The Repair Shop’s Jay Blades: his wife, children and mental health

Presenter Jay Blades tells his own remarkable personal restoration story – from being down and out to a national treasure.

Jay Blades

by Christine Smith |

Jay Blades is a furniture restorer and presenter. He became a household name thanks to his presenting role on the BBC1 hit series, The Repair Shop. He has also presented Money for Nothing and Jay and Dom's Home Fix.

Read on to find out out everything you need to know about The Repair Shop presenter...

Who is Jay Blades' wife?

Jay announced his engagement to Lisa Zbozen in December last year.

He made the exciting announcement on Instagram, saying, 'It gives me great pleasure to announce that I got engaged to @lisamariebozen We wanted to share this news with you as we are very happy & hope to bring the same happiness your way.'

Before that, he was in a relationship with Christine Goodman, although he kept the relationship very private. Before Christine, Jay was married to his now ex-wife Jade.

Where does Jay Blades live?

Jay currently lives in Ironbridge in Shropshire.

Jay Blades real name

We can confirm that Jay's real name is indeed Jay Blades.

Does Jay Blades have any children?

Jay Blades has three children, a daughter called Zola from his marriage to ex-wife Jade and two children from previous relationships.

Jay Blades' early life

Originally born in Hackney, East London, Jay is one of 26 children that his dad fathered in different countries.

Jay has dyslexia, which was not diagnosed at school, but went on to study at Buckinghamshire New University as a mature student where he studied criminology.

The presenter has spoken openly about his experience of racism, especially in his youth.

Speaking to The Mirror about how a police van pulled up alongside him when he was 14, he said:

"The back doors swung open and there were five or six uniformed policemen sitting in the van waiting for me. They didn’t even bother to search me. They just beat the s*** out of me,"

"It was brutal. They were laying into me with fists, feet and truncheons, and all I could do was roll into a ball on the floor of the van and wait, pray, for it to end. It probably lasted two minutes but it felt a lot, lot longer."

Jay decided not to report the incident, saying: "It was normal, especially in the 80s,"

"People will be shocked by that, but within the black communities it was a normal occurrence."

Jay recently appeared on Channel 5's new documentary series, No Place Like Home, where he shared what life was like when he was homeless. 'At 21 I was all over the place, I had no direction, I left London because I was getting into loads of fights and there were people after me.

'My mum moved to Luton and I lived up there with her for a bit.

'I had my first child, and then split up with the missus, and moved back to London, then I ended up homeless and went into a hostel.

'I had a supermarket carrier bag with all of my stuff in there and it wasn't a lot.

'I remember thinking, "is this what my life has come to, is this the end for me?"'

If you missed the show, you can catch up here on the Channel 5 website.

Jay Blades on mental health

Jay freely admits he has been forced to overcome some very ‘dark moments’ to get to where he is today.

Five years ago, Jay was at such rock bottom that he even contemplated suicide. His marriage broke down and ex-wife, Jade, with whom he shares a teenage daughter, Zola, left him. Around the same time his organisation – where he taught disadvantaged youths to restore old furniture – had failed.

He bravely spoke out about this dark chapter recently in which he admitted: “My marriage had broken down, I didn’t have any money and the people that I employed had to be made redundant. The state that I was in I would have taken my own life, and I came close.”

But after being taken in by a friend in Wolverhampton, setting up a restoration business and then landing the presenting job on The Repair Shop which drew in six million viewers when it first aired, Jay is now in an incredible place. He still lives in Wolverhampton, with Christine, his partner and his step-daughter.

“It was a really scary time I was going through back then,” confides Jay. “I had fallen flat, I had next to nothing and I was in a really dark place.

“Yet even though it was pain, I tried to get somewhere. And if someone had said to my 18-year-old self, ‘when you get to 50, you will have four shows on the BBC’, I would have laughed and asked ‘what have you been taking?’ as I need to stay away from those drugs!

“I really do believe the good and the bad experiences have got me to where I am now.”

