Billie Faiers’ husband Greg Shepherd discusses his new career as an author and why he never joined TOWIE
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Being the husband of Billie Shepherd (formerly Faiers) has brought Greg Shepherd a great deal of happiness, including two beautiful children – but as an unexpected addition, it has also lead to a new career.
When Greg, 35, met his now-wife, he was working as a banker in London, but now he’s a full-blown reality star. Fans love watching Greg, alongside Billie, 30, and their brood, Nelly, six, and Arthur, three, as they grapple with family life on ITVBe series Sam & Billie: The Mummy Diaries.
While Billie has many solo sidelines, including fashion boutique Minnies and a children’s clothing range for George at ASDA, Greg has always preferred to work on joint projects with his wife.
However, he has now found a passion for writing children’s books and, in his first ever solo interview, Greg tells us all about it…
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What made you decide to write a children’s book?
I’d wanted to do something else for a while, and when I was reading a book to Nelly and Arthur, I thought, “I could do this.” I like to make up my own stories anyway. I saw that David Walliams is absolutely flying with his books, and I thought, why can’t I? I can be the next David Walliams! [Laughs] One day, I just sat down and thought about the things we like to do as a family, and started writing – with a few little twists.
How do Nelly and Arthur feel about being the main characters in the book?
They love it! Arthur asks me to read it to him every single night before bed. Nelly is reading it to me, which is the most incredible feeling. Nelly even came to the office and gave me her ideas – she was the one who actually came up with the name for the book. They don’t understand that I’ve swapped jobs, but hopefully they’ll see that if you want to do something, you can achieve anything you set your mind to.
It’s been quite a career change for you…
It’s completely different, but I love that I’m now not having to commute into London every day and I’m around for the children more. If you’d told me a year ago that I’d be writing children’s books, I wouldn’t have believed it, but I’ve become so passionate about it.
What does Billie think of your new career?
When I first told Billie about my idea, she didn’t really believe it, but when she realised how serious I was, she became really supportive. She’s had a bit of input and given me some positive critique, like telling me Nelly needed to be prettier, as she is in real life. I really appreciate it because although I was keen to get it done, she made it better. She told me, “I just want it to be perfect for you.”
You only made cameo appearances on TOWIE. What changed your mind when it came to The Mummy Diaries?
TOWIE wasn’t the right sort of show for me as it followed younger people. I was a grown man working in the city, so it wasn’t for me. When I first got with Billie, there were conversations, but it just didn’t happen. Now I’m relieved as it might have changed
our relationship. The Mummy Diaries feels like a good fit.
You seem to enjoy the fame more than Sam Faiers’ partner Paul Knightley does…
I don’t know how long it will last so I’m all in. I’m lucky too that the feedback has always been positive. Maybe I might get a few negative comments on certain websites, but even David Beckham gets those. If David can handle it, then so can I.
How have you found the last few months in lockdown?
It’s definitely something I’ll never forget. Billie has been working full time, while also managing the house and looking after the children. I’ve done my best with helping out, but I’m a typical man so I’m not always the greatest. Billie has been supermum. We’ve definitely had our moments, but I really appreciate everything that she’s done. The children have been testing! I call them Tom and Jerry, as Arthur is always trying to get away from Nelly. I’m just glad they’re getting back into more normal routines now.
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Is there anything else you’d like to do in the future?
We’re expanding the book line and I’d like to do something in children’s furniture. And I would accept Strictly Come Dancing or I’m A Celebrity… in a minute. There would be no haggling over the fee [Laughs].
You recently bought a new house that requires some work. How is it all going?
We hit a bit of a stumbling block when our planning permission was refused, but we are back on track now. We have hopefully come up with some solutions so things are looking positive.
Nelly & Arthur’s Big Day Out: the farm can be purchased at nellyandarthursbigdayout.com
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