The Duggars have met their match. That reality family seems to have 19 biological children and a 20th kid under their permanent guardianship — but overseas, the Radford family has also welcomed 20 kids.
Yes, nearly three decades after welcoming baby No. 1, Sue and Noel Radford of Lancashire, England, just introduced their 20th addition to the world last month on ITV talk show This Morning and on the Channel 4 documentary 20 Kids and Counting. They were all smiles, but life hasn't been easy for the couple in recent years: Their 17th child, Alfie, was stillborn. (They can sympathize with the Duggars, who lost their 20th biological child.)
Still, the parents and their 19 other kids seem to be thriving now, even though Sue and Noel only earn £50,000 (around $70,000) from their bakery business. And aside from £170 per week in child benefits, they say they receive no state handouts.
Their story gets even harder to believe from there. In news that is sure to make new mothers worldwide jealous, Sue even told the talk show hosts it's easy for her to shed the baby weight. "My body just seems to ping back to normal afterwards," she told the talk show hosts. "The main thing is, running around after them helped me get back into shape quite quickly."
By the way, those children are — deep breath — Christopher, 28; Sophie Rose, 24; Chloe Anne, 22; Jack Richard, 20; Daniel Leon, 18; Luke James, 17; Millie Jo, 16; Katie Louise, 15; James Edward, 14; Ellie May, 12; Aimee Elizabeth, 11; Joshua Benjamin, 10; Max Joseph, 9; Tillie May, 7; Oscar William, 6; Casper Theo, 5; Alfie Thomas (stillborn); Hallie Alphia Beau, 2; Phoebe Willow, 1; and now Archie Rowan. (Eldest daughter Sophie has a family of her own: Daisy Mae, 5; Ayprill Louise, 3; and Leo Thomas, 2.)
So how did this massive family get started? Noel and Sue met as children, and she became pregnant with his child when she was just 14. (MTV missed out on a prime Teen Mom candidate!) They decided to keep the baby since they were both given up for adoption themselves, as Daily Mail reports.
These days they live in a £240,000 (roughly $336,000) Victorian house, a former care home that they bought 13 years ago. They spend the equivalent of $420 a week on groceries since the family consumes 18 pints of milk, 3 liters of juice, and three boxes of cereal every day. And believe it or not, they say they have no credit cards or finance agreements and they even take an international vacation once a year.
The parents do have help, though. Just like in the Duggar family, the older children help raise the younger ones. "I have to help out a lot," Amy said on the talk show. "It's stressful."
The Radford parents say Alfie will be their last baby — "We're happy to be finishing on a nice even number," Sue says — but Noel doesn't want to get another vasectomy, after getting one in the mid-2000s and then getting it reversed. "We'll work something out," he contends.
Uh-huh. Let's just say we won't be surprised when we hear about the 21st Radford baby!