‘I’m smug about our sex life because it’s so good’: Spencer Matthews and Vogue Williams on how sex – and bickering – makes them tick as they open up about his Made In Chelsea ‘playboy’ past, This Morning rumours and why an open marriage isn’t for them
- Spencer and Vogue met in 2017 on Channel 4 reality show The Jump
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The tale of how Spencer Matthews proposed to Vogue Williams could have been a magically romantic story… but it didn’t quite turn out that way.
Given that his family owns a 10,000-acre Scottish estate and a slice of an idyllic Caribbean island they were guaranteed a spectacular backdrop, yet Spencer went down on one knee backstage at a London theatre after a performance of The Lion King.
‘I envisaged doing it during the actual show, coming out on Pride Rock with this ring I’d had made,’ he confesses. ‘But the Disney people said no.’
‘Thank God,’ laughs Vogue. ‘That would have made it worse.’
Spencer explains that the movie that inspired the show was his favourite childhood film and its story (‘which contains every possible human emotion’) still gets to him.
When the pair met on Channel 4 reality show The Jump in 2017, Spencer told Vogue on the very first day that they would marry
‘But it was a bit of a selfish proposal because it didn’t play such a significant part in Vogue’s childhood,’ he concedes.
‘And in the event the whimsical nature I was aiming for was a bit lost because there were some lions with us, probably exhausted from having two performances that day.’
Vogue rolls her eyes, laughing. ‘I think they just wanted to go home.’ Still, she did say yes. ‘And since we’re now married with three children and two dogs, technically it was successful.’
Spencer and Vogue met in 2017 on Channel 4 reality show The Jump. She was 31, he was 28.
‘And on the very first day we met I told her we would marry,’ reveals Spencer. ‘I was hungover and it was probably a little premature, but I was right!’
Obviously, they were both famous in their own right back then. He’d come to public consciousness as the lothario of the reality show Made In Chelsea, a cocky City type who was off-the-scale posh.
She was a stunning model who made her name on a reality show in Ireland and had gone on to marry the Westlife star Brian McFadden.
She says she wasn’t looking for love, and Spencer didn’t scream ‘suitable relationship material’. ‘He was running round with red flags all over him,’ laughs Vogue.
Yet here we are, in their Battersea apartment, with them hilariously bickering about everything from the school run to the text Vogue sent Spencer which didn’t have a ‘please’ or a kiss at the end (‘It felt like an order,’ complains Spencer, with a twinkle in his eye).
They do bicker brilliantly. Indeed, they’ve made a brand of it. It began in 2019 with their reality show Spencer, Vogue And Baby Too which saw them embracing parenthood for the first time.
Now they release a podcast twice a week and invite listeners to be ‘a fly on the wall’ of their marriage.
Spencer says he’s peeved that his dad ‘just thinks we turn up and talk for an hour’ whereas actually they have to plan what they’ll talk about.
Recent subjects have included space travel, Pot Noodles and open marriages. ‘Not for us,’ says Spencer. ‘Although I did tell Vogue she could go on a date with Harry Styles if she wanted.’
The couple release a podcast called ‘Spencer and Vogue’ twice a week, inviting listeners to be ‘a fly on the wall’ of their marriage
Next they’re taking their podcast to the stage for a series of live shows. How do you turn a podcast into a live show?
‘It’s a choreographed thing – not quite The Lion King but there will be a bit of dancing, a bit of stand-up and some nudity,’ says Spencer.
Vogue’s face suggests he’s joking about the last one. It might be a little x-rated though, because their sex life has come up in their podcast when Spencer shared with the nation the news that they’d been intimate almost every day for the previous few weeks.
It seems the nation was less thrilled than he was about this. ‘It turns out people don’t like you talking about how good your sex life is,’ he says.
Because it sounds smug? ‘It sounds smug because it is smug,’ he says.
Vogue interjects. ‘Spenny, shut up. We discussed this. We’re not talking about our sex life again.’
Married showbiz couples are certainly having a moment. Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy have a podcast too, as do comedian Chris Ramsey and his wife Rosie.
ITV are reportedly looking to install a Richard and Judy type combo on the This Morning sofa, and yes, Spencer and Vogue’s names have been mooted. And of course there’s the Beckhams’ Netflix documentary.
Yet these two provide the poshest showbiz pairing of them all. Spencer spent much of his childhood in the Caribbean, where his parents David and Jane own the A-list hotel Eden Rock on St Barths.
They have connections with royalty as well – Spencer’s brother James is married to Pippa Middleton, sister of the Princess of Wales.
I’ve been warned that they will not talk about the royals, but we can chat about their general poshness.
Spencer does admit Vogue struggles with the fact that their children – Theodore, five, Gigi, three, and Otto, one – talk like Little Lord Fauntleroys.
‘The older two come in saying, ‘Mummmeeeeee. I’ve just been to Tobias’s party and there was a pinata,’ says Spencer.
