Rachel Riley leads crowd to set new World Record

Rachel Riley opened up about husband Pasha’s experience of growing up in Soviet Russia, without running water or an indoor toilet, while often facing temperatures far below freezing.

The Countdown star left Spinning Plates podcast host Sophie Ellis-Bextor in shock as she added that he’d even had to survive in makeshift nappies, due to a lack of the real thing.

When Sophie asked how she incorporates “his Russianness” into family life with daughters Maven, three, and Noa, one, the 37-year-old TV host was happy to elaborate.

“[Pasha] was in an apartment block where there was no running water in his flat, there was an outside toilet even though it gets down to -40 degrees Celsius in winter, and his mum didn’t have nappies in those days,” she divulged.

“[Families] had to make their own sort of thing up, so it was a completely different experience!”

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Fortunately, Rachel and Pasha haven’t recreated his upbringing for their own two kids, and their daughters have all the modern day conveniences they could need.

However, one cultural experience they have developed is being bilingual.

“They both understand and are starting to speak Russian,” the proud mum explained, elaborating that the pair are “equally happy” no matter which of the two languages they’re asked to speak in.

Maven’s favourite cartoon character is Bing Bunny – and there’s a Russian version of it with subtitles, so that she was able to absorb both languages like a “sponge” while also feeding her “obsession” for the rabbit.

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“They’re starting to sing a few Russian nursery rhymes with Pasha,” Rachel shared.

Meanwhile, the family have opened up their home to Ukrainian migrants fleeing the conflict – and their youngest daughter Noa, who seems to have been listening avidly, shocked them by “saying something in Ukrainian the other day”.

“They’re sponges at that age,” Rachel explained of her girls, adding: “They’ve got a bit of everything!”

Although Rachel’s Countdown salary, as well as her husband’s as a pro dancer and choreographer on Strictly Come Dancing, means the pair live comfortable lives, they take just as much pleasure in the small things as they do with modern purchases.

“[Pasha’s upbringing] makes you realise – all the paraphernalia, you don’t need it,” Rachel explained.

Recalling the girl’s earlier years, she joked: “Just got my boobs and milk, and a bottle lid they’ll play with for an hour!”

“You can get by without all the stuff even though we have lots of stuff in our house!”

Listen to the podcast, featuring Rachel’s full interview with Sophie, here.

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