Fans have dubbed Joe Wicks an “inspiration” and a “national treasure” after his emotional TV documentary about how his parents’ mental health struggles shaped his childhood.
The TV fitness guru broke down in tears as he sat down with his formerly addicted father to discuss how his drug addiction was affecting her relationship with his son. During emotional scenes on Joe Wicks: Facing My Childhood, which aired Monday May 16, Joe recalls a time when his father lied to him and said he was “walking around the store to get some milk.” , although he was actually taking heroin.
Social media was flooded with messages from fans praising Joe for the documentary, with one saying she was “overwhelmed by what an amazing person he is” and others praising his courage in tackling such a difficult subject. You can receive more TV news and other story updates by subscribing to our newsletters here.
READ ALSO: Joe Wicks Reveals Childhood Pain As Parents Struggled With Heroin And OCD Addiction
Others called Joe a “national treasure” and said they were “in awe” of him, while fans also said the program would go a long way in normalizing the conversations about mental health and family.
The hour-long documentary explores Joe’s relationship with his father and mother, who had their own mental health issues with OCD. Joe, who appeared on This Morning to talk about the film earlier Monday, talks to his father about his addiction. He says: “I have memories of the disappointment of relapsing. All of a sudden you’re clean and stable and then it kind of reverts to the old days and it was really hard.”
Joe, who rose to fame with his home fitness videos during lockdown, describes his challenging childhood and the impact it had on him. His father Gary recalls: “I can only imagine how difficult it was for you. The constant lying and no awareness of what was going on.”
Joe replies before collapsing, “It was like your code word for ‘I’m going to go and buy some gear.’ You might as well have said, because I knew that when you said you were going to get some milk, you never came back with milk.” Gary, meanwhile, describes how at the time he only thought he was suffering. He regrets and now realizes how “deluded and selfish” he was during that time.
Elsewhere in the film, Joe sits down with his mother to talk about her obsessive-compulsive disorder. “If you list it, it makes me think about what I must have gone through emotionally,” he told her, adding, “We weren’t allowed to talk about it [your OCD]”. Joe remembers times when his mother asked him to clean his room “twice a day” and he never understood why.
His mother tells him how she spent six months in rehab for OCD, after which Joe said the revelation “blew him away”. He tells her he doesn’t remember her ever going to rehab. “Things have happened that I’d rather not remember,” he told his mother.
Watch Joe Wicks: Facing My Childhood on BBC iPlayer