Abbey and Peter: An exclusive extract from their new book
The secret of a happy marriage? Having one person who is absolutely right (clue: it’s not Peter): In an exclusive extract from their new book Abbey and Peter offer a witty A-Z of what they’ve learned from 12 years of marriage
- Abbey and Peter’s new book, The Therapy Crouch, is published on October 12
- READ MORE: JENNY JOHNSTON takes notes as Abbey Clancy and Peter Crouch turn marital bickering into an art form!
Theirs is a love story of our times. They met in a Liverpool nightclub. He was a footballer, on the way to becoming an England legend and national treasure; she was a model, and future Strictly champion.
Who would have guessed that, 18 years and four children later, Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy would still be not only enjoying domestic bliss, but giving relationship advice?
The pair, who married in 2011 and live in Surrey with their children Sophia, 12, Liberty, eight, Johnny, five, and Jack, four (not to mention a growing menagerie) already have a chart-topping podcast, The Therapy Crouch.
Now they have written a new book, which offers some startling insights into life Chez Crouch-Clancy, as well as some unique touchline tips and WAG wisdom. Although it does come with a warning.
‘This is absolutely, definitely not a self-help book,’ they say. ‘It does contain some “advice”, but it’s the kind of advice in inverted commas that you definitely should be wary of living your life by.’
Read on to find out more…
In their new book, Peter Crouch and Abbey Clancy cover competitive tiredness, tattoos and tiramisu
A is for: Absolutely Always Being Right
Abbey: The kids know it. Peter knows it. Even the dog knows it. So let’s face facts: the secret to a happy marriage is having one person in the relationship who is absolutely always right.
Peter : And that person ain’t me. Long story short: if everyone does what Abbey says, it’s best all round.
B is for: Babies
Peter: Dealing with a pregnant Abs is like dealing with a banshee, only less reasonable.
In fact, Abbey being pregnant reminds me of the scene in The Green Mile when John Coffey removes the sadness and blows out the demons. The minute she gives birth, all the badness goes away. It’s quite nice having her back.
C is for: Christmas
Abbey: Being 6ft 7in, Pete is quite useful at putting the star on the top of the tree. But, frankly, he simply comes home one evening to see the decorations up and the planning done, and he says: ‘Oh! Is it Christmas?’
Peter: One year, I’d asked: ‘What do you want for Christmas?’ She’d replied: ‘Babe, let’s not do presents this year. It’s too much. Christmas is just for the kids.’ You live and learn. I now know that ‘Let’s not do presents’ means ‘You definitely need to get a present, just a different type of present’.
It’s a minefield, and you need to be a mind-reader. Does she want presents? Does she not want presents? What sort of presents?
I get it wrong most of the time, and sometimes she ends up in tears.
D is for: Do Him Up
Abbey: The lovely thing about Peter now is that he’s almost fully house-trained. He’s learned to put his shoes away rather than leave them in the hall, and the days of him eating a bag of crisps and then wiping his fingers on the couch are behind us.
We have the occasional relapse when he leaves his dirty undies on the floor, but if Pete were to be passed on to another woman, like a rescue puppy, I believe they would be pleased with his training.
Abbey admits that while football leaves her ‘kind of cold,’ she did manage to make it to the game where Peter scored his first hat-trick
E is for: Exercise
Abbey: Every man wants to beat Pete at sport. At school sports day, all the fathers line up for the dads’ race, desperate to thrash him. It’s a testosterone thing.
You wouldn’t get women doing that. If there were a professional athlete in the mums’ race, all the other women would just stand back in awe and cheer her on: ‘You go for it, girl!’
F is for: Fetishes
Peter: Abbey has a thing about Vikings. I keep thinking I might get myself a Viking outfit, just to spice things up, but I have a sneaking suspicion I’ll end up looking like Rodney from that episode of Only Fools And Horses when he dresses up as a gladiator.
F…is also for: Football
Abbey: Football leaves me kind of cold. I did manage to make it to the game where Peter scored his first hat-trick, but I missed most of the excitement because I nipped out early so I could be first to the buffet.
G is for: Golf
Peter: If you walked into my house or spent 20 minutes in my shoes, you’d immediately understand the appeal of golf.
