For many people, hitting 40 is a huge milestone – one that often makes them reflect on what they have accomplished, both professionally and personally. Luckily for Tom Fletcher, he’s still three years off his big 4-0 and has already achieved more than most.
The singer has spent the past 20 years notching up hits with his band McFly and writing bestselling children’s books, including The Christmasaurus and There’s A Monster In Your Book. More recently he has become a YouTube sensation, with a channel boasting more than 660,000 subscribers.
Away from work, he’s happily married to his childhood sweetheart, 2020 I’m A Celeb winner Giovanna Fletcher, 37, with whom he shares sons Buzz, eight, Buddy, six, and Max, four.
Speaking to OK! this week, he even let us in on the secret that he'd actually called it quits with his future-wife when they were first acquainted. “I asked her out on the day we met. She said yes but I dumped her two days later. Then I spent years grovelling, trying to get her to go back out with me!"
Not one to rest on his laurels, Tom is about to launch another kids’ book, Space Band, which he says was inspired by his own experiences with McFly.
It tells the story of George, Neila and Bash, who have formed the worst band on Earth – but make up for what they lack in talent and confidence with their passion.
“That is the journey of any band,” says Tom, who joined McFly in 2003, aged 18. “You are terrible when you start, not only at your own instrument, but also at playing with each other.
“One of the big experiences from the band that I could relate to this book was our first 34 show – we went from playing in tiny rehearsal rooms with a handful of friends watching to our first live show in front of 60,000 people alongside Rod Stewart, James Brown and Ronnie Wood. That’s what I wanted Space Band to feel like.”
Tom first tried his hand at writing kids’ books back in 2012, when he and McFly bandmate Dougie Poynter released The Dinosaur That Pooped Christmas, which went on to become the most popular debut children’s book that year.
Now he says when he has a new idea for a story, he always runs it past his own kids.
“I’ll subtly try to slip ideas into conversations to figure out what they’re thinking and just to see if it’s something they’d engage with,” says Tom. “When I first put the idea to Buzz, he went crazy and was like, ‘Yeah, and then this would happen and then the baddies could do this…’ and he was flapping his arms about excitedly.
"He just went crazy and I was like, ‘OK, I think this is a good idea, because he’s really got excited about it.’” Tom and Giovanna – who is also a successful author, vlogger and podcaster – tied the knot in 2012 and started their family by welcoming Buzz in 2014.
Reflecting on how fatherhood has changed him, Tom admits the biggest challenge has been adapting to the lack of sleep.
“But, actually, I’ve realised you can do a lot on very little sleep,” he says. “I can honestly say that nothing prepares you for being a parent, no matter how prepared you think you are. But it’s the best, it’s amazing, and I love it.”
Now that his children are a little older, Tom is enjoying sharing his passions with them – including music. “I’m such a sucker for the stuff my kids love,” he says. “At the minute, they’re into Star Wars and music. It’s so cool that they’re into the same things I’m into.
“The coolest thing happened recently. I took my kids to see Green Day, Weezer and Fall Out Boy and it just blew their minds. It felt like being at a gig with my mates – but it was with my sons.”
Tom’s sons are clearly the centre of his world, but carving out quality time with his wife is also important to him. As a result, the couple have date nights whenever they can.
“We like going to the theatre and for dinner,” says Tom. “Sometimes it can be difficult to escape, though. I remember when we first got married, we said we’d do something really big for our 10th anniversary and go away somewhere. And then when it got here, we were like, ‘Shall we just go for dinner?’”
Tom met Giovanna at the Sylvia Young Theatre School in London when they were both 13, but it took another few years for them to start dating properly – something that he admits was his fault.
“I asked her out on the day we met. She said yes but I dumped her two days later. Then I spent years grovelling, trying to get her to go back out with me – which thankfully worked! We’ve been together for 19 years this year.”
And Tom has clearly matured since his early teens, as he is now known for being a bit of an incurable romantic. In 2004, he wrote a love song for Giovanna for Valentine’s Day, All About You, which would go on to be a massive hit for McFly.
But it’s not just his relationship with his wife and kids that Tom values. He and his bandmates – Dougie, 34, DannyJones, 36, and Harry Judd, 36 – have forged a strong friendship and remained extremely close over the years. There have, of course, been ups and downs.
The quartet announced they were on an “indefinite hiatus” in 2016, following two years of touring with Busted as part of pop supergroup McBusted, and confessed “stupid” in-fighting had led to their split.
Although the boys went their separate ways to pursue solo projects, they decided to reunite and released new music in 2019. And this year, the band achieved a lifelong ambition when they were invited to perform at Glastonbury.
“I look back at pictures and just think, ‘That’s mad,’” smiles Tom. “It’s on the bucket list of any band, it’s just legendary.”
These days, with three kids to look after and a demanding work schedule, Tom often likes to spend his downtime relaxing at home on the sofa – and he says that top of his TV picks this autumn is Strictly Come Dancing.
He took part in the BBC contest last year and managed to stay in for eight weeks with his professional partner, Amy Dowden. The pair are still firm friends and Tom and Giovanna even attended her wedding in July.
“I still speak to everyone, which is lovely, and I saw a bunch of them at Amy’s wedding,” says Tom. “It’s just hard because everyone has their own lives and careers, and goes back to their day jobs, but we have a WhatsApp group to keep in touch.
"It feels like a lifetime ago that I was on the show. It was amazing, though, and such an honour to take part, because the whole country loves it. It was brilliant.”
But is he jealous that he won’t be slipping on the sequinned outfits and heading out on the dance floor with this year’s hopefuls?
Tom laughs, “I know exactly what they’re all going through. Dancing is fun but it’s also very hard work.
“So I have to say that I’m looking forward to watching at home this year!”
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