“I would have liked to have done less reality TV”

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Spencer Matthews rose to prominence in Made In Chelsea, the award-winning reality drama that followed the love lives of a group of wealthy Londoners in their twenties.

But now at 32, the ex-Etonian says life couldn’t be more different from his drenched days on the popular show. He has been married to Irish model Vogue Williams since 2018 and has two children – Theodore, two, and Gigi, six months.

He’s also sober and a successful entrepreneur in his own right, having recently started a low-alcohol alcoholic beverage company called CleanCo.

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“I’m not sure I knew myself, or even be friends with myself, three years ago,” says Matthews, reflecting on all the changes. He says sobriety seemed a natural lifestyle choice before his son was born.

“I remember Theodore was going to be born in a few months, and I was at the stage where I was drinking really hard enough, and it was going to be a big shock for the system. When you have children, you realize that it is is not really about you anymore – so you need to be ready and available for them at all times. “

That said, the TV star says there is a difference between being sober and being sober, and that there was no moment of dramatic intervention where he ultimately said no to alcohol. Like a growing number of people, he was simply “sober curious” – interested in questioning his drinking habits for health reasons.

“I choose not to drink alcohol but I don’t see it as an enemy,” he stresses. “I’m not recovering and I don’t have an alcohol addiction problem; I just prefer to live my life sober, having been drunk for much of my 20s and late teens. .

“In the past, I drank to be social and had developed bad habits over time. I didn’t even know I was drinking too much like I was, because it wasn’t that big imminent problem. was not seated by my friends and being told they thought there was a problem. “

Spencer Matthews during the Made In Chelsea era (Laura Lean / PA)

His interest in sobriety led him to found his low-alcohol drink start-up, which has just raised funds to expand worldwide. The company, called CleanCo, uses traditional distillation methods to create ultra-low-alcohol spirits, including rum and gin with 1.2% BAC that taste remarkably similar to the real thing.

“Some of our products contain very small amounts of alcohol, but a lot of everyday foods also contain traces. I cook with wine and if there is a little brandy in the chocolate, I will have it too. Let’s just say there is more alcohol in a ripe banana than there is in a “clean” gin and tonic, and I have never heard of anyone falling down from eating too many bananas. “, he laughs.

Matthews saw a gap in the market for people like him, who don’t see themselves as “problem drinkers” as such, and still wanted to enjoy their favorite booze on a Friday night. “It’s quite difficult to deprive yourself of something you want or desire, especially when you think there is no problem,” he says.

“A lot of people aren’t alcoholics but probably feel like they’re drinking a little too much. I want to make this ‘alcoholic’ drink as regular as you want it to be, but it just won’t. this impact on the the next day. “

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As the low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beverage industry continues to grow, he believes we will see a shift in the approach to alcohol as being full strength and low, and there will be no of stigma attached to the consumption of the latter during a party. at the local pub.

“When I decided to quit alcohol, there was nothing to fill that gap. If I was in a pub I would have to order a Coke and that brings you out negatively to make a positive decision, which is rare.

“If you decide to lose weight or go for a run, most of your friends will think it’s a ‘good for you’ time. Whereas if you don’t go out drinking, your friends think you’ve become boring. I think the stigma around not drinking should change, so it’s not only socially acceptable, but a positive thing.

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“The younger generation drink a lot less anyway,” Matthews continues. He’s right – a recent report from the University of Sheffield found a downward trend in consumption and drunkenness levels among young people, and abstinence rates among 16-24 year olds are also on the rise .

“Ben Branson, the founder of Seedlip [a non-alcoholic drinks brand]said it eloquently when he said it’s not cool anymore to be seen falling from a nightclub at 4 a.m. drunkenness was pretty normal. In fact, you would get a pat on the back for it.

“Now that’s just seen as a little embarrassing. I think kids spend their time and money having experiences that they want to remember and share, whether it’s on social media or with their friends. are different and alcohol plays a much smaller role in younger people in the life of a generation than it did in our own. “

As he speaks enthusiastically about changing attitudes towards drinking culture, Matthews says he is keen not to sound too judgmental about quitting alcohol – all the more so. that his own feast days have been documented in the media for almost a decade.

However, having made drinking a less regular activity in his evenings, he has only good things to say about the positive impact the reduction has had on his life and would encourage anyone curious to give it a try to give it a try. .

“I’m the type of person where if I drink a beer or two, I’ll get a little lazy by nature. I’ll put it off until the next day and be out an hour longer. That really fits the way for me,” says- it. “My goals in life were completely unattainable when I was drinking alcohol and now they seem within my grasp.

“You sleep better, you wake up brighter, you’re more focused. I’m able to train to a pretty high level very regularly,” adds Matthews, who has a strict fitness routine that sees him training for six days. per week. .

“Things are cleaner and sharper. Having said that, do I ever see myself having a glass of champagne on New Years Eve with my family? Yes why not. Or a delicious glass of good wine on vacation with my wife? Sure. The way I see it is that I have complete control and balance over my job, my love, my life and my responsibilities. “

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With the bright future and his life seemingly in balance, does he have any regrets for the “old Spencer” he left behind?

“To be honest, I wish I had done less reality TV,” he laughs. “I probably would have quit television to pursue a career in business earlier.

“I find that as a young entrepreneur, I have a really hard time breaking that mold of being ‘that guy’ from ‘that show.’ It’s not the end of the world, because it was a popular show, but my life is so different now.

“I kind of want to say to people, ‘Well, what were you doing when you were 19? Do you want that to be remembered for the rest of your life?’ It’s kind of an unfair label to wear, especially when you’re sober, as the two people are miles away from each other.

“I try not to regret these things from my past,” Matthews concludes. “As if I hadn’t lived through those years of hedonism, the importance of what we do now wouldn’t have been so powerful to me.”



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