Christine Lampard makes no apologies for stepping back from her full-time telly career to focus on her family – although two kids, she says, is quite enough.

“I’m too old,” laughs the 43-year-old Loose Women panellist, as she ponders the prospect of adding to her brood.

“I think if I was younger I would have thought about it, but I feel very blessed with the two of them – and I’m knackered!

"I rarely find time for myself. If I have them both asleep by 9pm I watch TV for an hour and go to bed. I stepped away because I decided to have children – I say decided, but I was slightly blessed with it much later.

"So I spent all my twenties and thirties doing anything I wanted. When they came along I thought, ‘This is the new chapter.’ Although, weirdly I feel like I’m busier than ever!”

With her Northern Irish charm and refreshing lack of ego, Christine has been an indispensable asset to daytime telly, working on a part-time shift schedule that allows her to prioritise her husband Frank, 44, and their three-year-old daughter Patricia and 17-month-old son Freddie.

However, this summer, her workload has revved up a gear as she has returned to stand in for Lorraine Kelly with co-host Ranvir Singh on ITV’s Lorraine.

Luckily, the Lampards’ London home – a stone’s throw from Chelsea’s football ground – is just a seven-minute drive from the ITV studios in White City, meaning Christine can leave at 6am and be back with her kids by 11am.

Meanwhile, her husband, Everton FC manager Frank, is currently residing in their second home in Liverpool a four-hour drive away, although the distance keeps things “exciting”.

“I think when there’s distance you have to make things good,” she says.

“We always say goodnight to each other and speak first thing in the morning. FaceTime changes everything – we live our life with FaceTime. The little ones love it now.”

And when the former Chelsea legend is at home he pulls his weight. “There’s no timetable with the kids – you just do what you have to do,” says Christine.

"Frank is brilliant when he gets back home. They adore him – it’s like God has walked in.”

When Christine was introduced to Frank by Piers Morgan at the Pride Of Britain Awards in 2009 she was TV’s hottest star as host of The One Show, while he was at the height of his football fame playing for both Chelsea and England.

The secret to their 13-year solidarity, in which a long-distance set-up has been ever-present, is that they’re very similar.

“We tend to see things the same way,” she says. “He could go into
a restaurant now and order for me, and we’d probably end up eating the same thing. We’re very in tune with each other.”

Of course, it’s not all rosy. “Frank won’t put the dishes in the dishwasher,” laughs Christine.

“I bang on about this on a daily basis – it’s almost easier to put it in the dishwasher than it is to pile it all up! Or at the end of the night he takes his socks off and I’ll go, ‘What are you going to do with the socks?’ I tell him they’ll go in the bin if he doesn’t pick them up.”

While Christine admits she doesn’t get much alone time with Frank, they worked out a tactic to let their hair down during a family holiday to Ibiza for his 44th birthday in June.

“Back in the day I would have been going to the clubs, but now we do beach clubs in the daytime – we can have a little cocktail here and there when they’re playing in the sand.

"It’s all a bit more gentle than my first trip to Ibiza when I was 18. I couldn’t do that any more – I already know I’m going to hear ‘Mama!’ like I did this morning at 6am, so what’s the point?”

Her family, including her musician dad Ricky, retired accountant mum Mina, and sister, Nicola, who live in Ireland, and two teenage stepdaughters, Luna, 16, and Isla, 15, from Frank’s previous relationship with Elen Rivas, are her world.

Patricia was named after Frank’s late mum and Freddie after her dad Frederick.

But having the responsibility for her children has had an overwhelming effect.

Christine says her anxieties were ignited during pregnancy and increased significantly since becoming a mum.

“I just worry about everything – the other day my little girl had a mark on her back and I’m straight away pressing it to see if it disappears,”
she says.

“I’ve got thermometers dotted all over the house. I loved being pregnant but I was stressed terribly going for scans – ‘What if they find something?’ I didn’t relax the entire time.”

Sending her love to reality TV star Lauren Goodger, whose newborn daughter Lorena died last month, Christine says, “I was reading today that she wanted a postmortem. My God, the grief. I don’t know how you begin to deal with that.”

Christine takes care of her mental health by living in the moment. “If I go out for dinner, I’m not sitting there looking at my phone all night,” she says. “I try my best to enjoy the moment rather than looking ahead.

"If it wasn’t for Frank, nothing in our house would ever happen – he is very good at planning, but his life has always been that way.

"He knows now what he’s doing on 14 December because of football, whereas I don’t. It’s a nice balance.”

Christine wed Frank in 2015 at St Paul’s church in Knightsbridge, at a ceremony attended by their personal Cupid, Piers, and a host of celebrities.

Her father, a drummer in a band, was playing alongside Ed Sheeran – who was on tour with his album X at the time – when another special guest jumped on the mic: Frank’s maternal cousin Jamie Redknapp.

“We’re very lucky to be mates with Ed,” says Christine. “He’s a big football fan. He’s a very, very good mate and he moved mountains to be able to be there on our day, which we’ll never ever forget. My dad drummed with him – and Jamie got up and did a rap.”

