Exclusive: Mike Tindall talks weekends with wife Zara and their kids - 'We're no different to other parents'

Mike and Zara Tindall and their children, Mia, Lena and Lucas
Mike and Zara are busy juggling their careers with family life (Getty)

Mike Tindall has revealed an insight into his down-to-earth family life with Zara Tindall and their three children as he spoke exclusively to HELLO! about giving back to rugby.

The former England rugby union star, 45, juggles his new venture, Blackeye Gin, with his hit podcast, The Good, The Bad & The Rugby, while Olympic medalist Zara, 43, is still a competing equestrian.

"We're no different to other parents and our weekends end up being about the kids and getting them to their sports. It's a mixture of rugby, hockey, swimming, gymnastics," Mike tells HELLO!

"I think sport gives so many things to kids, whether it's learning how to be a team member or determination. It has given Zara and me so much that we want to expose them to as many sports as we can."

You may also like

And asked whether he's learnt to ride, he replies: "No! It would be a bit like asking Zara to learn to play rugby. I know she does it with the kids, but I think we'd argue if she was trying to teach me to ride – and I would probably be a tough student."

Mike and Zara, who have been married for 13 years in July, first met in Sydney during England's victorious 2003 Rugby World Cup, and the pair love going back to visit, but he's ruled out a relocation.

"We go to Australia every year for the Magic Millions racing event, and we try to get back to have lunch at the place where we met whenever we can. We love Sydney and have loads of friends there, so it's been an important city in our lives. Everyone keeps telling us we're moving there but we're not. It's so far away, especially when you have a big family."

Mike Tindall and Mia, Lena and Lucas at Wellington International Horse Trials
Mike's daughters, Mia and Lena are already playing rugby (Shutterstock)

Mike launched his Blackeye Gin venture last September and the brand is giving back to his beloved sport, which he retired from in 2014.

"We donate £1.50 from every bottle sold to the fund, which supports risk, research and recovery. If someone is doing some great research into ways to make the game safer for future generations, we can invest in that, or if a club goes bust or if a player breaks their neck and needs cash, we can help," he tells HELLO!

"We want to become one of the biggest donors to rugby-related causes within five years and give back to the game we love."

Mike Tindall holding a glass of Blackeye gin
Mike is the co-founder of Blackeye Gin (David Hartley)

And when asked about his inspiration for the spirit, he explains: "We used to have another podcast and when we created [The Good, The Bad & The Rugby], we had some legal issues. It was a low point for us, so one day we decided to drink our way through the show and it became one of our best-performing shows. Afterwards, someone said we should make our own gin and we thought: 'Actually, that could be quite interesting.'

"We spent a day working with gin experts at a small distillery and came up with an amazing, zesty gin we all love. Some of the botanicals originally came from the farm in Gloucestershire where I live and now they come from ten rugby nations around the world. Our hard work has paid off and it’s now an award-winning gin that can be enjoyed with tonic, in cocktails and even neat.

"We wanted to give the brand a sporting touch, so the bottle is designed to look like shoulders, and the name Blackeye reflects the physical and emotional resilience we all share – it was also partly inspired by a friend who fell off a sled while we were skiing and gave herself a black eye, which is the nature of all sport."

Mike Tindall is a co-founder of Blackeye Gin, available from Master of Malt, selected Sainsbury’s stores and blackeyegin.com.