Jamie Oliver reveals ‘embarrassing’ bitter heartache as his two eldest children prepare to leave home

The Naked Chef speaks openly about parenting his five kids with wife Jools

Jamie Oliver
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Jamie Oliver has opened up on the bitter heartache he feels as his two eldest children prepare to leave home, as he discusses how he feels about being the 'embarrassing dad'.

No matter how many parenting guides you read, none can prepare you for the day when your firstborn grows up and leave home.

As many parents look for help with how to support your child on A Level results day, and others reveal their top 10 back-to-school worries, celebrity chef Jamie Oliver has the dreaded 'empty nest' syndrome - even though his nest won't be fully empty.

Jamie, who is a dad of five to Poppy, 21, Daisy, 20, Petal, 14, Buddy, 12, and son River, seven, is about to embark on a huge parenting milestone with wife Jools, now that their eldest daughter Poppy has just completed an English degree and second eldest daughter Daisy is training to be a nurse.

Speaking about his parenthood journey in an interview with You, Jamie explained, "I found the first 12 years easy and I was enthusiastic. But all the versions of enthusiasm of the Jamie that you think you probably know didn't prepare me enough for a 14-year-old."

He continued, "That was interesting – almost like a bereavement. When they get to 14 they are embarrassed of me. It's like a chapter closed and you just have to last it out till they get to about 20."

And while most dads are guilty of trying to impress their kids with 120 of the best dad jokes, Jamie has the added pressure of being a celebrity too.

"We all want to be the cool dad, but it's just not the case. And I do get it. When you're 14 you want to fit in and be the same as everybody else. Having Jamie Oliver as your dad is just so embarrassing."

But with one daughter already 14 and his son approaching the age in a couple of years, he's not going to have an easy time of it.

However, he can still get away with embarrassing his youngest son, and Jamie recently marked the seventh birthday of son River by uploading a gushy post on Instagram, which read, "Happy birthday River Oliver you amazing, bonkers, extraordinary & utterly relentless exhausting child I love you so much have a great birthday son love dad xxxxxj"

Jamie Oliver’s new TV series, Jamie Cooks the Mediterranean, will start on Channel 4 next month. If you can't wait until then, check out his 5 ingredient harissa chicken traybake or his 5 ingredient chocolate orange shortbread recipe which you can make with the kids.

Selina Maycock
Senior Family Writer

Selina is a Senior Family Writer for GoodtoKnow and has more than 16 years years of experience. She specialises in royal family news, including the latest activities of Prince George, Charlotte, Louis, Archie and Lilibet. She also covers the latest government, health and charity advice for families. Selina graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2006 with a degree in Journalism, and gained her NCTJ and NCE qualifications. During her career, she’s also written for Woman, Woman's Own, Woman&Home, and Woman's Weekly as well as Heat magazine, Bang Showbiz - and the Scunthorpe Telegraph. When she's not covering family news, you can find her exploring new countryside walking routes, catching up with friends over good food, or making memories (including award-winning scarecrows!)