Sue and Noel Radford talking

Noel Radford caused Sue ‘so much stress’ and pair almost split after taking out huge pie shop loan: ‘Worst thing I ever did’

The pair have been open about their debt struggles over the years

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Noel and Sue Radford almost split after he took out a huge business loan, the 22 Kids and Counting stars have previously revealed.

The couple, who aren’t on benefits, rely on their Radford’s Pie Company business to pay their hefty bills. However, while it’s a success today, that wasn’t always the case.

And, when the couple were starting out, they struggled so much that Noel made a mistake that almost broke them.

Noel Radford with his glasses on his head
Noel Radford is a baker, but has struggled with debt in the past (Credit: Channel 5)

Sue and Noel Radford on their money troubles

Sue and Noel Radford got together in school, with Sue falling pregnant with their first child when she was aged just 13. Noel was 18.

Speaking about their first home, Noel previously revealed their struggles with money. “The rent was £19.50, it was bearable, we got by but we couldn’t afford to buy furniture.”

I can’t even describe it, it caused so much stress.

Noel, who is a baker, decided to open a shop in Morecambe back in 1999. However, two years later he decided to move to a prime High Street location. And that meant taking out a loan.

He said: “To start with it did well and then foot and mouth hit the country. I think Cumbria was one of the worst affected areas and it just killed the tourism.”

‘I genuinely thought our marriage wouldn’t pull through’

Sue then explained: “It was such a nightmare, I can’t even describe it, it caused so much stress. You would go to bed thinking about the debt, wake up thinking about the debt, wake up in the night thinking about the debt. If anything would have caused us to get a divorce, it was this shop.

“Looking back now, it was a time where I genuinely thought our marriage would not pull through. We’d get divorced and that would be it. It was absolutely awful.”

Noel agreed and added: “It was the worst thing I ever did. It seemed good at the time.”

Sue Radford wearing a blue chunky jumper
22 Kids and Counting mum Sue Radford has been with Noel since school (Credit: Channel 5)

Sue Radford admitted taking on ‘way too much’

However, you don’t have 22 kids without having some understanding for your partner. And Sue said the experience made them “stronger”.

“Looking back, I think you have to go through those things because they do make you stronger. We were quite young then, we took on way too much,” she admitted.

Read more: Sue and Noel Radford sell possessions to fund private cancer treatment

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Nancy Brown
Associate Editor