Britain’s ʙɪɢɢᴇsᴛ family, the Radfords, have a ᴡʜᴏᴘᴘɪɴɢ 22 children. Tʀᴇᴇ sᴜʀɢᴇᴏɴ Gil Bates, 55, and wife Kelly, 53, have nine sons and ten daughters . The Tᴇɴɴᴇssᴇᴇ couple got married when Gil was 22 and Kelly was 21, in 1987, and first child, Zach, arrived a year later. She has had ɴᴏ ᴛᴡɪɴs, ɴᴏ C-sᴇᴄᴛɪᴏɴs and 14 ᴅʀᴜɢ free births and has spent more of her ᴀᴅᴜʟᴛ ʟɪFᴇ ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ ᴛʜᴀɴ ɴᴏᴛ.
Kelly said : “It feels more normal to me to be ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ ᴛʜᴀɴ ɴᴏᴛ be pregnant. I’m happy holding a baby.” They now have Zach, 31, Michaella, 30, Erin, 29, William, 28, Nathan, 26, Alyssa, 25, Tori, 24, Trace, 23, Carlin, 22, Josie, 20, Katie, 19, Jackson, 18, Warden, 17, Isiah, 15, Addallee, 14, Ellie, 13, Callie-Anna, 10, Jud, nine, and Jeb, eight. They welcomed their latest arrival in 2012 when Kelly was 45 years old – by which point she’d spent more of her ᴀᴅᴜʟᴛ ʟɪFᴇ ᴘʀᴇɢɴᴀɴᴛ ᴛʜᴀɴ ɴᴏᴛ. The couple are Cʜʀɪsᴛɪᴀɴs and decided to ɴᴏᴛ ᴜsᴇ ᴄᴏɴᴛʀᴀᴄᴇᴘᴛɪᴏɴ ᴅᴜᴇ to their Fᴀɪᴛʜ, but they ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ expected they’d end up with so many kids. Speaking in 2011, they said: “We both came to the conclusion that we just want to ᴛʀᴜsᴛ Gᴏᴅ with how many children we have. We ɴᴇᴠᴇʀ really thought we’d have 18 [now 19]. We thought we’d have maybe one or two – maybe three.”
Despite being a family-of-21, the Bates live in a five-bedroom home in Lake City. The 4,000 sq ft home comes with a staggering five washing machines and three clothes driers to keep up with the large volume of laundry. And for storage, the family keep their clothes on rails that stretch the length of the loft room. Which, unlike most of us with our over-sized wardrobes, they actually need – a simple two-day camping trip means bringing 56 outfits. Feeding the family is also a ɢᴀʀɢᴀɴᴛᴜᴀɴ ᴛᴀsᴋ as they rattle through 56 pints of milk and nine loaves of bread a week, while a takeaway meal consists of 10 large pizzas. Kelly has assigned each of the ᴏʟᴅᴇʀ children to a ʏᴏᴜɴɢᴇʀ kid. She said : “They get themselves ready first. They help make sure that their partner has their hair brushed, shoes on, and their teeth brushed. The children are also responsible for making sure their room is tidy, and they’re each given a task that’s rotated monthly”.
And any parents sᴛʀᴜɢɢʟɪɴɢ with homeschooling ᴜɴᴅᴇʀ ʟᴏᴄᴋᴅᴏᴡɴ should take pointers from the Bates family, they’ve done it with all ten girls and nine boys! Kelly said: ” Fɪɴᴅ ᴏᴜᴛ what helps you ᴅᴇᴀʟ with Fʀᴜsᴛʀᴀᴛɪᴏɴs. Whether it’s take a break, or go outside for a walk together, but make it a fun experience for your kids.” Like the Radfords, the family have racked up a ʟᴀʀɢᴇ Fᴀɴ ʙᴀsᴇ, and this is partly ᴅᴜᴇ to being in their ninth season of TV sʜᴏᴡ Bʀɪɴɢɪɴɢ Uᴘ Bᴀᴛᴇs. Their family has now grown far beyond their own own kids too, as seven of the Bates children are married. Gil and Kelly now have 14 grandchildren aged between five years and four months old.
Meanwhile, Sue and Noel Radford have three grandchildren, daughter Sophie’s kids – Daisy, seven, Ayprill, five, and Leo, four. Their daughter Millie, 18, is expecting a baby in September.