Inside Emma and Matt Willis’ unconventional marriage
EMMA and Matt Willis are one of the nation’s most loved celebrity couples.
The 45-year-old TV presenter and Busted singer, 38, tied the knot on 5th July, 2008, and have three children together, Isabelle, 11, Ace, nine, and Trixie, five.
Matt celebrated his birthday last week, and Emma shared a rare picture of all three of her children – who she never shows the faces of – giving their dad some presents.
While the married couple live in a huge £1.7million house in Hertfordshire, and have lots of celebrity pals, like Tom and Giovanna Fletcher, their relationship isn’t quite as conventional.
Emma and Matt have allowed their children to be who they want and wear what they want – even if that means their son, Ace, wears a pink crop top and sports long, blonde hair.
And, despite Emma supporting Matt through alcohol and drug addictions, he recently confessed that Scientology nearly split them up.
Rocked by addictions
Emma and Matt met in 2004, when he was in Busted and she was presenting MTV.
They started dating the following year, but it hasn’t always been an easy ride for them, as Matt was in and out of rehab for alcohol and drug addictions in the 2000s.
In fact, he sought help just three months into their relationship.
But Emma stuck by him, and refused to leave his side.
She previously told The Telegraph: “I wasn’t going to leave him because he had a problem.
“I wanted to help him, but he had to help himself and I believed he would.”
Matt has been sober since 2008, but Emma believes it was becoming a dad that forced him to turn his life around.
The former Big Brother host said: “‘What really changed him was our daughter, Isabelle.
“He was already doing it [recovery] himself, then she arrived and that made him even more determined.”
‘Scientology almost ripped us apart’
Despite Emma standing by her man, Matt recently told The Sun how he became “fully invested” in Scientology – an organisation that believes humans are immortal spiritual human beings and has faced accusations of brainwashing.
Matt revealed how he made daily visits to the London headquarters of the movement – that John Travolta and Tom Cruise are a part of.
But he started to realise the group was trying to separate him from his wife, Emma.
He told us: “I was fresh out of rehab, a bit lost in the world. I was walking down Tottenham Court Road and I got approached by a guy who asked me a few simple questions.
“Before I knew it, the next week I arrived at the doors to the Scientology building. Every single day I went there. I bought different books and did different courses. I was in.
“They buddied me up with a young guy who was very, very involved. His mum and dad were part of the big leagues. We did some one-to-one work, all questions about my life — what’s going on, what’s holding me back and holding my potential back?
“They were like, ‘There’s someone in your life who’s actually draining you, who’s a negative force, and it’s normally the person closest to you’. And it’s like, ‘I think they’re trying to split my f***ing marriage up now’.
“They were trying to force this weird opinion on me. When I look back at it, I was like, ‘Are you trying to separate me from everybody else?’
“Then you’re fully in because you’ve got no family or friends and your family and friends are the Church of Scientology. It took me a while to go, ‘Wait a sec, what the f*** is this?’
“They didn’t want me to f***ing leave. They brought other people in when I was talking about it to talk about what concerns I may have.
“I just never went back, stopped picking up my phone to them. But they rang me every day for a month and they drop into my texts every six months, eight months, out the blue, like, ‘Hey, Matt, how are you doing?’”
Matt left the church after three months of study following a “big row”, but until recently he kept hold of Dianetics, the Scientology bible written by L Ron Hubbard.
He admitted on his podcast When No One’s Watching: “I only chucked Dianetics away about two years ago.
“I was like, ‘I’m going to f***ing read that one day’.
“I tried to. It is f***ing enormous and really boring. I got about eight pages in. It doesn’t make any sense.”
And he had one last warning for anyone interested in joining Scientology.
He said: “It’s a very, very weird place, so if anyone’s thinking about checking it out, I would advise against it.”
Last year, Emma was praised for “breaking gender stereotypes” when she shared a picture of her son Ace in the kitchen rocking a pink crop top and long, blonde tresses.
The Voice UK host captioned the post: “My little style icon ?? (Ace, not Matt ?).”
Fans praised the presenter in the image’s caption, with one saying: “Just shows how far we have to go in breaking down gender stereotypes. Pink is simply a colour. Hair grows. Let kids (or adults) wear whatever they want!”
But Emma was shocked by the reaction, as she later told Good Morning Britain: “It’s just my son in a pink top and for me that is normality.
“He loves colour, he’s always had long hair.
“He’s a very free and open-minded boy who doesn’t really, well, he’s like ‘why do I have to dress in green, blue or grey if I like pink, red, purple?’
“I’ve tried to raise him as a very open-minded young boy.”
She later exclusively told The Sun: “I think it’s a really individual, personal thing. You know, my son likes what he likes, and far be it for me to stop him expressing himself or experimenting however he likes with clothes.
“I see it as hair is hair, clothes are clothes and colour is colour. And, you know, if my son wants to wear a pink top, I’m certainly not going to stop him.
“Let kids explore. Kids love exploring. And they don’t just have to explore in the dirt with worms and spiders, they can explore with colour and clothes and hair.
“I just let him be him.”
Emma and Matt are often sharing glimpses into their £1.7million Hertfordshire home on social media, and, as you’d expect from such a stylish couple, it’s beautifully decorated.
Instagram snaps of the abode have shown the house’s large kitchen island unit, bright green sofa, leopard print cushions and a white piano.
One snap of their little boy showed him standing in their huge state-of-the-art kitchen, getting ready for a day out at the eye-catching marble-top island in the middle of the space.
And this isn’t the only glimpse that we have had of the Willis family home over the years, with Emma and Matt regularly showing off their enviable living space on social media.
Complete with an idyllic view, quirky artwork, plenty of instruments, and even Brit awards, the loved-up couple’s house couldn’t be more picture perfect.
The island appears to be a huge focal point in the house, with the family regularly gathering around it to prepare meals – and Emma also films several of her M&S food ads from that spot.
The pad also backs on to open farmland and is just a short drive from Elstree Studios for Big Brother and Celebrity Big Brother host Emma.
The couple are planning to give their traditional home a quirkier edge, and have been given the go-ahead by planners to build a Teletubbies-style grass mound at the bottom of their garden.
Emma and Matt are splashing out on an outdoor swimming pool and gym extension with a glazed link to their mansion.
Now they want to dump soil from the proposed pool excavation at the end of their garden to create a 5ft-high green mound similar to Teletubbyland in the 1990s kids’ TV series.
Their new-look garden will boast a sunken trampoline and oak swing for kids Isabelle, Ace and Trixie-Grace, and will also have four parasol roof-form trees in a cube-shaped plant bed, a green oak pergola with a green roof and banked borders.
Renewing their vows
To celebrate their 10th wedding anniversary in 2018, Emma and Matt had a vow renewal party at the the same venue they got married at, Rushton Hall in Northamptonshire.
And to make the day even more special, the couple asked for all of their female friends and family to wear their wedding dresses, and Emma did the same.
The guest list included Rochelle and Marvin Humes, Tom and Giovanna Fletcher, Danny and Georgia Jones, and Stephen Mulhern who surprisingly officiated the ceremony.
Matt – who formed McBusted with McFly – even got the McFly boys to play for the special day.
Emma explained why she’d asked guests to come in their wedding or bridesmaid dresses to Holly Willoughby and Phillip Schofield on This Morning.
She said: “I think it’s just quite nice to wear it again if you can, or just customise it.”
While Emma and Matt’s relationship isn’t conventional, it definitely works.