Has Rebecca Adlington got the most modern celebrity family in Britain?

An Olympic swimmer is showing how modern rainbow families can work as she reveals she is pregnant with her second child after spending lockdown with her new partner and her bi ex-husband.

Rebecca Adlington, 31, already has a daughter, Summer, five, with her ex-husband Harry Needs.

Needs came out as bisexual in June – although that wasn’t anything to do with their marriage breaking down. But despite their divorce, the pair have been living happily together and co-parenting Summer.

During lockdown, Adlington and Needs have also been living with her new boyfriend, Andrew Parsons. And there’s been a fourth adult in the house, Needs’ best friend Michael Gunning.

Now the family are looking forward to a new baby, with Adlington proudly posting with a scan and saying she is 14 weeks pregnant. She and dad-to-be Parsons are ‘excited’ while Summer ‘can’t wait’ to become a big sister.

The double Olympic gold medal winner added: ‘Going to be a long wait until the end of Feb!’

Rebecca Adlington and Andrew Parsons show off their baby scan.
Rebecca Adlington and Andrew Parsons show off their baby scan. @Beckadlington

‘You should be with whoever makes you happy’

Needs, now 28 and a personal trainer, married Adlington in 2014. The pair had Summer in 2015, although they split later that year.

But when lockdown came, they chose to isolate together, helping to co-parent Summer.

Adlington says Summer has ‘loved spending quality time with mummy and daddy’.

Meanwhile Needs posted on Instagram: ‘Time truly flies when you’re this happy being your dad. I’m lucky to have such a funny, loving, smiley, caring, happy kid.’

And Needs best friend Gunning gets on well with them all.

Indeed, it led Needs to explain they aren’t in a relationship but are just friends. He added that he is not dating anyone.

Gunning, 26, is also a competitive swimmer and appeared on MTV’s The Bi Life in 2018.

But perhaps the sweetest part is Needs explaining how supportive Adlington was when he came out as bi.

He said: ‘I only told Becky in the last year. I only told all my friends and family in the last year but everyone’s reaction for me, especially Becky’s, was really really positive.

‘It was just like “okay”, no-one really cared, I felt like. I really just don’t care about anyone else’s opinion on me. For me love is love, you should be with whoever makes you happy.’

‘You could only identify as being gay or straight’

Harry Needs and friend Michael Gunning with Summer.
Harry Needs and friend Michael Gunning with Summer. @HarryNeeds

Meanwhile Harry’s story is one plenty of bi people will be able to relate to.

He first opened up about it when asked by a fan on Instagram in June. At the time, he said he had known since the age of 13.

He said it was ‘confusing’ at first but he has been content with his sexuality for years and hoped sharing his story would help his Instagram followers.

Later, speaking to the BBC, he said he had a relationship with another man in 2019. But he added:

‘I didn’t feel like I could honestly say I was bisexual until I had a relationship with a man.

‘I put myself out there as bisexual and went out on some dates with both women and men. I then found myself in a relationship with another man and that was last year.’

However he said the lack of bi role models growing up had made it harder.

‘I always knew I was attracted to both sexes, during my teenage years I felt like being in society you could only identify as being gay or straight.

‘I didn’t feel there was many role models out there for bisexual people.

‘Girls used to show interest and that’s why I got involved in those relationships but maybe if it was more openly acceptable in society that little bit more, maybe that would have been different. I think it’s lack of education.’

People don’t believe bisexuals exist

Moreover, he’s even taken on the subject of bi-erasure, saying it’s not ‘a stepping block to becoming gay’.

He said: ‘People almost don’t believe bisexual men and women out there exist. Being bisexual, I’m attracted to both. I’ve encountered “bisexual people are greedy”. Like you have to choose men or women.’        

And he’s offered a shout out to other bi dads. He told them: 

‘For any dads out there who made mistakes along the way (because we all have), grow beyond it, fix it and never stop trying to be that inspiration, role model and super hero. 

‘Never stop creating ourselves, we all deserve happier times. To all the bisexual dads out there, I see you, I hear you, I feel you.’


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