With daughter Gemma starring in this year’s Love Island, Michael Owen opens up on his son’s blindness and life as a father-of-four
With Gemma Owen rapidly rising to fame on this year’s instalment of Love Island, dad Michael has opened up about life as a family of six in Chester.
The former England footballer met wife Louise Bonsall at school and the pair were married in 2005 – two years after Gemma was born.
Along with their aforementioned eldest, the childhood sweethearts also share James, 15, Emily May, 14, and Jessica, 12.
The family live in a £4 million mansion that has enough room for Gemma’s 12 horses.
Speaking on Emily Dean’s Walking The Dog podcast, Michael discussed his relationship with his kids.
He said: “It’s really difficult from a parent’s point of view.
“You want to give your children the best start and the best chance.
“But you’re always wrestling with the fact that if I just make it so easy, and I can do this and do that, is she going to learn from any mistakes?
“You want money that much – there’s a pub down the road, go and work behind the bar or something. That’s my view.”
The 42-year old’s second oldest child – son James – suffers from a rare condition known as Stargardt disease, which causes the degeneration of the retina in the eye.
In an emotional interview with The Times, Michael revealed it would be impossible for James to follow in his footsteps.
“He will never be a footballer,” he said. “My son’s got an eye condition. I’ve never said this. I don’t want a big headline.
“Clinically, he’s blind. He’s got Stargardt disease, a degeneration of his retina.
“I used to go and watch him (play football) and b*****k him about his positioning. He can’t see the ball until it’s five yards away.
“Everyone always asks, ‘Is he going to be a footballer?’ and then I stand on the side of the pitch and hear, ‘He’s not as good as his dad.’
“As much as every father wants their son to play, it is almost a relief to me.”
Wife Louise, meanwhile, a keen rider like Gemma, suffered a horrific accident a year after her daughter’s birth, which resulted in a broken back, hip and pelvis and a lengthy hospital stay.
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