Paddy McGuinness’s wife Christine has said they are “struggling” living in isolation with their three autistic children.
The model and fitness enthusiast, who has six-year-old twins Penelope and Leo and three-year-old daughter Felicity with the Top Gear host, also spoke of her difficulties in trying to get specific items to feed her children as shoppers across the UK continue to panic-buy amid the coronavirus crisis.
Christine, 32, told ITV’s This Morning via video-link from her home that they “never spend this much time together” as a family, adding: “But we’re doing all right, we have our moments, but we’re doing OK.”
On how her children are finding living in isolation, she said: “It’s really, really difficult.
“Honestly, online we’re trying to keep it really positive and fun, but at home we are struggling.
“It’s just been so difficult this week, trying to explain to the children that we’ve got to stay indoors … when we’ve spent years and years encouraging our children to go to places and to go out at the weekend.”
She said Penelope in particular is having a difficult time, as she “really struggles with anxiety as well as autism”.
“So she’s already gone really quiet in herself, I’m not getting as much out of her, her communication isn’t as good,” Christine added.
“So I am worried about what sort of effect this is going to have if we are stuck in for another couple of months. But, ultimately, we have got to stay home to stay healthy and well.”
Christine asked viewers not to stockpile food because her children, and others with autism, prefer to eat specific things.
“There are hundreds, if not thousands, of families in the same position where their child may only eat one brand of pasta and they can’t get that any more,” she told the programme.
“This isn’t as simple as saying ‘Oh, your child is fussy. They’ll eat if they’re hungry.’ They won’t. Some children and adults with autism have really strong aversions to food.
“My son, for example, will only eat brown bread for his toast every morning, that is part of his routine. Once I run out of this loaf of brown bread that I have got now, I haven’t got any and I can’t get any.
“I’ve got about six days to try and find a loaf of brown bread so he can have his breakfast, because he’s not going to have anything else.”
Christine, who married the TV presenter in 2011, said she was surprised when Leo used the word “coronavirus” earlier this week and asked what it was, and when it would “go away”.
“And it really threw me and I just tried to keep it really simple, pick out the important bits.
“Again, explaining that coronavirus is something that is affecting a lot of people and we need to stay away from it, and that is why we need to stay at home.”
The McGuinnesses revealed that their twins had autism in 2017, on their fourth birthday.
They told their fans in February that Felicity had also been diagnosed with autism.