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Exclusive | Tom Daley on family and fatherhood: ‘I’m definitely the strict one!’

The Olympic star reveals how life has changed since he and husband Dustin welcome son Robbie to the world last year.

By Will Stroude

As Tom Daley gets back in the pool to prepare for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, he finds himself in a very different position to the one he was in before the Rio Games three years ago.

Now married to Dustin Lance Black and father to a 15-month-old son, Robbie, life’s priorities are changing quickly for the 25-year-old diver, whose sporting achievements are matched only by his outspoken position as one of the country’s most prominent LGBTQ role models.

Now, to help remind us all the issues that are really important, Tom has teamed up with Fairy Non-Bio to support their #ToMyBaby campaign, which asks parents to share their first, fundamental wishes for their child in a letter, and share it using the #ToMyBaby hashtag.

Tom’s message for baby Robbie is clear: “I just want you to feel free to be who you want to be. We’ll always love and support you, no matter what.”

Each time a letter or the video below is shared, Fairy Non-Bio will donate £1 to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity – and to celebrate the campaign we caught up with Tom to get the inside scoop on how life has changed since becoming a father, and whether he and Dustin will be adding to their brood any time soon…

Why did you decide to get involved in Fairy Non-Bio’s ‘To My Baby’ campaign?

Lots of people get so ahead of the ball when thinking about their baby’s future. When actually the most important thing is for your baby to grow up to be happy, healthy and loved! The fact that the campaign was in partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital makes it very important to me. 

The aim of the campaign is to share your first fundamental wishes for your child: what are yours for Robbie, and have they changed since he was born? Do you think they will do in the future?

I honestly just want Robbie to feel happy and loved. For him to grow up in an environment of diversity, inclusivity and acceptance. 

What is the one thing you weren’t prepared for when you dived into the world of parenting?

There is so much that you aren’t prepared to feel when you become a parent. I never knew I could love anything as much as I love my son. He is the best thing to ever happen to us.

Have you and Dustin experienced any negativity or criticism as same-sex parents, either online or in person?

When we first announced our surrogacy journey we experienced some negative comments, but when people see us together, they realise how much we love and care for our son just like any other parents. 

Would you like to have more children? If so, would you go down the surrogacy route again, or consider adoption?

We have always said that we want a big family but we want to make sure it’s at the right time and Robbie is definitely keeping us busy for now. We would consider both options – we have never ruled out adoption. 

How has having a child affected your relationship with Dustin? Have you started scheduling ‘date nights’?

We have been on a couple of date nights since Robbie was born but quite honestly, spending time together as a family is so special for us, we are just loving every minute. 

View this post on Instagram

Good morning Paris 👨‍👨‍👦

A post shared by Dustin Lance Black (@dlanceblack) on

What advice would you give to any other LGBTQ peope looking to become parents?

It can be a long process with lots of ups and downs, but the moment when you get to hold your child in your arms will make everything so worth it; beyond what you can imagine. 

Who’s better at changing the nappies or getting up in the middle of the night?

We split the changing and nighttime wake-ups. I think we make a great team! 

How would you describe yours and Dustin’s parenting styles?

I’m definitely the strict one out of the two of us. I like to get Robbie into a routine and Lance looks at his cute face and always caves!

Life as an Olympic athlete is tough even without a child to think about – have your priorities had to change since becoming a parents?

Yes of course! Robbie is my number one. Everything in our life revolves around him and it feels great! It has changed my perspective of how I think about diving. 

View this post on Instagram

Papa can’t wait to take Robbie swimming again!! ❤️

A post shared by Tom Daley (@tomdaley) on

As a parent, what are your thoughts on LGBTQ-inclusive education and the current protests against in outside many schools across the UK?

I think there just needs to be a lot less hate and discrimination. We are all human beings. Learning about everyone from different religions, cultures and races allows people to make educated choices rather than leading with ignorance. 

What information do you wish there was more of for LGBTQ parents, and what would your advice on it be?

It is a very complicated process and I know there is a lot of information around but it isn’t always made to be as straightforward as it could be. 

For every share of Fairy’s video or letter using #ToMyBaby, Fairy Non Bio will donate £1 to Great Ormond Street Hospital Children’s Charity.