Swinging News Bridgend
Bridgend wife swap couple still close
SHE swapped her husband for a tidier version, one who gets his jollies by vacuuming and dusting 24/7.
But after 10 days away from her nearest and dearest, Alex Duce-Mills says, I wouldn't change him for the world.
When Darren Duce-Mills exchanged his Bridgend home with Nigel Bailey, more than six million people tuned in to watch the house husbands as they struggled to adapt to life with their new families in this week's twist on the Channel 4 show, Wife Swap.
For the final instalment of the must-see reality TV programme - although there is a celebrity special next week - Darren gave up his life as a carefree, tree-hugging stepdad to 10-year-old Victor to look after Mr Bailey's wife Marina and their seven children.
But the dog-breeding spiritual healer admits he found the process tough.
Darren, who says he and his wife Alex agreed to do the show because it offered a lifetime opportunity for a growth experience, added, I found it hard putting up with Marina.
I found it hard dealing with Jamie (their teenage son).
The moment I was angriest was when I was on my hands and knees cleaning. Marina sat there saying 'Nigel cleans in circles, not back and forward'.
I applied for another Channel 4 show, Faking It.
They liked the sound of me, but I never got round to sending a photo in.
The next thing I knew I got a phone call about Wife Swap and I thought 'Yeah, what the hell!'
But it was tough.
The Baileys were playing the game by different rules.
We had never seen the show. We tackled it fairly and tried to do our best. I got the feeling they were playing for the cameras.
Darren, who admits that creativity is the heart of his home and whose idea of fun is not cleaning but writing poetry and playing the didgeridoo, was sent to a very regimented household where the dad is the main cook and bottle washer and does everything for his family.
The programme showed how in Darren's pigsty of a house, as Nigel called it, his step-son Victor was expected to wash his own clothes and clean the kitchen when he came in from school.
But wife Alex says the show was pivotal in making them act more as a family.
It was all about editing, said Alex, a speech and language therapist.
The show didn't really show us as a family who all really muck in. Victor doesn't do all the washing up now. We all dip in.
But Alex, who found being away from her husband for more than a week sort of like a sudden bereavement, says the programme didn't serve to bring them closer as a couple.
It couldn't bring us closer together as we're so close as it is. The people who go on Wife Swap usually have a point to prove to their partner, are upset about something.
We didn't bring that to the show as there's nothing we wanted to change about each other.
It just showed us how much we love our family life together.
Being exposed to a home where the children are relatively free from tasks and the father uses a toothbrush on the kitchen floor proved to be more of a challenge that Darren expected.
He lasted about three days in the role of perfect house husband before hanging up his apron for good while Nigel adapted to living in Darren's home.
Alex, however, says that he didn't give up when the going got tough, but that the show's producers chose to edit out his hard work at the Baileys' Sheffield home. But despite the challenges and almost lashing out at one of the Baileys' sons, Darren says the stay away from his family was a valuable one.
I learnt different techniques for bringing up children, being plonked in with seven kids, each of who needs to be tackled in different ways, he said.
I also learnt how mental other people can be.
Alex and I have had some problems since Wife Swap and it has taken a long time to get back to normal.
But I've learned a few things. Alex is a better cook than me. She's done 99% of the cooking in the past.
But doing the swap made me realise that it is something I can do and that it is something that I enjoy.
The show helped us look at things and think 'this is the way things are.
But is this the way we want things to be?
Full credit for this Wife Swapping news article goes to: icWales, UK
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