Martin Freeman admits ‘it’s hard not to feel hurt’ when kids are with ex-wife


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Martin Freeman, 50, divorced Amanda Abbington six years ago, after 16 years of marriage, and admits that he still struggles with feeling hurt that his two teenage children are growing up and growing apart from him. In a candid new interview, the actor has told of how it affects him when they reject him with the words: “Maybe not this weekend.”

“There are times where they’re inevitably going to not be with you, or when they say, ‘Maybe not this weekend’,” he explained, citing the fact that he and Amanda no longer live together.

“It’s hard not to feel hurt when they start doing things that don’t involve you.”

However, he added that he also understands and welcomes the change, “because it’s totally natural.”

Martin also admonished himself during the interview for being “amazingly quick to anger” around his children, something which he regrets.

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Martin stars in the Sky Comedy parenting sitcom Breeders – and the show’s writer and direction Chris Addison has described the issues it raises as being akin to “a group therapy session”.

The series begins with the line: “I would die for those kids… but often, I also want to kill them” – and it’s a sentiment to which certain cast members can relate.

“In my [experience of parenthood], I found I was amazingly quick to anger,” Martin told the Radio Times.

“I always knew it, but it was like a rocket.

“Nothing to call social services about, but I knew I could and should be better.”

He added that he needed to teach himself not to be that way, as he navigated fatherhood.

Meanwhile, the actor suggested that scenes from Breeders often emulated his real life with his children, right from the beginning.

“The first scene of the whole series came from a dream where I was going upstairs to shout at my children and talking myself down with each step I took,” he recalled.

“Then [I] opened the bedroom door and went mad at them anyway.”

Martin has previously admitted to carrying out corporal punishment on both of his children, and “smacking” them on occasions when they fell out of line.

He admitted: “Parenting taught me that, having thought I was a good person for 30-plus years, actually I’m not that good.

“I didn’t think I was Gandhi, but I thought the world was reflecting back to me that I’m all right.”

Martin’s priority was for the show to be “real” and reflect the parenting experiences that fathers – and mothers – genuinely have.

However he reports that his eldest child, son Joe, is a fan of the show – and that he even makes suggestions for the scripts.

“[My kids] joke about me owing them commission because without them, the show wouldn’t exist,” he joked.

However he added firmly: “That’s not going to happen!”


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