We’re not exactly sure when Gary Lineker achieved National Treasure status, but the 52-year-old is definitely up there. Gary Winston Lineker OBE (to give him his full title) has been married to wife Danielle for three years, and has four sons (George, Harry, Tobias and Angus) from his first marriage and he’s step dad to Ella, 10.
So Gary, what was it like travelling around with your dad Barry for the new Walkers campaign?
There’s always something funny happening when my dad’s around! We were in an old 1970s camper van, which was painstakingly slow and difficult to steer. We made a little film and with my dad’s life as a market trader and fruit seller and vegetables as well.
Did your dad instill a love of fresh food in you?
Yes, certainly a love of fruit and vegetables! But he was so busy working. He would go out at four in the morning and come back at six at night and then do his book work and generally fall asleep on the couch. They were tough hours.
Did the trip bring you closer to your dad?
We’ve always been close, but it was nice to spend a bit more time together. It was fun to have three full days with him.
What kind of a dad are you?
I think it’s important to spend lots of time with my children, but I don’t think they think it’s important! George is 21 now and the youngest is 15, so they’re getting older and more and more into their own lives.
You Tweeted congratulations to Harry for passing his driving test, did you pass first time?
I genuinely can’t remember if it was first or second. I was having this conversation with my mum the other day and she said she thought it was the second time. Harry failed his theory about 847 times! We always thought he was a good driver, so once he passed that, he was fine, but he just wasn’t very good at revising as he showed in his exams. But it’s great that he passed first time.
How does it feel having a stepdaughter?
I spend a lot of time with Ella because she lives with us and she’s lovely. Obviously it’s different having a girl around. They’re different creatures! I think they tend to work harder and try a bit more than boys do. It’s lovely to have a girl around. After four boys, I’m glad she wasn’t another boy!
Do you feel pressure to keep looking buff?
Not really, I’ve worked out all my life because of the nature of my work. After I finished playing football, I did stop exercising for a few years. I just wanted a rest and I didn’t like not feeling fit. I got going again when I was about 40 and now I train two or three times a week. Not necessarily to look buff on the beach! Although that’s obviously better than looking flabby on the beach. But for fitness and health, it’s just good for you.
Are you careful with diet now too?
Yeah. The reason I work out so hard is because I love food, I think. You have to have some sort of balanced diet and I think I’ve always been fairly respectful of that. You have to have your treats but it’s all about getting the right balance between your diet and exercise.
You’ve recently taken part in BBC1’s Who Do You Think You Are, what can you tell us?
I can’t say anything at all, apart from the fact that I loved the experience. It was brilliant to go back and discover a couple of genuinely, really interesting stories. It doesn’t come out until the end of the summer.
What made you want to do it?
Danielle’s always been fascinated by her family tree and she’s investigated it. I’d never really taken much interest until I got the offer from the BBC, and she convinced me to do it. I’m really glad she did. It was a unique opportunity to have people research your background for so long and dig up things like that.
We have to ask – are you addicted to Twitter? You recently quit only to rejoin a week later…
Ha, I was going to take a break because I was spending a bit too much time on it for my own liking. I just decided to stop to see if I could actually live without it, which I could. But it did create a bit of a furore which took me aback a bit! I probably shouldn’t have said it was for personal reasons. My personal reason was that I was spending too much time with my phone in my hand! But now I’m back and controlling Twitter rather than letting it control me.
What’s it like being mates with David Beckham?
We get on well, we’ve met a few times over the years. That’s what I like about Twitter, you can have a bit of banter and a bit of fun with people.
Last question – would you ever have your ears pinned back?
They’re definitely my trademark! I once said as a complete joke that I’d have my ears done, and it was taken literally, so I’m wary of saying that in the future. I don’t know what I’d do without them to be honest! It would destroy me.
Gary Lineker can be seen on screen with his dad Barry Lineker for the first time as Walkers celebrate the homegrown ingredients in their delicious crisps. Watch the video at youtube.com/walkerscrisps or below
To read our Five Minutes with chef Monica Galetti, click here: http://www.womansown.co.uk/?p=18633