Heat (UK)




This year marks Steps’ 25th anniversar­y, and over the years, fans have seen Ian “H” Watkins grow from a closeted 21 year old to an out-and-proud dad of two. Ian, 46 – who welcomed sons Macsen and Cybi via a surrogate in 2016, with his former partner Craig Ryder – chats to heat about just how tricky it can be to raise twins, especially when they’re shouting “Santa” at random strangers…

What’s something that you wish people had told you before you became a dad?

How exhausting it is. I knew I would be tired, but being a parent is relentless and you constantly have to put yourself last in the queue.

Is that why you wanted to contribute to Play-doh’s book about messy parenting?

There’s so much pressure on parents to be perfect and it’s just unrealisti­c. This book is basically a survival guide full of anecdotes and top tips that we’ve learnt since becoming parents. I’m all about keeping it real. Honestly, my house looks like it’s just been burgled most of the time.

How do you juggle being a pop star with raising twins?

The game has changed recently because my boys are now in full-time education, so when I’m on tour now, my parents move into my house and look after them for me, taking them to school and running them to gymnastics and all the extracurri­cular things that they do. Before that, my children were very portable, so I’d bring along a friend to help me look after them and they’d just come on tour with Steps.

Now that all of you are parents, has Steps become a bit of a family band when you go on tour?

The last tour we did was

during the pandemic, so we were firmly confined to our bubbles and couldn’t see our friends and family for six weeks, which was really hard. But before that, all the kids would play together while the adults were busy. I don’t know whether my boys will remember it, but I’ve taken loads of pictures and filmed lots of videos to show them when they’re older.

Are they aware that you’re famous?

They know that Daddy “does Steps”, but I don’t really play them our music. I did show them the video of when we headlined the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Street Party because it was a really special moment, but about ten seconds in, they asked if they could go and colour. They know I do a different job to their friends’ parents, but they don’t really care.

Do either of them have any musical talent?

Macsen is learning to play the keyboard and Cybi is doing the electric guitar. I tried to sign them up for drama school, but as soon as they learnt that they would have to wear jazz shoes, they were out.

You must get asked this a lot with twins, but are they similar in any way?

They’re non-identical twins and just completely different. That’s a common misconcept­ion with twins. I do think they might be a little bit telepathic, though, because they know exactly which buttons to press! One will be really calm and the other energetic, and then when that one gets tired, they’ll switch.

Have they ever embarrasse­d you in public?

We went to the park the other day and there was a guy with a beard sitting on a bench, minding his own business. Macsen pointed at him and shouted, “Daddy, it’s Santa!” Luckily, the man saw the funny side.

Would you like to have more children in the future?

I’ll never say never, but at the moment, I’m so exhausted that I just can’t fathom having anymore. Maybe when Macsen and Cybi are a bit older. ■

Play-doh’s Notes On Messy Parenting is available to read and download, free, at Playdohmes­syparentin­g.com

‘My house looks like it’s been burgled most of the time’

 ?? ?? Twinning is winning: sons Macsen and Cybi
Twinning is winning: sons Macsen and Cybi
 ?? ?? H with on/off boyfriend Tom Hope
H with on/off boyfriend Tom Hope
 ?? ??
 ?? ?? Start ’em young, H
Start ’em young, H
 ?? ?? Back when line dancing was cool
Back when line dancing was cool

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