Inside Amanda & Clive Owen's relationship as they 'battle to save marriage' – from 20-year age gap to 'invasive' fame
IT was "love at first sight" when Amanda Livingstone met Clive Owen at his ramshackle farm on a dark night over a quarter of a century ago.
Their romance seemed to defy the odds, with Clive, 66, twice the age of former model Amanda when they got together and devoting most of his time to his job.
But their relationship – and big brood – has captured the hearts of Brits across the country after they bared their life to the public on Our Yorkshire Farm.
Not everything in their large garden is rosy, however.
Juggling looking after nine children, one thousand sheep on their 2,000-acre Ravenseat farm in Swaledale and a burgeoning showbiz career has proved challenging for the couple.
Now the couple are fighting to save their marriage, with Amanda, 47, having moved out during a "rocky patch".
In a joint statement issued yesterday, they admitted: "We never said our marriage was perfect," adding: "Just like any marriage we have our stresses and strains, coupled with all the complexities of what we do on the farm and bringing up nine kids."
So how did their fairytale relationship which has thrilled viewers for over six years turn sour?
Born in Huddersfield, Amanda – whose gentle giant dad Maurice died when she was just 17 – did not appear to be destined for country life.
She dreamed of following her mum into modelling, but after landing a few gigs she realised it wasn't as glamorous as she'd imagined.
Amanda said: "When you think you're going to be a model in like Vogue and Cosmopolitan, actually then you end up doing knitting catalogues… It was cardigans, floral, Prince Diana, 1980. No thank you."
The townie, whose pals went to Oxford University or became bankers, was drawn to the great outdoors after coming across vet James Herriot's books and magazines about rural life.
She fell in love with the idea of becoming a shepherdess and took on various odds jobs in farms in Wiltshire and Cumbria, mucking out, clipping sheep and repairing dry stone walls.
Fate brought her to Clive in 1995, when she was 21 and he was 42.
His wife had left him about a year earlier and the carpets still showed imprints of the furniture she had taken
Clive’s wife of 13 years had recently left him after they "fell out of love" and he was looking after the sprawling Ravenseat on his own.
A farmer sent Amanda to his remote farm to borrow a ram, and she arrived when it was “pitch black".
Clive invited her inside for a cup of tea and she has described it as "love at first sight" – though his house was a "s***hole".
She recalled: "You can't ever say I went after Clive for his beautiful home.
"His wife had left him about a year earlier and the carpets still showed imprints of the furniture she had taken, there was a bare lightbulb hanging in the middle of the room and the living room carpet was so damp it felt like walking on moss."
The couple kept finding excuses to meet up and gradually became a couple.
Clive said "I do remember this six-foot-something woman knocked on the door. I was very taken with her. You couldn't not be.
“We were friends first then went out a little bit together.
I do remember this six-foot-something woman knocked on the door. I was very taken with her. You couldn't not be
"With us both coming from non-farming backgrounds we were kind of peas in a pod really, but we didn't know that at the time."
After five years together they tied the knot in 2000, with Amanda wearing a cream coloured dress and standing beside a majestic horse with Clive on the other side.
The couple never expected to have such a big family, but Amanda said it felt "right" to fill their home with "people and chatter".
Their brood are Raven, 20, Reuben, 17, Miles, 15, Edith, 12, Violet, ten, Sidney, nine, Annas, seven, Clemmie, five, and Nancy, four.
They all pitch in on the farm, where the family look after 1,000 sheep, 40 cows, six dogs and four ponies.
The children have grown up with an understanding of farming and how it works – evident on this week's episode of Our Yorkshire Farm when they came across a missing lamb which had died.
Young Clemmy told her siblings: "It's okay, sometimes they have to die," impressing viewers with her maturity.
Kardashians of the countryside
Everything changed when comic actor Adrian Edmondson included the bustling family in his ITV show The Dales in 2011.
Amanda stole the limelight from the Young Ones star and became a series regular, along with Clive.
They then featured on Julia Bradbury's Coast to Coast and New Lives In The Wild with Ben Fogle.
Amanda has also released a series of Yorkshire Shepherdess books, with the first out in 2014.
Three years ago the Owens got their own show, which became Channel 5's biggest factual hit with four million viewers.
The couple were dubbed the "Kardashians of the Countryside" due to the public's fascination with the comings and goings on their farm.
But behind the picture postcard lifestyle, not all was perfect.
Last month Clive's eldest daughter Rosie, a 34-year-old barmaid, claimed her dad had drifted away from him since meeting Amanda.
Rosie, one of two children from Clive’s first marriage, said her dad rarely speaks to her, and claimed their bond has deteriorated since he and Amanda got together.
She only found out about their relationship when she found a Valentine's Day card from Amanda in her dad's car.
Despite getting on with her new stepmum, Rosie said she eventually stopped visiting Ravenseat, and Clive hasn't called to ask why or invite her over.
She said: “It feels like my childhood disappeared. My childhood home has been completely taken away from me.”
Rosie added that she struggled to watch Our Yorkshire Farm and had to turn it off.
She said: “I lasted about five minutes and ended up in tears. So I switched off and have never watched anything since.
"It breaks my heart because it is like watching a past that I haven’t been in for years. It’s like a family that I’d love to belong to but I just don’t."
Pressures of fame
Amanda has spoken about the impact of fame, especially fans coming to see where they live.
She said: "Of course it’s invasive. People know where we live and they can arrive there. Hundreds come past each day. Sometimes it can be more tiring smiling than shovelling s***."
Ravenseat is not the easiest of places to live.
Every winter the electricity is cut off due to bad weather and the water supply freezes.
That means they have to carry buckets of water from the river for all the animals and the family.
Sometimes it can be more tiring smiling than shovelling s***"
Having to tend to the constant demands of livestock means Amanda and Clive rarely take a holiday.
Amanda previously said: "I don't go on holiday. I guess it's just not conducive with our lives here and what we do."
She has spoken about her ability to multitask – but perhaps there are now too many plates spinning at once.
The constant demands of celebrity mean Amanda has recently been focused elsewhere.
Amanda has amassed an estimated £1million fortune thanks to her TV and book work.
She is currently promoting her new book Celebrating The Seasons.
Fans of the show will hope that all Amanda needs is a rest and that her break from Clive is only temporary.
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