He goes on to divulge that he has received emails thanking him for speaking out about his battle with his mental wellbeing. Says Jay: “Men don’t speak about the emotional ups and downs we have and I hope by being open will help and support someone. In fact, someone emailed me to say ‘you have inspired me to talk more to my wife’ and that to me is really good. “

Jay Blades on The Repair Shop

Part of the reason why Jay is in such a good place now is, of course, down to the huge popularity of his programme, The Repair Shop, which sees the public bring in old family relics to be restored by experts in a workshop. Often, the items, whether it is an old child bike or musical instrument, have amazing stories behind them.

Jay thinks the ‘feel good’ nature of the programme appeals to a wide range of viewers and it has, he says, proved the perfect lockdown series.

“People love it because we talk about community and we do things for people,” explains Jay. “It is about a group of individuals who come together to make stuff. They never tell us what the story is and I love to find out.”

Does he ever find himself welling up sometimes? “Not sometimes but a lot of the time,” he says, roaring with laughter. “The items are very personal and sometimes you have a laugh too. There was one item we had which was the smallest bike in the world. It was as small as a bottle! I didn’t believe someone had rode on it”

As well as The Repair Shop, Jay is currently narrating a new spin off series The Repair Shop: Fixing Britain which takes a closer look at some of the heirlooms restored in the original shows and what they tell us about our past and the way we live today. So does he get recognised a lot now?

“I haven’t been out that much because of lockdown but when I do, people do recognise me,” he admits. “People tell me their story believing they are going to get on the show! I receive a lot of post asking about items too.”

Feet firmly on the ground, Jay is not, however, the type of person to let his TV success go to his head. Self-deprecating, warm and very likeable, he is exactly the same in the flesh as on screen. “I have had 45 years of living and then all of a sudden you are getting this attention!” he adds.

“My partner is proud, yes, but I have family members and friends who are also proud. They ring up and say ‘Jay seeing you on telly is like we are on the telly, I am so proud of you’. It means a lot to me. I am lucky because I enjoy what I do and I don’t see it as work.”

Jay Blades on Strictly Come Dancing

We loved seeing Jay on the 2021 Strictly Come Dancing special, dancing the the Only Fools and Horses theme, but does this mean he might one day go on the real thing?

Relishing everything that is thrown at him, he isn’t so sure, if a stint on Strictly is for him or not. “I tell you who needs to get on Strictly and that’s Suzie (from the Repair Shop),” he adds. “She is the best dancer ever. My dancing should probably be left to a darkened room so that nobody can see what I am doing!”

How old is Jay Blades?

Jay was born February 21, 1970, making him currently 52 years old.

After turning 50 in 2020, Jay says he feels like a new person.

“50 is the new 20!” he quips. “I had a party for my 50th and we danced and celebrated. I’ve been fasting recently. I eat one meal a day and blend juices together. I feel like I have just been born! I had a bit of excess weight as I ate a bit in lockdown but I have shifted it and I can feel my six-pack again!”

With a book about his life story coming out in May, plus The Repair Shop as popular as ever, Jay says he knows he is very fortunate. But aside from being a dad, he confides he has yet to have his proudest moment. “I don’t think I have got there yet,” he continues. “I am very big on community and making a change for our society for the better…and so I hope to do that one day.”

Jay Blades' glasses

An iconic glasses wearer, did you know Jay owns around 12 different pairs of glasses?

Explaining more about the glasses he wears, Jay told Optometry Today:

"In The Repair Shop I always wear black frames. If I’m going on a game show or doing something different, I would either wear my clear, grey, blue or light blue. I’ve got everything. The only colour I don’t have is red – I like all the colours in the spectrum, but I don’t really like red. I wear a mixture of eyewear brands, such as Paul Smith and Cubitts."

"What sways my judgement is handmade. I like things that are not necessarily made in a factory. I prefer to have a handmade pair of glasses, and if they are handmade in the UK, that is even better."

Jay Blades' teeth

Jay is also well known for his teeth, especially as he has a front gold tooth which has intrigued many of us.

Jay Blades' book

DIY With Jay: How to repair and refresh your home (Signed Edition)

DIY With Jay: How to repair and refresh your home (Signed Edition)

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You can now pre-order Jay's upcoming new book which is set for release September 2022. If you get in early, you could even get a signed copy!

The Repair Shop: Fixing Britain is available to watch on BBC1 and iPlayer.

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