She’s risen to fame as the star of the show 15 Kids and Counting. But Joanne Watson, 40, says she regrets her TV infamy.
Now the single mum to 14 children, who lives on benefits, says she wishes people ‘would just leave us alone’, reports The Daily Mail. And her children have also spoken out about the pressure of life in the public eye. Daughter Georgia, 15, said, also in the Mail, ‘People were leaving messages on my Facebook page. There were over 100 comments and not one of them good.’
Once the Watson family were celebrated in the media as a model of huge-but-happy family life. But four years ago Joanne’s husband John, 46, lost his job as a lorry driver after an accident. He was subsequently imprisoned for benefit fraud – and the couple have since split.
Joanne, whose brood of children ranges in age from 3 to 22, is said to be looking for love again – though one dating agency, allegedly, refused to have her on their books.
The show let cameras into Joanne’s four-bed council home in Guernsey. It showed her dealing with the challenges of supersized family life – from the 56 loads of laundry she does every month to getting several children ready for school. But some critics have branded her a ‘scrounger’.
It’s just one of the new wave of reality TV shows reflecting our growing obsession with behind-the-scenes family life, such as One Born Every Minute – which shows ordinary women going through childbirth. But Joanne’s reactions shows there may be a price to pay for some of the participants.
What do you think – should some things be left off-camera?
Cheryl Freedman has been working as a journalist for 20 years, and began writing about parenting when her son was a baby back in 2009. She's written reviews and features for MFM, testing everything from booster seats to strollers and writing guides to breast-feeding, infant nutrition and more.
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