Gogglebox's Steph and Dom talk about son's epilepsy
Steph and Dom (above) are best known for their champagne lifestyle, outrageous comments and celebrity hobnobbing. But the couple have always been loyal supporters of Epilepsy Society, holding a ball at The Salutation, their luxury home in Kent, to raise £60,000 to help fund research into epilepsy and to support people with the condition.
The Salutation is a Lutyens-Jekyll house and gardens which the Parkers bought and restored in 2003 and which they now run as an up market B&B. The house was featured in Channel 4's Four in a Bed, where hotel and B&B owners were asked to rate each other.
The couple have also entertained and interviewed politicians and celebrity stars at the house, including Nigel Farage, Louis Walsh, Jason Donovan and Jerry Springer.
Teenage son has seizures
But in an interview in The Times, Seph revealed how reality is a long way from the Bollinger image portrayed on tv. Their teenage son, Max, has both autism and epilepsy and has seizures every day. In a bad month he can have more than 150 seizures.
Steph explained how she and Dom first noticed something was wrong when Max was four months old and started making 'jerky' movements.
'We took a video of him and showed it to the GP, who immediately referred us to the paediatric consultant at the local hospital, who said, "I think we have a problem and I need you to come in first thing Monday morning. Bring a bag," said Steph.
'Max was immediately put on a load of steroids and we spent weeks in the hospital with him.
'Every night and every day for six weeks and, as you can imagine, it was utterly terrifying. He stabilised and was allowed home, but we had to inject him every day for something like four months. It was absolutely brutal.'
... it's locked us down as a couple. We made a decision that it's going to test us, but it's never going to break us.
Dealing with epilepsy in marriage
Max now lives during term-time at a specialist residential epilepsy school. He has been on various drugs but none have managed to control his seizures.
Despite the challenges, Steph said that Max's condition has made her 'see things in a different way'. She continued: 'Memories can be cherished like the most treasured prizes on this earth.
'And it's locked us down as a couple. We made a decision that it's going to test us, but it's never going to break us.'