Pictured in Scotland, where Spencer’s family owns a 10,000-acre estate, with their children Otto, one, Theodore, five and Gigi, three
Yet although Vogue’s Irish accent doesn’t scream ‘toff’ in the same way, she’s from an upmarket background herself. Her stepfather is a businessman and property developer.
They tell me that Spencer’s dad loved Vogue when they met, but couldn’t quite get his head round her name.
‘He kept calling her Vouge,’ says Spencer. ‘Or Vaughan,’ she remembers (presumably confusing her name with composer Vaughan Williams).
Still, they married in 2018 at his family’s Scottish estate with only 25 family and friends there. They’d planned a bigger bash, but are rather glad they didn’t.
‘No disrespect to anyone who wants the big glitzy wedding, but I can’t think of anything worse than hosting 300 people to celebrate my love for Vogue,’ says Spencer.
Besides, Vogue had already done a showbiz wedding to her first husband. ‘I’ve done both,’ she says. ‘And I much preferred the smaller one.’
Although they do ooze more glitz than most, these two have not had gilded lives. Vogue lost her father Freddie in 2010, which she links to her getting married way too soon.
‘My dad was my best friend, but I don’t remember a time where he wasn’t sick. He’d had two heart attacks and a triple bypass. He had a great life drinking and smoking – this was a man who put butter on his chips – but it got him in the end.’
She married Brian not long afterwards. ‘My dad had died. I wanted to get out of Ireland. Things… tumbled.’
It was a very public romance, and a public divorce. ‘I’d got married way too young. I was 26. I had so much more growing up to do.’
Spencer has had his own demons to confront. He seems a little embarrassed now about his Made In Chelsea ‘cad’ persona and is at pains to say that even though it was a reality show, there was nothing real about it.
‘There are real relationships in life and there are those that might have been more for entertainment purposes,’ he says.
‘Our job – and I did see it as a job – was to provide drama, or face being replaced. We’d be told, ‘Things are getting boring, spice it up.’ So I look back now and don’t recognise that behaviour.’
Nor is he particularly proud of the hard-drinking party animal he was when he met Vogue.
He now runs a successful business making non-alcoholic drinks. It’s a direct result of his getting sober himself, but back in the day he drank to excess.
Royal connections: Vogue and Spencer with his sister-in-law, Pippa Middleton, sister of the Princess of Wales
‘When I was a City broker, part of the job was getting hammered. We’d go for lunch, and rarely go back to the office.’
Made In Chelsea gave him even more excuses. ‘I drank out of boredom. I was lazy. I had a heightened opinion of myself and probably thought, wrongly, that I could get another job at any time, so I drank. It felt great at the time.’
He continued this when he met Vogue but when she became pregnant in 2018, there was an epiphany.
‘I drank a whole bottle of whisky one night then struggled to get to bed. I knew I had to make a change.’
Did Vogue give him an ultimatum? ‘No, but it became evident that there was a good chance I’d lose my relationship with her if I carried on drinking at the levels I was.’
His relationship with alcohol is a little complicated now. He isn’t entirely teetotal, but prefers a life without alcohol and accepts he had a problem.
Would he use the term alcoholic? ‘I don’t love the term,’ he says. ‘It feels a bit filthy. On paper I would not happily call myself an alcoholic but when I went to see a therapist they classed me as a high-functioning alcoholic.’
Spencer’s childhood in St Barths sounds idyllic yet it was quite a stiff-upper-lip upbringing.
‘I can remember as a child not feeling like I had the ability to cry in front of my family. So if I fell off my bike and hurt myself, I remember thinking, ‘If I cry my dad will think less of me, or my dad will punish me, or I’ll be sent to a different room to cry on my own.’
‘It’s made me a bit black and white with feelings, and I feel like I’ve probably suppressed quite a lot of emotion, particularly around Michael’s death.’
His big brother Michael died when Spencer was just ten, and it’s something he’s still processing. Go-getting Michael, his hero, perished climbing Everest in 1999, aged just 22.
The family was shattered but coped stoically. ‘I felt even then I wasn’t allowed to be weak. We had to be strong and move through it as a family.’
Last year he returned to Everest to make a documentary. He wasn’t able to recover Michael’s body, but he did come back feeling more at peace ‘and less angry’.
Meanwhile some big parental decisions are looming. Spencer went to Eton, will their sons follow suit?
Vogue shakes her head. ‘I’d love my kids not to go to boarding school. It’ll be up to them. My little brother went to boarding school and loved it, but I’d prefer them to go to a day school.
‘I see people lining their kids up, getting tutors, and to me it’s too early. They’re babies.’
Spencer isn’t quite on the same page. ‘Our opinions at this stage are slightly different, but I had a great time at Eton. Boarding school can be great for your independence, but it depends on the character of the child.
‘If Vogue feels strongly about it we’ll discuss it, but that’s for the future.’
- Spencer and Vogue LIVE! tours from 14 February, 2024. Info and tickets: www.cuffeandtaylor.com. Their podcast Spencer & Vogue is available weekly.
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