so much.”
As to whether they will have any more children, Emily says: “I feel like I change my mind on a daily basis.
“Part of me has a real urge, which I think you get sometimes.
“Where you think, ‘Theo’s going to school next year, am I going to miss having kids at home?’ It’s a really strong feeling sometimes . . .”
- LIFE With The Andres is screened on Wednesdays and Sundays from 7.30pm at youtube.com/thesun.
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