We've put the past behind us and bonded over our OCD, says footie legend Paul and son Regan Gascoigne

BATTLING booze and mental health problems, football legend Paul Gascoigne was not the dad his family needed him to be.

But when son Regan takes to TV’s Dancing On Ice rink next Sunday, Gazza will be there as his biggest fan.


Today, in their first interview together, the father and son reveal they have put the past behind them and become firm friends — bonding over the fact they both have obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD).

When Regan, 25, and Gazza, 54, sit down with The Sun on Sunday for our exclusive chat at a restaurant, their need for order is easy to spot.

After rearranging the cutlery, moving the water bottles and lining up the condiments, Gazza says: “I’ve got OCD and he’s got it too. When I used to go and see him, if he wound us up I’d open all the cupboard doors to annoy him, because I knew he’d have to go round shutting them.

“With OCD, if we do something once we have to do it again. I remember England manager Terry Venables going mad because when I’d go on to the pitch I’d be ready, and once we had kicked off I had to tie my laces again, just the right foot.

“The game could have been going on but I’m just tying my shoelace. He’d be like, ‘What are you doing that for?’. I had to. And I didn’t wear pants on the pitch either.

“I was always commando. Let it just do what it wants to down there, right?” Regan, a professional dancer, does not wear underwear either and will also be commando when he hits the ice with American pro skater Karina Manta, 25.

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‘We never talk about the past’

He says: “When Dad comes to mine he ruins my house. So when I go to his, I move everything too. We know it annoys each other. At work, as soon as I enter the theatre, I’ve got to do everything in an order, including touching door handles and stuff.

“It’s a nightmare. And, yes, Gascoignes don’t wear pants!” Regan and former Strictly star Brendan Cole, 45, are already tipped as favourites to win the ITV show.

Their competition includes Coronation Street’s Sally Dynevor, 58, ex-rugby player Ben Foden, 36, S Club 7 singer Rachel Stevens, 43, Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt, 39 and Love Island’s Liberty Poole, 21.

Find all the latest updates from Dancing On Ice with our live blog…

Regan’s relationship with his dad was strained long ago because of the latter’s battle with booze and mental health problems.

One of Regan’s earliest memories is spending weekends visiting him at rehab facility The Priory. Then there was Gazza’s well-publicised divorce from Regan’s mum Sheryl, 56, in 1998 adding to the misery.

In 2009, Sheryl, Regan and his half-siblings Bianca, 35, and Mason, 31 — who were both adopted by Gazza — filmed a documentary about trying to survive a life with him in the grip of his addiction to drink and drugs.

Regan was filmed begging to never see his dad again, telling the filmmakers: “If I could wish, I’d wish that he would go away from us. Because he’s the top player doesn’t mean he’s a good dad.”

But more than a decade later the cracks in the Gascoigne clan have healed, and the pandemic has brought them even closer as they realise how lucky they are to have each other.

Gazza said: “We’re all different. I mean, I’m different, he’s different, Bianca’s on another planet!” The family, including Mason’s partner Jaimee, 23, and their son Teddy, ten months, met for dinner in Gazza’s now hometown of Bournemouth recently for a catch-up.

When we get together we just feel like we’ve never been away from each other. Now we hang out as mates. It’s special, I feel lucky.

The former England midfielder said: “That was a lot of fun. When we get together we just feel like we’ve never been away from each other. Now we hang out as mates. It’s special, I feel lucky. We never talk about the past, ever. We just talk about what’s happening in our lives now, we focus on the now and the future, not what’s happened.”

Despite having a dad who spent two decades in football — which saw him win the FA Cup with Spurs, take home two Scottish titles with Rangers and play for England 57 times — Regan always preferred dance.

He also took part in the BBC’s The Greatest Dancer in 2019. Gazza said: “When he was about four I said, ‘Come on, son. I’m going to get you some football boots’. He went f***ing off on one — ‘I don’t want boots. I don’t want boots’. I go, ‘Why? You can play football’. He started crying. I said, ‘What do you want?’. He went, ‘I’ll show you’, and he took us into the ballet shop. I went, ‘Sheryl, what’s happening? I want him to have football boots’.”

Now Gazza is pleased with the decision. He said: “I think there would have been too much pressure on him to be like me if he played football. People would have expected him to play like I did. That’s a lot of pressure. Now he’s found something that makes him happy and he’s good at it, that’s all that matters. I’m pleased for him.”

In 2019 Regan revealed in an interview that he is bisexual, admitting at the time he had not told his dad. But Gazza says the announcement did not come as a surprise. He said: “I remember he called to tell me and I was like, ‘So what? I’m watching a movie’.

“I went, ‘It’s OK, son. I knew when you were four’. It was the Minnie Mouse dress he loved. I remember I took him shopping as a kid and he wanted a Barbie, not an Action Man, too.

‘I’m going to be a nightmare watching’

“It didn’t bother us one bit. It’s just who he is and that’s the end of it, it’s not a problem. Why should it be? Even if he was having an affair with a dolphin, it still wouldn’t bother us.”

Despite enjoying a successful dance career, Regan has largely stayed out of the limelight, previously admitting he did not want to cash in on his family name. But when he was offered Dancing On Ice he realised he should be thankful for Gazza’s past and the doors it has opened for him now.

He said: “I stayed out of the spotlight and didn’t want to use Dad’s success. But I’ve come to realise that my surname can help me, not hold me back. I will still work hard to carry on his success, live up to the Gascoigne name and get where I want to go.”

When the competition kicks off all eyes will be on whether Regan can give fellow dancer Brendan a run for his money. Regan said: “I’m not going to be competitive with Brendan.

“It’s not that I’m like, ‘I want to win at all costs’, or would trip or stamp on someone to get ahead. It’s not me. I want to do it right and enjoy it.”

Gazza interrupted: “He will be competitive, he’s talking bulls**t! Be f***ing confident, Regan. “He might not say it but he’s got my competitive streak. Of course he wants to win.

I stayed out of the spotlight and didn’t want to use Dad’s success. But I’ve come to realise that my surname can help me, not hold me back.

“I want him to win, and if he doesn’t, I’ll be f***ing mad. I’m quite confident because I know how good a dancer he is. I’m going to be a nightmare watching him. You will hear me screaming, ‘Regan, cha cha cha’.

“I’ll do everything to just embarrass him.

“I might shout from the audience, ‘Regan, the country’s watching! Keep up the Gazza name’.”

  • Dancing On Ice begins at 6.30pm on ITV next Sunday.



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