In October last year, ex-England footballer Jamie tied the knot too – he married model Frida Andersson before their first child together, Raphael, was born the following month.

“I haven’t seen him yet,” says Christine of Raphael. “He is the cutest! He’s gorgeous looking – a real mixture of the two of them.

"Frank’s been away all of June and now he’s up there, and then they went away on a boat somewhere before we went away… but we get sent pictures! We can’t wait to meet him.”

The conversation of football legends running in Frank’s family ricochets to Love Island and 21-year-old Danica Taylor’s fears about dating a footballer after hooking up with Jamie Allen in the villa, due to the unflattering stereotypes.

“I think she’ll be fine – I’m not worried about Danica,” says Christine, although she admits she doesn’t know if she would have dated a footballer when she was Danica’s age.

“I definitely met Frank at the right time,” says Christine. “I was 29 and at that point, where you roughly know where you are. We were a bit more grown up and that’s what it boils down to, and then we as people clicked together.

"If we’d have met at 17, it’s harder then – but we’d done a lot of stuff and had forged our own careers. We appreciated it and married each other, if he had to go away with work, or I did, we had a nice balance. We were just a bit more grown up.”

And she has ex-Islander Luca Bish in her sights for a grilling on Lorraine. “That ‘punching’ stuff [on the show]. I mean, what?! Why would you say that? Even if you’re thinking it, why say that? If I get him on Lorraine I want to ask him that. Gemma [Owen, his partner] will bank that.”

When Christine met Frank, his two daughters were still very young. Now she is co-parent to two teenagers and admits she struggles with knowing how to protect them from what she deems the biggest threat to their happiness – social media.

“I love the fact I’ll find an old photograph from when I was at school and I think, ‘Oh my goodness, look at that’ and there’s one image, everything else is in your brain.

"Whereas their entire lives are catalogued and it’s there for all to see, always.

Then there’s the pressure – TikTok is their thing and it’s really influential – whether it’s a body image thing or whatever, I just think when you live your life through a lens in that way, it’s just not a good thing. I think it’s very intense for a teenager.

“It’s very difficult to control it when they have their own devices. Parents have a tough job now and teenagers have a tough job living normal lives.

"I wonder if it will all implode at one point, but I’m very grateful I’m not growing up in it.”

Despite doing zero exercise, Christine has never looked in better shape, crediting her toned arms to picking up her kids all the time. And she says her body confidence is at an all-time high, too.

“I think it’s maybe age and having two little ones,” she explains. “I’ve cared less than I’ve ever cared. I’m content with where I’m at considering I’ve given birth twice.

"I’ve breastfed them both, I’m happy with what my little body has managed to put together. I put on 3½st during pregnancy. I was massive! I’m amazed with what the female body can do.”

However, she admits there is one body hang-up that has lingered since her twenties. “I’ve never worn short skirts – I’m not a leg person,” she says. “I’ve never been one for anything above the knee.”

Following the success of England’s women in the Euros, Christine says her daughter Patricia is a little Lioness in the making, having grown up with Frank teaching her the magic touch since she could stand.

“Patricia is so good at kicking a ball, she goes to a football class every week at the minute. And my little boy – he loves kicking a ball, too. They kick the ball to each other.”

The next big occasion for the siblings now is their joint christening. “We were about to with Patricia then Covid hit, and then Freddie came along so funnily enough we thought we could do them both together.

"The guy that married us is happy to do that so we will do it. Then it’s all done.”

It’s now been 12 years since Christine’s replacement Alex Jones took the reins of The One Show, which catapulted Christine into the big-time of broadcasting, with viewers commenting on their similarities and branding them long-lost twins.

And as it turns out, there could be some DNA shared between them.

“Alex and I have talked about that loads and we were like, ‘We don’t get
the comparison.’

But recently my mum said she thinks there could be a relation on my dad’s side who went to Wales – a family connection,” reveals Christine.

“She knows all of this stuff, she’s like Walking DNA Woman, and she knows the exact specific link that she thinks could make us related.”

So how does it feel watching Alex in the driving seat of the show that launched her into the spotlight?

“It was a remarkable experience, but it’s parked in time now,” says Christine. “When I watch it now it’s like it never happened. It was my first experience in London.

"I remember getting off the Tube in Shepherd’s Bush and going, ‘Oh my
God, where am I?’ I was there for two or three years and lived in a hotel for the first six months.”

Once the baby years are over, does she expect to make a return to full-time TV? Christine’s ‘living in the moment‘ approach is evident again as she says: “At the minute, I’m doing two big daytime shows that I feel really proud of.

“Patricia watches me on TV and she does a lot of jumping at the telly, going ‘Mummy, Mummy, Mummy’. I took her into Loose Women recently and she got very shy and nervous, but she loved it.

“I don’t think of myself as a role model – I just think of myself as a mummy who cooks and cleans and wipes bottoms a lot of the time.

"The most important thing is I’m doing something I love and that’s perfect for me right now.”

Watch Christine host Lorraine on various weekdays throughout the summer, 9am, ITV & ITV Hub.

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