There are a million people here all the time. There might be workmen, builders and kids (many of them mine). There might be dogs, cats, ducks and sheep. It’s chaotic and noisy. It’s bedlam.
Compare that to the prospect of playing golf in the middle of nowhere, under the clear blue sky, amid the peace.
H is for Honeymoon
Peter: We made a total mess of our honeymoon. I’d planned a big romantic gesture, where I would theatrically present Abbey with a diamond bracelet, but the one I ended up giving her wasn’t quite befitting of such a grand gesture.
When I handed Abbey a small brown paper envelope instead of that iconic turquoise box, her face said it all. We had our first marital row right there and then, and I was so fed up I hurled the bracelet into the sea.
Peter never expected to have four children. He thought two would be the magic number, but Abbey won the battle. He wouldn’t change a thing
I is for Ideal Home
Peter: Left to my own devices, I’d probably still be playing PlayStation in my childhood bedroom. So I’ve quite rightly had absolutely nothing to do with how any of our houses have been decorated.
J is for: Jobs
Abbey: Pete has only three jobs. 1) Take out the bins. 2) Open the mail and check for the important stuff. Fortunately for Pete, we now have a PA, so he just shoves it all in another envelope and sends it to them to deal with. 3) The dog.
None of that ‘the front end is mine, the back end is yours’ nonsense. Pete’s job is to feed, walk and clean up after the dog.
Peter: Worth bearing in mind here that this is the dog I didn’t want in the first place.
K is for: Kids
Peter: I never expected to have four. I thought two would be the magic number, but Abbey won that little battle, and I’m glad she did. Now I wouldn’t change a thing.
I take secret pride in how good our kids are when they’re out with us. Is it bad to admit that, in my head, I have a secret kid-off? I love it when there’s a family on the plane with just one child screaming their head off, while our four are quiet and well-behaved. It gives me a nice little moment of smug satisfaction.
L is for: Learning A Language
Abbey: We had a teacher give us Portuguese lessons but we had a massive barney in front of her. Pete told me to f**k off. I told Pete to f**k off. We never swear at each other, and here we were, playing f**k-off tennis.
What a disaster!
The poor teacher claimed that we were both very good, very talented. Then she diplomatically suggested that, given our individual learning styles, we might benefit from separate lessons.
Married in 2011, Peter and Abbey admit to having had a ‘reassuringly expensive’ wedding day
M is for: Make-up Sex
Peter: Make-up sex. I have heard tell of this mythical activity and like the idea of having a fiery argument and hurling stuff at each other, before passionately ripping off each other’s clothes. But I can categorically say it has never happened in this house.
N is for: Not Talking Shop
Peter: In my playing days, Abbey’s ability to not talk shop was a godsend. Even now, everywhere I go, somebody wants to talk shop with me.
I’ll pop out for a pint of milk and a guy will stop to talk football. I’ll fill the car up and the attendant will want to know who’s the greatest player of all time. I’ll go to buy some sausages and the butcher will want to know why Grealish is on the bench. It’s nice to come home to a football-free zone.
O is for: Old
Peter: Sometimes I wonder what we’ll look like when we’re old. I can picture Abbey decked out with her half-moon granny spectacles and her hand‑knitted cardigan, comfy slippers and a rug over her knees.
Abbey: Ain’t gonna happen. I want to be a hot, glamorous granny.
P is for: Packing
Abbey: If we’re going away, I start packing months in advance. The whole landing will be covered with open suitcases.
Everything must be colour-coordinated, the blue shirts are all together, then the white shirts, then Pete’s towelling Gucci combos. There are military-grade medical packs with antibiotics, inhalers and painkillers. There are baby bags, iPads, chargers…
Not only that, but each suitcase must hold enough variety of outfits for all six of us in case the rest of the luggage goes missing, a bit like the president and vice-president never travelling on the same plane.
It’s a burden. I sometimes find myself thinking: ‘I bet Elton John doesn’t pack his own bag.’ I want a packer, like Elton!
