Frank Lampard admits Christine Bleakley found stepmum role tough at first
But the footballer says his girls love her and she loves them
She makes being a stepmother look so easy, but it was not all plain sailing for Christine Bleakley when she first took up the role to Frank Lampard's two daughters.
Her husband of two months admitted that the Northern Ireland TV star at first found it "difficult" to settle into the position.
The New York City FC player (37) has two children - eight-year-old Isla and 10-year-old Luna - with his ex-fiancée Elen Rivas. He waited a year before introducing the girls to Christine, who he met at the Pride of Britain Awards six years ago.
Speaking yesterday on This Morning, Frank said: "It's been a long game, and you develop it slowly. Fair play to all of them. I'm the bystander in the situation, but the girls love Christine and vice versa. The step-parent thing is a real difficult thing. When you're not involved in the situation, you have no idea of how many difficulties there are for everyone, particularly Christine."
But Christine eventually developed a good bond with the children, who made emotional speeches during the couple's wedding in December and even joined them on their honeymoon.
In an interview last year, Christine said she was not trying to be the girls' mother. "They know I'm their little mate," she added. "I don't want to be their mummy. That was never even a thought."
Since their star-studded Christmas wedding in London, the couple have are more loved-up than ever. A smitten Frank told This Morning's Phillip Schofield they were both "loving" married life.
He said Christine, who wore a bespoke wedding dress created by top designer Suzanne Neville that reportedly cost a whopping £10,000, looked "amazing" on their big day at Saint Paul's Church in Knightsbridge.
Afterwards, Christine and Frank partied into the early hours at the Arts Club in Mayfair, where guests included Piers Morgan, Schofield, Emma Bunton, Holly Willoughby and Ant and Dec, and music was provided by mega-star Ed Sheeran.
Recalling the day, Frank said: "It went as well as we could have imagined actually. (There was) all the stress of organising, which Christine did 80% of at least!
"But on the day we couldn't complain. Everything went perfectly. All our friends and close family were there and we had a great day."
However, the footballer revealed that he had experienced a few wedding jitters - albeit at the rehearsal three days before the wedding.
"We did a run-through at the church and I was really nervous with nobody there, strangely enough," he said. "But on the day I wasn't too nervous at all, really. I just really enjoyed it. I expected to be more nervous than what I was."
After the wedding the couple jetted off to Dubai for a sunshine honeymoon, Frank's children coming along for the ride.
"We took them (his daughters) away," he said. "That was pre-arranged, and fair play to Christine. We had a few moments of honeymoon, but it was a family kind of trip. We had a great time."
The couple now spend much of their time in New York, where Frank plays for New York FC, and the pair are having a great time in the Big Apple.
Last month Christine shared photographs and video footage of the blizzards across the Big Apple on her social media accounts.