Peter Andre brutally admits 'I was an idiot' in poignant conversation with son

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Peter and Emily Andre
Peter and Emily Andre

Looking tanned and toned in a creaseless black t-shirt and gleaming white baseball cap, Peter Andre at 50 is a different man to the one who burst onto the party scene at just 22 years old.

While his infamous abs are covered by his dark sleeves with just a hint of tattoo on show, it’s clear he’s in better shape than most middle aged dads. And he’s the first to admit that he’s changed over the years, saying it’s all down to parenthood. “As a father I have learned a lot,” Peter admits. “It’s something I feel proud of because I think it’s very important to show you have changed as you get older.”

The TV personality is currently impressing viewers on Cooking with the Stars, but it was the catchy summer anthem Mysterious Girl first released in 1995 - in which he showed off his pin up looks and sleek abs - that first catapulted the pop singer into superstardom. His overnight fame led to a ‘blur of nightclubs and groupies’ but when you’re in the public eye, there’s no hiding from the evidence, even 30 years down the line.

“If you look back at some of the old footage of me, I was smoking cigarettes,” he says. “But the thought of me putting a cigarette in my mouth now is absurd. I also used to swear in my videos - effing and blinding, showing off. Now the kids are like, ‘Dad we never hear a swear word in the house.’”

Peter Andre brutally admits 'I was an idiot' in poignant conversation with son rriddqixxiqezinvPeter on Cooking With The Stars (ITV)

It’s natural to change your thinking as you get older, Peter insists, as he relays an honest conversation he had with 18-year-old Junior, his oldest child with ex-wife Katie Price. “I used to say things to Junior like pink is for girls, blue is for boys, girls kiss boys and boys kiss girls.

Peter Andre says he will 'leave the country' if kids decide to go on Love IslandPeter Andre says he will 'leave the country' if kids decide to go on Love Island

“But by the time he got to 12, I was sitting them down and saying ‘it doesn’t matter who you love as long as you are respectful and as long as you genuinely care for them’. And then Junior would throw something at me like ‘were you always respectful to your girlfriends?’ I would have to say to him ‘no, I wasn’t always, I was an idiot and my job is to teach you not to be that idiot!’”

Before his marriage to Katie Price, Peter was a bit of a ladies man enjoying a brief fling with WAG Rebekah Vardy and dating Mel B at the height of the Spice Girls’ fame in the '90s. Speaking on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories back in 2011, Peter admitted: “I really liked Mel but she broke my heart. She treated me like I’d treated other women in the past and she made me grow up.”

Peter Andre brutally admits 'I was an idiot' in poignant conversation with sonPeter with his wife Emily and his four children (peterandre/Instagram)

Settling down and having kids has changed all that - the TV personality has four children: Amelia, nine, and Theo, 6, with his doctor wife Emily MacDonagh as well as Junior and 16-year-old Princess with Katie. While he’s equally proud of all his offspring, Junior is the one who is following in his dad’s footsteps, recently signing a huge recording contract with Columbia Records. But is it fair that some people refer to Junior as a ‘nepo baby’ accusing his dad of nepotism after helping his eldest get started?

“What does that mean then if people put their kids in private school - or in better education- to try and give them a head start?” Peter responds. “You might get in the door but if you don’t work hard and if you’re not good at it, you’re not going to succeed. Junior is a hugely talented kid because he doesn’t just go in the studio and sing, he sits and he writes.

“He’s a good songwriter and I said to him from the start ‘if you’re going to do this, be a songwriter because if you’re just a singer, work will come and go. But if you’re a songwriter you’ll never go hungry because you can write for other people’. I’ve written with other artists including Gary Barlow and Ricky Wilson from the Kaiser Chiefs. The biggest regret I have is that I could always play chords on the piano but I could never play the piano, because I was too lazy to carry on.”

Peter Andre brutally admits 'I was an idiot' in poignant conversation with sonPeter carries Katie on I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! (Rex Features)

Peter met his second wife Emily after he became friends with her father, a surgeon, who removed his kidney stones during an emergency operation back in 2010. He still thanks his lucky stars and says he couldn’t wish for better in-laws, although he is less keen to talk about his strained relationship with his former mother-in-law Amy Price. Peter is taking legal action against Katie’s mum Amy after she called him ‘controlling’ and accused him of using Katie to ‘further his career’ in her book: The Last Word.

Katie and Peter first met on I’m A Celeb in 2004, falling madly in love in the jungle and marrying the next year. They split in 2009 and divorced in March 2012, but would he ever consider going back to the jungle? “A lot of people don’t know this but I’ve done I’m a Celeb twice,” he laughs. “I went on again in 2014, when Fatima Whitbread was there. I remember thinking ‘wow, what an experience’ but I’ve closed that book now. You can never say never, but the way I feel right now is no.”

Perhaps he enjoys his home comforts too much. Peter is working with sister brand to TK Maxx & off price retailer, Homesense and often shows off his stylish pad, complete with cinema room and hot tub, on social media. He says. “When I mentioned I was considering taking on the project, Emily walked me around the house and said ‘do you see this? It’s from Homesense’. It turns out two of my favourite silver statues are from there.”

Peter Andre brutally admits 'I was an idiot' in poignant conversation with sonPeter performing in his '90s heyday (Getty Images)

When he’s at home he loves to cook and is currently showing off his culinary skills on Cooking with the Stars, winning a cook off against Busted star Matt, who is married to the show’s presenter Emma Willis. “I actually thought he was going to fly through right until the end,” Peter smiles.“I think he’s a really good cook and it wasn’t awkward at all.

"Some people have been saying I have an unfair advantage but I’ve always been open about cooking at home. When I went on Strictly Come Dancing I remember people saying ‘well that’s not fair you’ve been performing since you were a kid’. But I’ve never trained as a dancer and I still didn’t win it.”

Peter Andre defends Molly-Mae's baby name as Kerry Katona warns her to change itPeter Andre defends Molly-Mae's baby name as Kerry Katona warns her to change it

He may not have trained as a dancer but he has been wowing audiences with his dance moves and ripped physique for decades, though he cringes now when his dad fishes out his old topless calendars. “When I go back to Australia, Dad’s got this calendar, I don’t know what year, it could have been the '90s, I can’t remember.

“When people come to the house he says ‘ah this is my son Peter, look he’s 107 years old and he looks like this,” he says in a comic Cypriot accent. “Right now the abs are hibernating, they’re chilling, they’re not due for an appearance any time soon. In my 20s I trained to look good, now I train to feel good. That’s much better for my physical and mental health.”

Peter recently admitted that he suffered a nervous breakdown at the peak of his singing career in the nineties fuelled by ‘casual sex, shirtless posing and arrogance’. Recently Robbie Williams spoke out about his body dysmorphia and struggles with mental health, something Peter says was ‘really brave of him’.

He says: “Robbie has had phenomenal success and him speaking out about it is going to help a lot of people. Us guys especially, we’ve got to put that bravado down - we’ve got to be able to talk about it because if you don’t it comes back and bites you later on. I kept it inside so that the coke bottle fills to the top and it’s like you’ve shaken it but the lids are not on properly, it’s going to explode at some point.”

* Peter Andre has partnered with Homesense to help everyone make their most of their homes this summer, whatever their budget! For more inspiration visit @homesense_uk and find your nearest store at homesense.com/find-a-store.

Jackie Annett

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