Richard Wilkins is a proud father to five children.
And the 66-year-old entertainment reporter has spoken candidly about becoming a dad at the age of 18, when his girlfriend at the time welcomed their son, Adam, now 48, who has Down syndrome.
He told The Australian Women’s Weekly that he never once considered putting Adam up for adoption when he was born, instead saying he was a ‘blessing’.
‘He’s a blessing’: Richard Wilkins has revealed he never once considered putting his son with Down syndrome up for adoption, after becoming a father at the age of 18. Pictured with Adam
Richard was working at an abattoir in New Zealand and studying to be a teacher when his then-16-year-old girlfriend gave birth to Adam.
He said the couple never once considered aborting Adam or putting him up for adoption because he ‘always wanted to be a dad’.
‘Adam has been the most wonderful blessing to our family,’ the Weekend Today host added. ‘He forced me to grow up so I’m enormously grateful and indebted to Adam.’
Proud father! He said he never once considered aborting Adam or putting him up for adoption as he ‘always wanted to be a dad’
Richard has five children to four different mothers: sons Adam, Christian, 25, and Nick, 35, and daughters Rebecca, 37, and Estella, 15.
Estella’s mother is fashion designer Collette Dinnigan, who reportedly lives in Rome.
In March last year, Richard reflected on raising a son with Down syndrome.
Speaking on Today Extra, he revealed why he had no choice but to put Adam into care when his son was just a baby.
Family: Richard is father to sons Adam, Christian, 25, and Nick, 35, as well as daughters Rebecca, 37, and Estella, 15. He shares his five children with four different mothers
‘I was only 18 when Adam was born [and] his mum was just 16, very unusual for Down syndrome people to be born to such young parents… It was a shock to be a parent let alone of a Down syndrome child,’ he said.
‘I was getting on with my life and career, I wanted to travel the world and make music and do that sort of stuff, and it was with some reluctance that after about a year we put Adam in a home.
‘People said you can have him adopted. But I thought, he is always going to be my son and I want a relationship with him. He has had great people in his life over the years.’
‘I was only 18’: In March last year, Richard reflected on raising a son with Down syndrome. Speaking on Today Extra at the time, Richard revealed why he was forced to send Adam into care in his native New Zealand when he was a baby
The Channel Nine personality went on to call Adam ‘my rock’ and said ‘to have a Down syndrome person in your family is an absolute joy’.
He conceived Adam on the night of his 18th birthday, with his then 16-year-old girlfriend, in New Zealand.
In 2014, the TV presenter told Daily Mail Australia that he still feels ‘guilty’ for putting his first son in a home.
‘I still feel guilty for not being there all the time and for not being the pin-up boy for father of the year,’ he said.
‘He’s happy and healthy and living in New Zealand, but he wouldn’t be if it wasn’t for people who had helped us along the way.
‘I was still there for him any day of the week, but I had to relinquish everyday care to others.’
‘I had to relinquish everyday care to others’: In 2014, the TV presenter told Daily Mail Australia that he still feels ‘guilty’ for putting his first son in a home