I'm so happy with my toyboy househusband, 40, says actress Caroline Quentin, 52
00:07 GMT, 31 July 2012
When she married a man 12 years her junior, cynics said it would never last.
But 14 years after they first met, Caroline Quentin and her toyboy husband Sam Farmer look as happy as newlyweds – which, they say, is all down to swapping traditional gender roles.
While the Men Behaving Badly star continues to work, her 40-year-old husband stays at their home in Devon to look after their two children, Emily, 13, and William, nine.
Love at first sight: Caroline Quentin with husband Sam Farmer
The pair, who married in 2006, came to the decision after they ‘compared wage packets’.
‘A farmer in our village said to Sam “You and your wife have changed sex”,’ she added.
‘We’ve swapped roles in the sense that Sam stays at home and runs the house – it’s just the way it works for us.
‘It’s the same with our age difference. I’m 52 and Sam is 40, but that has always been completely irrelevant.’
However, she admitted that being the breadwinner is not always easy. ‘Some days I wake up and don’t know which bed I’m in – I’ve been working on so many different projects all over the country,’ she added.
This month's Woman & Home magazine
‘Wherever I am, my mind is on home and I’ll be talking to Sam and the kids on the phone.
‘It’s probably hard for Sam and the kids when I’m coming and going. I’ve always been good cop to Sam’s bad cop.
‘I can be fun because I’m usually going off again. I can upset their routine, but they’re very kind to me about it.’
The actress met Mr Farmer in 1998 when he was a runner on hit BBC comedy Men Behaving Badly – just a year after Miss Quentin’s high-profile divorce from comic Paul Merton.
She told Woman & Home magazine: ‘I didn’t believe in love at first sight until the moment I saw Sam in a car park in Worthing 14 years ago.
We were on set for Men Behaving Badly, it was lashing down with rain and this extremely handsome young man in a baseball cap came up to me and said, “Can I get you breakfast”
‘I thought, “No thank you, but you can get me something else!” I asked one of the girls on set who he was and she told me he was the new runner.
‘Four days later, he asked me out in front of Martin Clunes and Neil Morrissey, which was incredibly brave.’
The actress, who presents BBC2’s Restoration Home and is due to star in ITV2 drama Switch, revealed that their relationship moved quickly after their first date in a Spanish restaurant in Soho.
‘I remember thinking, “What a lovely man”. I trusted my instincts, and he has remained exactly as he came across – that doesn’t happen very often.
‘We got on so well and laughed about the same things. That was it. I was pregnant with Emily within a year.’
Actress Caroline Quentin with her first husband comedian comedian Paul Merton
She also spoke of the ‘dark days’ following her two miscarriages, adding: ‘Then, after all that heartbreak, William came along and we couldn’t believe our luck.’
Mr Farmer, who is about to launch his own range of personal care products for teenagers, said: ‘Being a stay-at-home dad is liberating. I have a good relationship with Emily and William, and they get a male perspective.
‘I enjoy the reaction I get at dinner parties. Some people don’t know how to respond, while others are fascinated.
‘It was the logical choice when the children were young and we were both working flat out. We knew something had to change, so we compared wage packets and it made sense that I should be the one to stay at home.’
He said his wife was being ‘really supportive’ of his business venture, adding: ‘She’s looking forward to being at home more.
‘The house comes to life when Caroline is at home. I’ll find them making papier mch balloons and the dogs running around. Caroline makes things fun.’