Noel and Sue Radford

Sue and Noel Radford clap back at comments he should’ve been arrested for getting Sue pregnant at 13: ‘There weren’t any repercussions’

The criticism has had an impact on their firstborn son, Chris

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Sue and Noel Radford have just released their first book and, in it, Noel has hit out at comments that he should’ve been arrested for getting Sue pregnant with their first child when she was 13 and he was 17.

The couple, who are parents to 22 children, met when they were at school. Sue then welcomed son Chris when she was aged just 14. Noel was 18 at the time.

Sue and Noel Radford in their living room speaking to camera
Sue and Noel Radford welcomed their first child, son Chris, when Sue had just turned 14 and Noel was 18 (Credit: YouTube)

Noel Radford faces backlash over teen pregnancy

Early on in the current series of 22 Kids and Counting, Noel faced criticism from viewers after they were reminded that Sue was under the age of consent when she conceived her first baby.

“He should be in a big house, at His Majesty’s Pleasure,” said one viewer. Another added: “Noel Radford is lucky that he did not have to sign a certain register when he was younger.” A third commented: “Noel just said when he was 18 he had left home. He also forgot to add that he was [bleep]ing 13 year olds and getting them pregnant.”

We were both kids – it was not as if I was 10 or 15 years older than Sue.

But the comments haven’t gone unnoticed by Noel. And, as a result, he has addressed them in the couple’s new book, The Radfords: Making Life Count.

Noel hits out: ‘It wasn’t as if I was 10 or 15 years older than Sue’

Writing in the book, he admitted: “What happened back then has obviously been brought up again in recent years, after we became known by going on television. People have inevitably talked about the situation and it has been written about in the newspapers and discussed on social media.

“There has been a lot of focus on it and, in a way, it was probably worse for us than when it actually happened. So many people have given their opinions. But we were both kids – it was not as if I was 10 or 15 years older than Sue.

“For a lot of people, though, things are just black and white and you are tarnished with the same brush as other people in totally different situations. We were young and we were daft. But we wanted to continue as a couple.”

Sue Radford looking angry speaking to camera in her car
Matriarch Sue has hit back at the comments calling for Noel’s arrest (Credit: YouTube)

‘There was no knock on the door saying I was in big trouble’

Noel added that he was in any trouble with the authorities over Sue’s pregnancy, admitting he thinks it was because no one reported it. He added that also, back then, it was “all down to your mums and dads and what they thought”.

He added: “There was no knock on the door saying I was in big trouble. I think someone, somewhere may have had to report it, the doctor maybe, but there weren’t any repercussions.”

Addressing the comments from viewers, Noel hit back in the book. He wrote: “Some of the comments from people were brutal – that I should have been arrested and things like that.  Even though I was just 17 – still a kid, including in the eyes of the law. But it doesn’t bother me. People will say what they like. I don’t care what they say.”

Sue and Noel Radford on impact on son Chris

One person it did affect, though, was their eldest son Chris. Mum Sue revealed: “When people talk today about me and Noel and what happened all those years ago, it now affects Chris as well – it’s not just about us any more.  We were being dragged back to it, but for Chris it was the first time he had to face people talking about it.”

Backing her husband, she said: “Noel, like me, was still in education at the time.”

Speaking about when she fell pregnant, Sue said: “I was just 13 and couldn’t believe it.” Noel added: “For both of us, it was just: ‘Oh [bleep].'”

Read more: Inside Sue Radford’s “hectic” Mother’s Day with her 22 kids – from breakfast in bed to sentimental gifts

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Nancy Brown
Associate Editor