James Cracknell’s Wife on Falling in Love With a Celebrity

When I first achieved my now-partner in 2019, I had no thought he was well-known. He certain was handsome even though, with an uncomplicated smile and wonderful tooth to match. I was new off the airplane from New York when we sat subsequent to just about every other at our College of Cambridge matriculation in England. A person created a quip about rowing to him, which he laughed off. I asked him if he was an athlete. “Not seriously,” he replied in his British accent. I took him at deal with price, and we started off talking about what we had been learning.

We held managing into each and every other on campus, exactly where we had been both of those pursuing master’s degrees. I discovered his title was James and that he was 46, compared to my 33, so we were being regarded as experienced college students, while we were being hardly out of place in Cambridge’s robust write-up-grad university student body. I ended up tutoring him in stats following he requested me for assist. It was in the course of these review periods that James explained to me he was identified in the United Kingdom for profitable two Olympic gold medals for rowing in 2000 and 2004. He pointed out that he had finished an advertisement for a area eyeglasses retailer. Because I’m American and experienced just moved to the region, I did not realize the retail outlet was the U.K.’s biggest eyeglasses chain. I assumed it was a mother-and-pop shop, supplied his nonchalance.

James Cracknell celebrates winning gold at the 2000 Olympic Game titles in Sydney, Australia.Clive Brunskill/Allsport / Getty Illustrations or photos

I also grew up in New York Metropolis, exactly where everybody has a story, and everybody is somebody. I guess you could say I’m jaded, but I imagine this is also why I dismissed some of the clues of his celeb for months. In our “Cambridge bubble,” we were often all around the same team of individuals. When we started relationship, it rarely brought on a ripple in our circle. None of our close friends at any time questioned him for a photo or an autograph. To me, he was nice, typical James Cracknell, who took place to have two gold medals. We liked spending time together heading to the movies, out for beverages or heading for walks to picturesque Grantchester. He was funny and wrote me the most gorgeous letters.

In March 2019, James participated in the Oxford-Cambridge Boat Race, a rowing competitiveness concerning the two prestigious British universities that dates back to 1829. He retained telling me it was a large issue, but it was in the months leading up to it that I realized just what he intended. Out a person evening at a tacky bar, close to the day of the race, a bachelorette get together arrived up to us. “Do you know who this male is?” 1 of the gals demanded of me. “He is an asset to the United Kingdom.” I assumed that was funny.

The week major up to the Boat Race was nuts. The race is broadcast on the BBC and watched by tens of millions. James was the oldest participant in the event’s record, which intended the media coverage was insane. When Piers Morgan needed to interview him, I eventually put it with each other and recognized I was relationship a bonafide celeb. I now experienced a deeper understanding of who James was, but it didn’t transform what he intended to me. 

James Cracknell and Jordan Cracknell
The few at a film screening in July 2022 in London. John Phillips / Getty Visuals

The working day of the race showcased several hours of coverage on him, and the following day he designed the front web pages of the national newspapers below. It turned out the gentleman I was in like with was basically the Eli Manning of the U.K.

Our connection was nevertheless tranquil, which I was grateful for. It wasn’t right up until July of that yr that the papers ran posts about the two of us. I was on the prepare and my mom texted, indicating that there were images of me on the internet. Of training course the practice had no Wi-Fi, so I experienced to wait an full hour right before I could see what she was talking about. 

At first, it was definitely strange and unnerving to see the press protection. It is bizarre shedding your privateness in such a general public way, and acquiring hundreds of men and women comment on your connection, what you are carrying, or even your expression. James, who has experienced 20 years of expertise with the British push, encouraged me to disregard it. Which is easier claimed than completed, but it was a start. It assisted that my family was remarkably supportive of our romantic relationship. But owning worked mainly in finance, exactly where you’re judged on how long you can sit in entrance of a number of screens though talking intelligently with buyers and sporting a preponderance of navy blue fits, it was certainly a new environment for me. 

Given that then, James has been on the U.K.’s version of “Dancing With the Stars” and “Celebrity SAS,” and now he’s running for political business office in Colchester (to the east of London). It took me some time to change to this new normal, particularly the press curiosity in our relationship. Reporters managed to keep track of down my household in the U.S. and termed them for information and facts, whilst in this article in the U.K. they went knocking on friends’ doors. My brother uncovered it hilarious, and my close friends shut the doorway in their encounter. But the moment the preliminary interest died down, it grew to become a whole lot easier to offer with.

Then, we received engaged. Our wedding ceremony facts had been leaked to the press, but I was a lot more upset at the man or woman who leaked the information than at the press themselves. In addition to a paparazzo at the entrance gates of the church, two other reporters carrying unwell-fitting brown fits experimented with to crash the afterparty. I kicked them out when I discovered them waiting in line at the open bar.

Jordan and James Cracknell on their wedding day.
Jordan and James Cracknell on their wedding working day.Courtesy Marc Bates

Now the press and fame are just portion of my new typical. Having settled into everyday living in the U.K., I have a much better knowledge of why James is famed listed here. His Olympic wins intended a whole lot to folks in the U.K. This summer season we will be in Paris for the Olympics, as James will be commentating on rowing as I watch seaside volleyball and soccer. 

Five decades right after we fulfilled, we live a content lifestyle in London, and I’m now the stepmother to James’ a few youngsters. And at home, he’s not a superstar — he’s just typical Tv-looking at, pet-strolling, type, humorous James, and I adore him for that.