Susanna Reid argues her sons are 'not illegitimate' in marriage debate

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Susanna Reid has said her children are ‘not illegitimate’ just because she has never been married.

The Good Morning Britain presenter was in a relationship with Dominic Cotton for 16 years, and they had three sons together before they split in 2014.

The 50-year-old never married journalist Dominic, which she explained on today’s edition of GMB was a ‘personal choice’.

Susanna said: ‘Never been married, no. And I would just like to say to the children you are not illegitimate – whatever the convention says.’

‘Illegitimate’ describes children born ‘out of wedlock’, that is, to parents who are not married. 

Adil Ray, 57, asked whether Susanna was against the idea of marriage, with the journalist replying: ‘Just a personal choice.’

The topic of marriage came up as GMB discussed whether the institution of marriage is sexist.

The debate was sparked by the announcement that mothers of the bride and groom can be named on marriage certificates in the biggest shake-up of the registration system for 200 years.

The long-awaited modernisation means that both parents will be included on the legal paperwork instead of only fathers.

Actress Jeni Barnett argued that marriage is a patriarchal tradition, and she only married her partner Jim Bywater after 11 years so that her child could be ‘legitimate’.

The 72-year-old said: ‘I think tradition is being turned on its head. All us old feminists are saying it’s okay to be married but you have to be who you are and remain who you are. You’re not a chattel.

‘Only after 11 years, I did it because we had a kid. If I died and he had to do paperwork, he wouldn’t have done it! We married so the child could be legitimate and that’s why we did it.’

Susanna added: ‘It’s an old fashioned idea that you’re children aren’t legitimate if you’re not married.’

Jeni continued: ‘For women to be women in the 21st century we have made enormous strides forward, but there are things we haven’t done.

‘I couldn’t wear the ring for six months because I felt I was kind of trapped and didn’t take his name, but I can say after years of marriage you get on with your life and he gets on with his, but I wouldn’t have cared if I hadn’t done it.’

Debbie McGee, who was married to Paul Daniels for 28 years, also gave her input, arguing that marriage is not sexist.

The 62-year-old said: ‘So much has changed, I think it’s great. A lot of people still get married because of different laws. 

‘I think it’s our laws that need changing so people don’t think they need to get married so they don’t have inheritance tax or as Jeni said, to do with her children.

‘I think it should be just showing this is the one I love over anyone else. I don’t think it should be about what other people are thinking, it’s between two people.’  

Susanna’s discussion about marriage comes amid rumours that she is back with Crystal Palace boss Steve Parish, who she dated for six months until April 2019. 

Good Morning Britain airs weekday mornings from 6am on ITV. 

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