The world met Sue and Noel Radford on the show featuring their family called 15 Kids and Counting in 2011. The Radfords are often called “the British Duggars,” referring to the American Duggar family with 19 children.
The world has been amazed by the Radford family and can’t fathom how they can do it. They had their first child in 1989. On average, Sue has been pregnant every 17 months for 24 years. This year she gave birth to her 20th child with 21 pregnancies.
With Sue now 42-years-old and her husband Noel 47-years-old they’ve decided to call it quits. Although, they’ve called it quits before and have just kept adding to their brood. This family has continued to get the media’s attention. We just can’t get enough of the British Duggars.
It’s hard to believe that Sue and Noel could have made it so long and through so many challenges and are still happily married. They’ve been married for 25 years and say that they’re addicted to having children. The world has gone crazy for the Radfords. Keep reading to find out how the Radford family steals the show in the media again and again.
15 Wedding And Announcement Of Grandchild
Sophie Radford is one of 20 Radford children. Now an adult, she’s happily the mother to three of her own children. Her wedding caught the media’s attention. The happy event took place between Sophie and her husband Joe. Sophie was 21 when they were married and Joe was 22. Later in the same month, the couple announced that they were expecting their third child.
Sophie told the Mirror that this would definitely be her last child although her mother thought Sophie and Joe might continue to have more.
When Sophie and Joe made the announcement, the Radfords had two grandchildren. This child makes number three in the ever growing Radford clan. At this point in the larger Radford family, there were 17 children. As we know, Granny and Gramps weren’t finished having children of their own at this point.
14 The Count At 16
The Radfords have been in the news for years for their large family. There’s always a media frenzy when the family grows. At just 37-years-old, Sue Radford gave birth to her 16th child. At this point they were one of the biggest families in Britain - they hadn’t yet claimed the title as the biggest family.
For 23 years the family was having a baby at a rate of one child every 17 months according to the Huffington Post.
Baby Casper made child number 16 for the family. Soon after having him, Sue reported that he had settled right into the family. She was hoping to have more after Casper, something we now know happened for her. She explained in an interview with the Sun that, “I get very emotional when I see the children together.” Sue understands the bond of siblings is something exceptional.
13 Married At 17
Growing up together, Sue and Noel Radford started their relationship earlier than most. They started dating at 14 and soon Sue was pregnant with their first child, Chris. They were determined to keep the baby. Their plans for a large family hadn't taken root during the first pregnancy in 1989. They didn’t have any more children until they we married a few years later at the age of 17.
Soon after getting married, though, the couple became pregnant with their second baby. The children came in quick succession after that.
They stopped for a while after child number 9 and Noel had a vasectomy. During that time, they realized that they still wanted to have more children so Noel had the vasectomy reversed. After 20 children, the family has decided to call it quits so they can enjoy their moments together.
12 19 Was Just A Phase
The Radford clan was happy to announce the birth of baby number 19. On their blog, Sue wrote, “We are so thrilled to announce the safe arrival of our precious baby girl Phoebe Willow Radford.” After the birth of baby number 18, Hallie Alphia Beau, just over a year before, the couple said Hallie would be the last. That wasn’t the case. Sue was 41-years-old when her 19th child was born and Noel, the dad, was 45. Just a month before Phoebe was born, Noel told the sun, “If it happens again, it happens. That’s how we roll.” Clearly the family know how to handle a pregnancy and add another child to the family. Once you hit double digits with children, it's a breeze….well nothing about having that many children could really be a breeze.
11 Pregnant Mom And Daughter
When a woman continues to have children for over 20 years it's likely that she’ll share a pregnancy with a daughter or daughter-in-law before long. Sue Radford and her oldest daughter Sophie did just that.
Sue was expecting baby number 17 and Sophie was expecting baby number 2.
At the time of the second baby’s arrival, Sophie was still living at home. She and her mom went to some doctor’s visits together. Sue was having a difficult time during this pregnancy as her previous pregnancy ended in her only miscarriage. She said being pregnant at the same time as Sophie helped her through the pregnancy. Mom and daughter were able to bond throughout the experience and became even closer than ever. Sue reported that it was really neat to share the different stages of pregnancy with her daughter.
10 20 Is The End
Sue and Noel Radford have said they would have no more babies before, and they proved themselves wrong. After announcing the birth of baby number 20, they said they’re calling it quits. One upside of carrying so many children is that labor gets easier, apparently. Baby Archie was born after just an hour of labor. Sue’s body definitely knows what it’s doing in the delivery room. Sue was 42-years-old when Archie was born and her husband, Noel, was 46.
After having one vasectomy years earlier then deciding to have it reversed, Noel said he’s not going to do that again.
The family didn’t divulge, though, what method of birth control they were planning on using. The Radford children range in age from 28 to infant with 11 boys and 9 girls.
9 Live In An Old Nursing Home
How do you manage with a large family to give everyone a little space and privacy? Try converting an old nursing home into your home. That’s just what the Radford family did. They had clearly outgrown their old home and needed something that would give the kids a better sense of privacy.
The family bought their new home in 2004 for £240,000. That's just over $336,000 USD.
The family had outgrown their 5 bedroom house and decided to sell it before finding this property. It sold right away and they were quite nervous. Soon they found they nursing home which had 10 bedrooms. Sue said she still had to spend a lot of money in renovations but its worked out well. To keep up with a family of this size, they have to do between 6 and 12 loads of laundry and use 4 rolls of toilet paper a day.
