'I love being the only girl in the house,' says Coleen Rooney
Coleen Rooney's come a long way since she first entered the limelight as the girlfriend of footballer Wayne. The mother-of-three tells Gabrielle Fagan that family life is at the heart of her happiness
Coleen Rooney's transformed from a shy schoolgirl dating England footballer, Wayne when they were teenagers, into a fashionista and businesswoman, but she regards bringing up their three children as her most important role.
"Motherhood's totally important to me. I want my boys to have the best start in life," declares the 31-year-old, as she chats about family life and their sons Kai (7), Klay (3) and Kit (1).
"The boys need to learn the important things, respect and manners, so they grow up into good adults. I want to look at them when they're adults and think, 'I've raised those boys well'."
Coleen, who married Wayne Rooney nine years ago, is clearly enjoying coping with the demands of her energetic brood. "Having three boys means it's a lively house, but I find that quite natural. I've always been brought up around lots of children. It's good fun and I wouldn't want it any other way," says Coleen, who's an ambassador for toy brand, Lamaze.
"It's so lovely that my three absolutely love each other. Every morning when they wake up, they go into each other's rooms and hug and kiss each other, which is so sweet. Of course, as the day goes on, they do bicker a lot about one of them having a toy the other wants, so they're pretty normal in that respect."
She's delighted at the close bond her boys enjoy. "Kai and Klay are really good with Kit, and always looking out for him. Kit's a lovely little boy who's always laughing and smiling and although it's very early to say, I think he's going to be a strong character. He loves getting in on whatever his brothers are up to," she says proudly.
"Luckily, even if the other two are a bit rough with him without meaning to be, he just laughs. I think it's good for him and he'll grow up stronger because he has to hold his own."
Making the family a focus was instilled in her from an early age by her parents, bricklayer Tony McLoughlin and Colette, who help the couple with childcare. Coleen grew up with two brothers, Joe and Anthony, and an adopted sister, Rosie (who sadly died in 2013 of a rare genetic condition).
She and Wayne, who plays for Manchester United, are undecided on whether they'll have more children.
"I don't know. I have my hands full at the moment with three, so not any time soon. People go on about, 'Don't you want a girl?' but I'm not desperate for a girl. It would be nice if I did have one, but the boys are great. I quite like being the only girl in the house and I'm happy with what I've got," she says.
"It's so lovely to have a baby around again. When I had Kai, I couldn't wait for him to walk and talk, that's how you are with a first child, but with Klay and Kit I now realise each of those stages last such a short time and I treasure them. I want the little ones to stay young for as long as possible."
Slim and glamorous, Coleen's followed a tough exercise regime of three weekly gym sessions with a trainer and twice a week Pilates sessions to get her back to her pre-pregnancy weight and a size 10.
"I'm naturally curvy and short and there's nothing I can do to make my legs longer, so I just have to work with what I've got and make the best of it. I've never loved exercise, but I've always done it because I feel I have to," she admits.
"There are some people who are naturally slim, no matter what they eat, but it's not like that for me. If I eat and eat, I put weight on, so I have to be stricter. I can never stick to diets because I love my food, but I try to be good in the week and then 'cheat' at the weekend with a takeaway or a glass of wine."
Business-savvy Coleen, who's built her own business empire through endorsement and magazine deals, and fronted her own ITV show, Coleen's Real Women, says: "I sometimes can't believe I'm in my 30s because I feel younger than that.
"But then I look at my life and think, 'I've got three kids already and I'm married.' As a person, I'm down-to-earth, positive and always try to look forward rather than back.
"I'm inspired by people who could have a lot to moan about in life, but look for the good in other people."
Home is a mansion in Prestbury near Manchester set in 20 acres complete with a swimming pool and, of course, a football pitch, but while the sport is her husband's career focus, the topic doesn't, she says, dominate at home.
"Wayne and Kai talk about football obviously, as Kai's got keen on it now he's a bit older, but it's not constantly about football in the house. Obviously I go and support Wayne - the things he's achieved and is still achieving are unbelievable - but, even before we had kids, Wayne wouldn't come back and go on about it all the time," she says.
"We'll leave it completely up to the boys whether they go into sport later in life and support them to the best of our ability in whatever path they follow.
"For now, I just think it's important that they have lots of sport and activity in their lives because it's good for their health and fitness."
- Coleen Rooney is an ambassador for infant toy brand, Lamaze