Barbecuing skills matter to Abbey
Q is for: BARBECUE
Abbey: If I had my time out there in the dating world again, I think I’d put ‘good at barbecuing’ on my marriage checklist.
R is for: Rush in a restaurant
Peter: We’ve never been into a restaurant not in a rush. Not once.
Before I’ve so much as unfolded my napkin, Abbey will have told the waiter we’re in a hurry, even if we’re not.
She’ll make up some complicated story about having to pick up the kids in 20 minutes, or only having 40 minutes left on the parking meter. She’ll order before I open my menu.
There’s not much point me even having one, because Abbey will have ordered for me, like I’m a little kid. She’ll snap her menu shut and remind the waiter that we’ve only got 19 minutes left now.
Somewhere in the back of my mind I can hear the seconds ticking down on the Countdown clock.
S is for: Sex
Peter: When we built our house, we said we’d go round the whole place and christen each room. In eight years, we’ve managed two rooms, and one of those is our bedroom.
I’m not going to tell you which the other room is, but perhaps by the time I’m 60 we’ll have made it round the whole of the ground floor.
T is for: Tattoo
Peter: I think it’s fine to have your kids’ names on your football boots, but I draw the line at having them engraved on my a**e.
David Beckham has a lot to answer for. He inspired the footballing tattoo epidemic, especially the neck and hand tattoo that had previously been the sole preserve of the serial killer.
David also got his wife’s name tattooed in Sanskrit, but the tattooist made a spelling mistake. ‘Vihctoria’ doesn’t have quite the same ring to it, but at least there aren’t many Sanskrit-speaking footy fans, so he just about got away with it.
U is for: Underwear
Abbey: I am an underwear snob. I like the good stuff. I wear beautiful matching underwear every day because I think it makes a difference to how you feel about yourself.
Valentine’s Day is the perfect excuse for Abbey and Peter to do something just the two of them
But that doesn’t mean I don’t also have a stash of flesh-coloured knickers, which Pete absolutely hates.
V is for: Valentine
Peter: I like Valentine’s Day. When else do you have the perfect excuse to do something together without the kids? ‘Sorry, Mummy and Daddy absolutely have to go out tonight. It’s the law that you have to go out on Valentine’s Day.’
W is for: Wedding day
Peter: Ours was reassuringly expensive. We had a wedding planner, and I’m certain they saw us coming and added a zero to everything (yes, chaps, apparently you do need flowers at a wedding).
W…is also for WhatsApp
Peter: I would rather Abbey served me with divorce papers than add me to the school WhatsApp groups. She threatens to do it when I’m not aware of the kids’ social arrangements (which is, admittedly, most of the time). What I hear about these groups has put me off for life.
X is for: X-rays
Peter: If Abbey has a headache, she has a brain tumour. If her leg hurts, it’s knee cancer. She’s forever calling our doctor to demand a test. So we’ve developed a way to make these little paranoias a pleasant part of our everyday lives.
Most people head up to London for a special meal or a bit of sightseeing. For us, a perfect day out comprises a trip to a nice antiseptic hospital for a lovely X-ray or — if we’re really pushing the boat out — an MRI. And then: cocktails.
Y is for: Yours is Mine, Mine is Mine
Peter: I’ve lost count of the number of tiramisus I’ve ordered. I don’t even like tiramisu! But it makes Abs feel better if I order it and she eats it. Because what’s hers is hers, and what’s mine is hers.
Z is for: Zzzzzz
Peter: We don’t argue much. But what we do argue about is who is the most tired. They call it competitive tiredness, and nobody’s more competitive than us.
I’ll come home from work and moan about how knackered I am. Abbey will have been busy all day with the children, so she’s not exactly well-rested from a lazy day in the hammock.
She’ll tell me I have absolutely no right to be more tired than her, and before you know it we’re bickering and the tiredness competition has zoomed through the group stages and into the knockout round.
- Adapted from The Therapy Crouch, by Abbey Clancy and Peter Crouch (Ebury, £22), to be published October 12. © Abbey Clancy and Peter Crouch 2023. To order a copy for £19.80 (offer valid to October 12, 2023; UK P&P free on orders over £25) go to mailshop.co.uk/books or call 020 3176 2937.
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