From Wales Online
His colourful life has taken him from bare knuckle fighting to Celebrity Big Brother winner and Big Fat Gypsy Wedding star – and Paddy Doherty admits: “I should be dead five time over.”
But now the famous Traveller says he has turned his back on his wild days and vowed he will never move away from his new home in Wales.
Paddy says he has found the perfect location to grow old peacefully with his ‘woman’ Roseanne, five kids and 15 grandchildren.
He claims he is no longer a bare-knuckle fighter and is a born-again Christian, spending his days riding horses around Queensferry, Flintshire.
But Paddy admits he found writing his new biography, Hard Knocks & Soft Spots, out on Wednesday, at times very difficult – and has no idea what Roseanne will make of it.
It charts Paddy’s colourful life, from growing up in the travelling community, to becoming one of Britain’s deadliest men as a fighter before going on to star in My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding and winning last year’s Celebrity Big Brother.
Paddy, who is signing copies of his book in the Welsh capital next week, said: “It’s amazing what I remembered for that book. I did it with a ghost writer, we spoke for a good few weeks to talk about things I’d forgotten about. Some are happy, some unhappy, but that’s life for you.
“My woman hasn’t read it, no way. She doesn’t want to read it until it’s published and I have no idea what she’s going to make of it. There are a lot of stories in there that will prove to you that I should be dead. I should be dead four or five times over but I’m not. I’m alive and I’ve been put on this earth for a purpose.
“I’m a born-again Christian, I don’t fight no more, I’m a lover now. I’m living in a beautiful place in the world, and we’re here in Queensferry because that’s where my woman wants to be.
“She has been asking me for the last 10 years to move away from Manchester, away from trouble, and I would do anything for my Roseanne. We’ve been together 34 years and she’s still a beautiful woman. We’ll stay here now until I die. I’m not moving from this beautiful place. The people are lovely, I’ve moved my family with me this is where we’re here to stay.”
Family is hugely important to Paddy, 53, and though he has five surviving children and 15 grandchildren, he has suffered great loss over the years.
His first-born son Patrick was killed in a car accident when he was just 18, and Paddy admits it rocked his world and misses him each and every day.
“For 16 years, I’ve been going there to visit him and every time I touch the smooth stone of his headstone, my heart breaks,” he said.
“Patrick was my flesh and blood, he was my best friend; a man’s man and growing up to be everything I wanted him to be.
“He was snatched away into the arms of the angels and when I sit by his grave, I feel him watching me. In all I’ve buried five children in Gorton [Manchester]; Patrick and my daughters Elizabeth, Helen, Mary Bridget and son Mylie.”
They died when they were just babies, after Paddy and Roseanne discovered they suffered from a condition called Fraser syndrome, a rare genetic condition which almost always proves fatal.
“Patrick’s memory and his name live on. We carry our dead through life with us and when I sit in that graveyard on my own I feel them all around me. When I’m stressed out and messed up I love going there to be with them.”
Paddy was one of the original stars of My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding but he had no idea what he signed up for when producers asked him to appear on Celebrity Big Brother.
“I’d never watched the programme. I told my woman I’d be back in a week with the money I earned. It took a week before I even realised there was a camera in the diary room. I didn’t have a clue,” he said.
“But it was a good thing. I met some really nice people; in fact, I’ve even been on the phone to Kerry Katona just this morning. And Gareth Thomas, he’s a good man, a really good man.
“I missed my Roseanne every day I was there; it was the longest I’d ever been away from her in all the years we have been married and I was surprised how much I missed her. The days I could handle, but at night I was so lonely.
“When I first went in I thought it would be impossible for me to win. I never agreed to go in because I wanted to be popular. At first I agreed for the simple reason that I saw it as a dare and a challenge and all my life I’d never ducked out of a contest. I wasn’t in it for the fame and fortune.
“When I walked out of that house a winner, the crowd went wild. People were chanting my name. I choked up. As a Traveller, you spend your life being different from country folk, you’re constantly justifying how you live and who you are. But this was acceptance. It was one of the greatest feelings of my life.”
But Paddy has not been free of controversy this year – his cousin was jailed in January for biting off the reality TV star’s ear in a bare-knuckle street brawl.
Johnny Joyce, 21, sank his teeth into Paddy’s ear during a fierce Gypsy brawl in front of rush hour traffic outside a PC World in Manchester in a fight filmed on a mobile phone.
The scrap in June last year had been sparked by a long-running family feud which saw Doherty claim he had been 'shunned' by the Gypsy community over his celebrity status. Doherty later underwent surgery to have ear sewn back on. He admitted affray and was given a suspended jail term.
Paddy will be at WHSmith on Queen Street, Cardiff next Sunday at noon. Hard Knocks & Soft Spots, is published by Ebury on May 1.