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Relationships

'We're getting married again!' Jamie and Jools Oliver celebrate 20 years of marriage

''It's an opportunity to get everyone together to say thanks.''

By Judy Kean
Jamie Oliver hasn't had much to celebrate in recent years.
The collapse of his restaurant empire last year devastated the celebrity chef, who poured millions of his own money into the business but was unable to save it.
"The past four-and-a-half years have been the hardest of my life," he admits, especially after having to come to terms with the closure of 22 of his 25 restaurants, and the loss of 1000 jobs.
Helping him through it though has been the love and support of his family, who he says "are the best antidote to the world".
Dad to Poppy (17), Daisy (16), Petal (10), Buddy (9) and River (3), and husband to Jools, he cherishes the normal, everyday moments with his brood.
"When you're tested like I've been, all that matters is friends, family and health."
Jamie's family Daisy, Petal, River, Jools, Buddy and Poppy were his respite from the world. Getty Images
Now he's looking to the future, and finding something to celebrate for the first time in ages.
"Me and my missus are getting married again!" he says, all smiles about his and Jools' plan to renew their vows in June for their 20th wedding anniversary.
"I'm going to cook some amazing food, maybe try to get people a little drunk and definitely have a little disco. My wife loves to dance."
It'll be an intimate gathering, he tells, with around 100 close friends and family. The kids will play a pivotal part.
"It's about the people we love most, our nearest and dearest. It's an opportunity to get everyone together to say thanks."
Jamie (44) and former model Jools (45), who runs a children's clothing company, are high-school sweethearts.
On their first date, he crashed his souped-up Ford Fiesta into the back of another car.
"Jools felt sorry for me," he says now.
"She thought, 'The way he drives, he needs support in life.'"
Jamie was smitten right from the start, and when Jools went to Tokyo to work for three months not long after they got together, he sent her a romantic letter or fax every single day.
Jools was also a big part of Jamie's life when, aged 22, he was noticed by a BBC producer after making an unscripted appearance in a documentary about the London restaurant where he was working as a sous-chef.
Two years later he was given his own TV show, The Naked Chef, and his career took off. They married a year later, in 2000.

Along with TV success (he's presented more than 30 series and documentaries) and writing cookbooks (he is the second-best-selling author in the UK behind JK Rowling), Jamie wanted to make his mark on the restaurant business, opening a chain of Italian restaurants as well as Fifteen, a non-profit eatery, which trained young adults from disadvantaged backgrounds to work in the hospitality industry.
Jamie puts the demise of his restaurants down to trying to sell high-quality ingredients at a mid-market price, and the economic slowdown caused by Brexit.
Extremely upset about all the staff who lost their jobs, he says after the stress it caused he's now more appreciative of the simple things in life, such as hanging out with his family.

The chef credits the longevity of his relationship with Jools to the fact that neither holds grudges, plus his ability to give excellent foot rubs.
"I take pleasure in just trying to spoil her a bit."
He knows life with him isn't easy − "She probably hates me 40 per cent of the time, but 60 per cent it's pretty good" − but after 20 years together, Jamie and Jools are, proudly, still going strong.
"I've enjoyed my journey with Jools. I definitely think I'm more in love with her now than I was then. You know, yesterday I grabbed her bum and said, 'Lovely!' She said, 'P* off!'"

Parenting has its ups and downs, he admits.
"It's the yin and yang of enjoyment and pain. And it's different pain at different stages of one's life. It just so happens that I have each stage in my life at this moment. I've got teenagers, nine and 10-year-olds, and I've got a three-year-old... But look, I love it. We're a very close family."
Jamie recently shared an adorable clip on social media of his mini-me, Buddy, cooking spaghetti bolognese in an attempt to inspire young people to get interested in cooking.
He's continuing his crusade to get kids eating healthier foods with a project called Bite Back 2030, which aims to cut childhood obesity in the UK in half in the next 10 years.
"I want to be useful," he says.
"Hopefully I won't make the same mistakes, and I'll keep being creative and trying to make positive change."

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