8 Bunk Beds Make It Work
Even in a 10 bedroom house you might wonder about the logistics of fitting everyone in. Bunk Beds are key for this family. Some of the children have to share rooms and bunk beds help them to do this. Sue and Noel have reported that even though they have many bunk beds they often go in at bedtime to find the kids all snuggled into just a few beds. The kids love to get cozy with one another and snuggle in at bed time. The family does staggered bedtimes starting at about 7 pm. Sue admitted, though, that it can be difficult getting the little ones to actually stay in bed. In an interview with Pinkoddy, Sue reported that most of the children didn’t have a problem with bedwetting. One had a bit of an issue but he was able to outgrow it by the time he was 5 years old.
7 Family Vacation With 20
Many families struggle to take a vacation every few years. It has become a priority for the Radford family. With a family this large, family vacations take major planning. This family already spends about $350USD on groceries each week and about $42,000 a year to feed and clothe their children. They budget all year round for birthdays and celebrations. That being said, they also make a place in the budget for a foreign holiday each year. For the couple’s 25th wedding anniversary, they took the family to Florida to celebrate. All 20 of the kids went along on the dream vacation to Disney World.
Fans were in shock over how the family could afford the trip and also about how brave they were to fly such a distance with that many children in tow.
In the picture above, the family is relaxing by the pool in Lanzarote in 2011.
6 Pregnant At 14
Sue and Noel Radford have known each other since childhood. They met when they were just seven-years-old and neighbors. Both children were adopted at birth and lived in small families.
At just 14-years-old, Sue got pregnant.
She had her first baby, Chris, in 1989. Today, Chris is 28-years-old. The couple then didn’t have any more children until they were married a few years later. Sue said she’s been asked if she thinks she has such a large family now because of being adopted. She reported in a Video on the Sun’s website that she thought it probably did have something to do with it. She explained that she lived with just one brother and would have loved to live in a house full of kids like she has now.
5 No Government Support Here
Most people are surprised to find out that with 20 children, the Radfords aren’t getting some sort of government support. The family runs their own bake shop and lives on the proceeds from that. They do receive the Child Benefit which is open to all parents in Britain. They get a certain amount of tax free money from the government for each child based on the age of the child. According to the BBC it is a tax free payment to help parents pay for the cost of raising children.
The family pays about £250 for one week of groceries. That’s about $350 US.
Even a budget of $350 could make it difficult to feed 20 children. According to the Daily Star, the family uses about 130 pints (16.25 gallons) of milk, 20 loaves of bread, 14 boxes of cereal and 28 toilet rolls.
4 Gifts Still Happen With 20
The holidays can be taxing for a normal sized family so one would think it could only multiply in a family with 20 children. In the Radford home, Christmas is still quite an event. Even with a weekly grocery bill of about $350USD the Radfords are able to make holidays and birthdays special for the kids. They spend about a total of £30,000 a year keeping their kids clothed and fed. That’s just over $42,000USD. Sue starts Christmas shopping in September but she budgets for it throughout the entire year.
For Christmas, the family bought 3 turkeys, almost 8 pounds of potatoes, 56 Yorkshire puddings and an endless supply of veggies.
Noel explains that Christmas dinner has to be served to the family, “like a conveyor belt” to get all of the food out to everyone.
3 One Loss - Pregnancy #17
It’s amazing to learn that in over 20 years of having children, Sue and Noel Radford only experienced one loss. It was an incredibly difficult incident for the family. Sue reported that it changed her. A mother that has experienced the same loss can sympathize with her sorrow. Sue and Noel went in for a 21 week scan for baby number 17 only to find out his heart had stopped beating 2 days before. The couple was heartbroken. In 24 years of having children, Sue averaged a pregnancy every 17 months. It is an incredible toll on her body but her body has been able to handle all of the pregnancies. It’s unclear what happened during this pregnancy.
With as many times as she’s been pregnant, she’s definitely beaten the odds on miscarriage time and time again.
2 Planned On 3 Or 4 Children
The couple unexpectedly got pregnant when Sue was just 14-years-old. She said she thought they were being careful and that she was afraid to tell her parents. Sue and Noel were both adopted as babies so it was very important to them to be able to keep the first child. Her parents were upset at the news at first but supported her choice to raise the child. They made Sue and Noel take a brake for a bit “until the dust settled” but after the doctor recommended it would be good for them to see each other their parents let them continue. Noel eventually got his own apartment and Sue was able to visit with the baby during the day. That was their first taste of family life. After a few years, they got married when Sue was 17 and had more children. They loved the feeling of a family and being parents and just couldn’t stop after 3 or 4 like they originally planned.
1 Baby #20 Comes After Just A Few Pushes
With over 20 years of labor and delivery experience, Sue Radford was up for the job of having baby number 20. Even after so many labors Sue says it still makes her nervous. She noted that so many unexpected things can happen so quickly in the delivery room. It is said that once a woman is pregnant her body remembers how to do it. Her hips loosen earlier and spread wider with each pregnancy. It must have been true for Sue. With baby number 20, she was in labor for just about an hour and he entered the world with just a few pushes. In her early 40s, Sue is considered a high risk pregnancy. Her and her husband have decided to call it quits after baby number 20 but they’ve said it before.