Laurence Fox said his new album helped him cope with the split from his actress wife (Image: ITV)
He had viewers in stitches when he appeared on the celeb series of the Channel 4 show alongside his cousin Emilia Fox over the summer. Sitting on the sofa, he famously drooled over Nigella Lawson as they watched Nigella: At My Table and joked he wouldn't mind doing the spaghetti game, inspired by Disney cartoon Lady and the Tramp, with the voluptuous TV chef. "People recognise me weirdly from Gogglebox nowadays," chuckles the star. "I get a lot of Gogglebox attention, especially at the airport. This one guy came up to me, and I joked, 'Which one of my great dramas do you want to discuss?' and he said, 'Nah, mate, you're that bloke from Gogglebox'."
The 41-year-old actor is in an ebullient mood having come straight from rehearsals for a forthcoming tour in support of his second album, A Grief Observed. He is tanned and refreshed after a week's half-term holiday in Corfu with his sons Winston, 10, and Eugene, seven, and speaks happily about the challenges of parenting and getting over his divorce.
He shares custody of the boys with former wife, Billie Piper, and it is soon apparent Laurence has come through the worst of the bitter split.
The couple married on New Year's Eve in 2007 and ended their eightyear marriage in 2016. They were granted a decree nisi on the grounds the marriage had "irretrievably broken down". At the time, Laurence described the split as having "derailed" him and admitted the custody battle had caused panic attacks and insomnia.
He said: "For six months I found it hard to sleep. I was in therapy for a while and it helped me cope with feeling raw. " But writing and recording his latest album, he says today, helped process the fallout from his divorce and find a more positive frame of mind. "The album is chronological. The first song I wrote three-and-half years ago when the divorce came through, to the last song, recorded just three weeks ago, and it charts the downs into the ups," he explains.
"I was down and now I'm coming up again and I'm hoping I won't have to do that down bit again - at least for a while. Divorce is hardcore... it is f***ing hardcore actually. At the time, I had that dazed look of 'What the f*** just happened here?' "I was only all right after about two years and the bit I found hardest is I don't see my kids as much."
Clearly a doting dad, Laurence admits: "In order to be a semi-decent parent, you have to know you're not a very good parent and try to improve on your parenting.
Laurence with his ex-wife Billie Piper (Image: David M. Benett/Getty Images)
"All of this namby-pamby parenting is a complete waste of time and the kids turn into spoiled brats. I try to restrict time on my kids' devices because that tablet comedown is a killer. You think it's doing you a favour but it's just making them quiet.
Then you take it off them and they go mental. Modern schooling seems to be that 'everyone gets a part' and life isn't like that. Not everyone gets a prize!" Laurence is determined not to send his sons to boarding school after he was expelled from Harrow, one of the most prestigious private schools. "I'm not sure what private schools have nowadays