From young lovers to Britain’s biggest family – why Sue & Noel Radford didn’t stop having kids & how they stay romantic | The Sun

KEEPING the romance alive after 30 years of marriage is no easy feat – especially when you’ve also got 22 kids to look after. 

But Sue and Noel Radford, the proud parents to Britain’s largest brood, still manage to carve out ‘us-time’ to ensure they keep their relationship strong. 

Sue, 48, often shares the sweet ways 52-year-old Noel spoils her – from sweet date nights to lavish gifts – with their half a million Instagram followers. 

Sue recently shared a candid snap of the pair enjoying posh cocktails at the Midland Hotel, joking that “we are out out”, while another showed them tucking into a “date night” burger and chips. 

If they struggle to get out of the house, the pair often kick back in their garden hot tub, with Sue telling fans: “The kids are asleep so chill time for us.” 

Special occasions such as Valentine’s and Mother’s Day are marked with big bouquets of flowers for Sue, slap-up meals out and lavish trips, with the family jetting to Florida and the Maldives. 

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Noel pushed the boat out for Sue’s birthday a couple of years ago by treating her to a slick black £30,000 Range Rover, while other presents have included a £570 Tissot watch and a box of designer clothes from Ralph Lauren. 

Sue gushed about Noel online, writing: “I’m so incredibly lucky to have such an amazing hubby who works so hard for us all. I love you @noelradford.”

The pair, who live in a 10-bed house in Morecambe, Lancashire, which they bought for £240,000 in 2004, were childhood sweethearts and first met when Sue was aged just seven. 

Sue fell pregnant with her first child Chris when she was 14 in 1989 – with the couple marrying in 1992. 

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They went on to have another 21 children, with Sue admitting she’s spent around 16-and-a-half years being pregnant. 

“I suppose in a way you could say we are addicted to having children. We just love everything about it,” she previously admitted. 

“You can't get a better feeling than meeting a new little person. Love it. It's probably why we have done it so many times.”

Both Sue and Noel, who also have 13 grandchildren, were adopted as children and she believes this may have been a driving force for wanting such a large family. 

“I can never really say for sure whether it is because we are adopted that has got something to do with us having so many children,” she said. 

“It must have been a very lonely time for my birth mum. But part of living in such a big family you've always got somebody… I don't think they will ever be lonely.”

Sue and Noel are parents to Chris, Sophie, Chloe, Jack, Daniel, Luke, Millie, Katie, James, Ellie, Aimee, Josh, Max, Tillie, Oscar, Casper, Hallie, Phoebe, Archie, Bonnie, and Heidie.

They tragically lost their 17th child Alfie in July 2014.

Noel had a vasectomy during his wife's ninth pregnancy but had it reversed when they decided to have more children.

The most recent addition to their super-sized brood was Heidie, born in April 2020.

Sue’s daughter Sophie joked that she “can’t remember her not being pregnant”, adding: “It's like her own personal drug, having babies, honestly it is.'

Sue has sworn she won’t have any more kids but admitted it felt “weird” removing the baby cot from her home. 

Without a newborn to care for Sue and Noel should have a (tiny) bit more time for one another. 

But it hasn’t all been plain sailing for the loved-up pair. Sue previously revealed she nearly considered divorcing Noel, after a “nightmare” situation in the early 2000s. 

In an episode of the family’s TV series, Channel 5's 22 Kids & Counting, the pair visited their old wedding venue and other landmarks significant to their relationship. 

At one point, they stopped by a mobile shop at a high street in Kendal, Cumbria – a site which the pair once leased to try and expand their family pie business.

They had invested in the then-prime location for their bakery in 2001 after seeing another shop flourish when they opened up a second site.

They explained at the time, they were ”so proud” to have their own business in Heysham, Lancashire and “wanted to expand”.

So much so, they took out a “huge” loan to invest in their thriving dream – only to be slammed with national disaster. 

Noel explained: “To start with it did really well. It was doing good – and then not long here – foot-and-mouth hits the country and to be honest I think Cumbria was one of the worst affected areas.”

He added: “It just killed the tourism”, as Sue chimed in: “I can't even describe it, it just caused so much stress.

“You used to go to bed thinking about the debt, you'd wake up thinking about the debt, you'd wake up during the night thinking about the debt…

“If anything was going to have caused us to get a divorce, it was this.”

She added: “Looking back now, it was a time where I genuinely thought our marriage was not gonna pull through that.”

But despite the blip, the couple revealed their secrets for a long-lasting partnership.

Sue said: “Tips for a really healthy marriage are, never go to bed on an argument, ever. Always support each other.” 

Whilst Noel added: “I think the main thing is communication. And say yes to your wife to everything and it makes life so much easier.”


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Sue then gushed: “I could never, ever, ever imagine myself with anyone but Noel. We’re just soulmates.” 

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