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Richard Wilkins speaks about his son with Down Syndrome

He is one of Australia’s most recognisable TV presenters.

And Richard Wilkins gave a rare interview to 9Honey’s Super Mums podcast on Thursday, describing how becoming a father at 18 changed his life.

The 63-year-old said the arrival of his first son Adam in 1973, who has Down Syndrome and is now 44, forced the former pop star ‘to suddenly grow up’.

 

Life-changing: Richard Wilkins, 63, gave a rare interview to 9Honey’s Super Mums podcast on Thursday, describing how becoming a father at 18 changed his life

The Channel Nine entertainment reporter, who began his showbiz career as pop singer ‘Richard Wilde’, revealed he ‘first got lucky’ on his 18th birthday.

‘It was a 16-year-old girl who I didn’t know very well and she fell pregnant… so we got married of course,’ he explained.

Based in rural New Zealand, the couple went on to have a son, Adam, who they later found out had Down Syndrome.

Teenage father: The Channel Nine personality said the arrival of his first son Adam in 1973, who has Down Syndrome and is now 44, forced him 'to suddenly grow up'. Pictured in June 2012

Teenage father: The Channel Nine personality said the arrival of his first son Adam in 1973, who has Down Syndrome and is now 44, forced him ‘to suddenly grow up’. Pictured in June 2012

Richard Wilkins speaks about his son with Down Syndrome

‘I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t been forced to suddenly grow up at the age of 18,’ Richard confessed. Pictured with three of his sons in 2012

‘I didn’t quite know how to handle all that at the tender age of 18, but now I often refer to him as my rock,’ Richard stated of his firstborn child.

‘I don’t know what would have happened to me if I hadn’t been forced to suddenly grow up at the age of 18,’ he admitted.

The Nine Network stalwart, who celebrated his 30th anniversary with the Today show earlier this year, said the ‘greatest thing’ in his life are his children.

Richard Wilkins speaks about his son with Down Syndrome

‘Dickie’ gave a rare interview to the Super Mums podcast on Thursday, where he shed light on how becoming a father at 18 changed his life. Pictured with son Christian Wilkins in 2016

Family man: The Nine Network stalwart, who celebrated his 30th anniversary with the Today show earlier this year, said the 'greatest thing' in his life are his children

Family man: The Nine Network stalwart, who celebrated his 30th anniversary with the Today show earlier this year, said the ‘greatest thing’ in his life are his children

In an interview with Stellar magazine in February, Richard revealed his family suggested Adam be cared for in a home, with his former wife Lynette’s family siding with keeping the baby at home. 

After 18 months of caring for Adam, the strained couple felt the need to place their son in care better suited to his needs, he told the publication.

‘He’s happy and healthy and living in New Zealand, but he wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for people who had helped us along the way,’ he told Daily Mail Australia in 2014.

‘I was still there for him any day of the week, but I had to relinquish everyday care to others,’ he explained.

Veteran: He is arguably Australia's most respected entertainment journalist

Veteran: He is arguably Australia’s most respected entertainment journalist

 

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk