With Valentine’s Day just around the corner [at the time of writing], my meeting with Adam and Katy Rickitt was entirely appropriate. I spent a wonderful afternoon with the loved-up couple who shared their ‘how we met’ story; the rituals that keep them connected and why they never want to leave Cheshire, writes Johanna Bolhoven. (Photography by Ian Wheat Photography)
It’s been widely reported that the couple’s love story, and it really is a love story, began when Good Morning Britain correspondent (then) Katy Fawcett went to interview former Coronation Street star and pop singer, Adam Rickitt, at the RSPCA’s Barnes Hill Animal Centre in Birmingham in 2011.
Back then Adam had swapped the world of soap operas for the reality of crusading for animal welfare. As a life-long animal lover, he was leading the campaign to find finance for the National Hospital at Frankley. Little did he know that this not insignificant task would lead him to find the second greatest love of his life.
In 2006 Adam left Britain to start a new life in New Zealand on their soap Shortland Street. Despite only intending to stay for 6-weeks, he ended up spending five years in Auckland and says it was the best acting move he ever made: “I went to work every day with a smile on my face, I loved it.
My character was amazing to play as he had so many different storylines; he arrived in the show as a back packer but by the end he had been a pimp, involved in gun running, killed his best friend, sold dead body parts and was involved in gangland stuff.”
During his time in New Zealand Adam gave a home to Rufus, an Australian cattle dog that its owner was going to drown along with other puppies. “Thankfully, I rescued Rufus and the others and re-homed them all.”
“Love me, love my dog”
Rufus travelled back to the UK with Adam and is now a permanent fixture in the couple’s Knutsford home. In January 2017 Rufus was joined by adorable bulldog Tallulah, who Katy rescued, in an almost parallel storyline, after an exposé on illegal puppy breeding.
Something tells me these two were destined to be together.
Adam said he knew Katy would become his wife from the moment they first met: “I reached 32, and thought, maybe I’ll be lucky in family and business, but not lucky in love. But she turned up to interview me, and immediately after, I rang my mum and said, ‘I’ve just met the girl I’m going to marry.’”
Katy remembers the instant attraction lovingly describing Adam as a baby Labrador – enthusiastic, loveable and fun.
I was only supposed to be interviewing him for an hour but ended up staying for almost five.”
When they spent 6-hours talking on their second date they both knew they’d found something special.
“She’s the other half of my soul”
Nine months after their first meeting the couple moved in together and an engagement quickly followed in 2012.
Their big day took place at North Yorkshire’s Victorian Gothic Carlton Towers on December 20, 2014.
Adam said: “I’d have proposed to her the day I met her, but Katy had this rule that you can’t get engaged until you’ve been going out for a year.”
With a cheeky smile he added: “We almost made it. I genuinely believe you’re born with half a soul, and the only way you become truly happy is by finding that other half. I’ve found mine.”
This declaration of love will be further cemented when Adam, who turns 40 in May, gets a tattoo for his birthday. He has chosen a wing and its significance becomes clear when he tells me that Katy will join him in having a single feather tattoo.
“If you clip a bird’s primary feathers it can’t fly. So, I will have a wing and Katy will have a feather, which means that I can only soar and reach the skies when I am with her, because she completes me.” Adam tells me whilst gazing fondly at Katy.
Katy, however, admits to having a terrible pain threshold, “So, if anyone bottles it it’ll be me,” she jokes, “despite the fact that mine will be about a fraction of the size”.
Katy continues: “What can I say, Adam is my hero and he battles pain every day with his back condition (19 years ago, Adam was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondilitis, a rare disease that causes the spine’s vertebrae to fuse together if they remain still for too long) so I’m determined to conquer my fear in the name of love!”
Katy continues: “What can I say, Adam is my hero and he battles pain every day with his back condition (19 years ago, Adam was diagnosed with Ankylosing Spondilitis, a rare disease that causes the spine’s vertebrae to fuse together if they remain still for too long) so I’m determined to conquer my fear in the name of love.”
So, what does the future hold for the couple, who recently celebrated their third wedding anniversary?
Earlier this month Adam’s character Kyle Kelly made an exciting return on Channel 4’s Hollyoaks, something the star is very happy about. Adam tells me: “Everyone is proud to be a part of Hollyoaks, myself included.”
Adam first joined the cast of Hollyoaks in 2017, playing the character of Kyle – an MS sufferer who formerly dated Nancy. Kyle is gay and has been involved with closeted gay character Ryan Knight.
Adam continues: “Soaps have the power to educate people, change their attitudes and break taboos, and Hollyoaks is pushing the boundaries even further. It’s great to be part of this and to encourage the conversation.”
Adam has nothing but praise for his news reporter wife. He said: “Katy is amazing. You can see she instantly puts people at ease during interviews; it’s like talking to your best friend. She always strives to humanise the headlines and effortlessly manages to provide an insight into the real people and stories behind them.”
In May 2017 Katy covered the Manchester bombing and Adam remembers: “For days and weeks afterwards she was contacted by some of the people she interviewed on that tragic night. She spent several hours afterwards talking to everyone and helping where she could.
Katy prides herself on wanting to understand all subject areas, because they eventually relate to or intertwine with news stories and this comes across in her reporting. I couldn’t be prouder.”
Katy’s job often involves approaching strangers and asking questions that many would consider too personal to ask, even of their closest friends. “I really enjoy interacting with people and it’s hard to imagine getting any pleasure out of reporting if you don’t enjoy talking to people.
Reporting has been my whole life. I feel privileged to have met so many interesting and wonderful people from all walks of life, and from so many countries. I can’t imagine doing anything else.”
One story that caught my attention during our chat was of a former caretaker who had opened Britain’s first museum based in Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, entirely dedicated to vacuum cleaners. “He could tell you the make and model of a vacuum cleaner, just by the noise of the motor. He was amazing!”
The couple often bounce ideas of each other. Katy said: “Adam is a great sounding board. His experience means that he knows what to say, how to put it together, how to illustrate it and give it a clear structure.”
“Because even when it rains, Cheshire is really pretty”
Adam grew up in Cuddington and has family in the Knutsford and Northwich areas, so in November 2016 the couple moved from the midlands to Cheshire and have never looked back, “We love it here and everything the area has to offer.” they tell me.
In April 2017 Knutsford was named the best place to live in the North West of England, placing the Cheshire town above Greater Manchester hotspots like Chorlton, Uppermill and Saddleworth (source: The Sunday Times).
Adam agrees. He says: “With some places, it’s about lifestyle; with others it’s about earning a living; but in Knutsford, you get both. It has well connected transport links which enable you to commute easily, and with its boutique shops, galleries, beautiful countryside, and cultured bar and restaurant scene, Knutsford offers a chic city centre vibe in a quaint country setting.”
Self-confessed foodies and cocktail connoisseurs, their favourite Knutsford haunts include ‘The Botanist’, for unusual cocktail concoctions – the couple have even created their own ‘go to’ cocktail (see recipe below); and ‘Jack Rabbits’ American Dinner for slow cooked ribs.
The epic Traeger Pro Series barbeque residing in their back garden (this is more than a grill; it’s a wood-fired meat machine and the undisputed king of barbeques), and the wonderfully retro cocktail and drinks cabinet in the front room complete with bulldog cocktail shaker, confirms this as more than just a passing interest for the couple.
Sensing a pair of kindred spirits, I made reference to Good Morning Britain’s entertainment guru, Richard Arnold, making a joke on GMBTV earlier in the week about Katy’s house cleaning efforts, and Adam confirmed that he is the one who does most of the cooking and cleaning.
I was delighted to tell them that it’s the same in my house and I never thought I’d find someone else who leaves the pictures at a slight tilt to proudly show off that they’d completed a rare clean.
‘Go to’ Cocktail
- Double measure of whiskey (Monkey Shoulder)
- Single measure of Disaronno
- Single measure of Chambord
- The juice of 1 or 2 lemons
- Topped up with apple juice
A walk in the Park
When they’re not dining out or cocktail making, the couple like to walk their dogs, Rufus and Tallulah, and there are some impressive places to walk in Knutsford. “We love Tatton Park,” Katy tells me. “It’s a must-see if you want to experience some really beautiful country surroundings and it’s where we often take the dogs for some exercise.”
Another activity the couple never miss is ‘bubble time’, a Friday date-night ritual that ensures they both have the opportunity to decompress and reconnect after their hectic weeks. And they’ve never missed a date!
Katy and Adam have given me relationship goals all over again and they are without a doubt the soundtrack for my Valentine’s Day.
I couldn’t have hoped to meet a lovelier couple and I sincerely hope our paths cross again, preferably over a dog walk, barbeque and cocktails!