The Radford family: dad Noel defends getting wife Sue pregnant aged 13 when he was 17

The dad of the famous Morecambe based brood, the Radfords, has spoken in defence about the circumstances surrounding their first child's birth.
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Noel and Sue Radford from Morecambe have 22 kids between them and are largely renowned as the UK's biggest family.

The Radfords have featured in four documentaries about their lives and just yesterday, the couple released their joint book called 'The Radfords: Making Life Count'.

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In the family's first publication, Noel, now 53, addressed the controversy surrounding the fact his 48-year-old wife Sue fell pregnant with his child when she was 13 - below the age of consent - and he 17.

As adults, their four/five year age gap is nothing of note but the couple did raise eyebrows when their TV show revealed Sue had just turned 14 when she welcomed their first child - Chris, who is now 34 - while Noel was 18 and a half.

Writing in the book, Noel said: "What happened back then has obviously been brought up again in recent years, after we became known by going on television.

"People have inevitably talked about the situation and it has been written about in the newspapers and discussed on social media. There has been a lot of focus on it and, in a way, it was probably worse for us than when it actually happened. So many people have given their opinions."

Noel Radford has spoken out about getting his wife Sue pregnant at 13. Credit: theradfordfamily on InstagramNoel Radford has spoken out about getting his wife Sue pregnant at 13. Credit: theradfordfamily on Instagram
Noel Radford has spoken out about getting his wife Sue pregnant at 13. Credit: theradfordfamily on Instagram
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Noel continued: "Some of the comments from people were brutal that I should have been arrested and things like that. Even though I was just 17 still a kid, including in the eyes of the law. But it doesn't bother me. People will say what they like. I don't care what they say."

Sue added that the bad comments "affect the kids", particularly their eldest son.

Did the relationsip cause any legal trouble?

Noel wrote: "There was no knock on the door saying I was in big trouble.

"I think someone, somewhere may have had to report it, the doctor maybe, but there weren't any repercussions."

What is the history?

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In the book, the couple revealed they met aged seven and eleven because Noel was pals with Sue's older brother. They didn't share their first kiss until six years later when in August 1988 they had a first date "hanging around in Kendal".

Sue then fell pregnant in September 1988 but as both teenagers were themselves adopted as children, they did not want their baby to go through the same thing they did, instead promising to raise him themselves.

Noel dropped out of catering college to work in a supermarket, while Sue started home schooling before returned to school for year 10, after the birth of Chris, to complete her GCSEs.

A year later, in 1992, the pair got married with the couple revealing Sue's dad had to get special permission from the vicar.

And now?

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Three decades later, the couple are still married and are parents to Chris, 34, Sophie, 30, Chloe, 28, Jack, 26, Daniel, 24, Luke, 23, Millie, 22, Katie, 21, James, 20, Ellie, 18, Aimee, 17, Josh, 16, Max, 15, Tillie, 13, Oscar, 12, Casper, 11, Hallie, eight, Phoebe, seven, Archie, six, Bonnie, five, and Heidie, three. They also had a son Alfie, who was stillborn in 2014.

The couple also run their own pie business called 'The Radford's Pie Company', which reportedly has made sales of £9.2 million since its foundation.

What have the family said about their book's publication?

The Radford family have not addressed any of the topics that feature in the book but have shared their excitement at it finally being released.

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On their Instagram account, the Radford's reshared a number of Instagram stories posted by people reading the book and wrote "Today has felt so surreal seeing you all with our books what an amazing day [book emoji] thank you”

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