However, groom Matt had only been released from rehab three days before, and while he was delighted to be marrying the love of his life, he was feeling overwhelmed by the bash where everyone else was celebrating with flutes of champagne.
“It was a really big thing for me,” reveals Busted star Matt. “Our wedding was three days out of rehab. I was gripping my chair for dear life. I didn’t really have the time that people probably dream of on their wedding day so we got to renew our vows after 10 years.”
Not only were people drinking champagne, they were also served shots of sambuca as their wedding favour, something Matt had organised and forgotten about before he went to rehab.
“We also gave everybody a little shots of sambucca as their table thing,” grimaced Matt. “I was like, ‘Oh God I forgot about that.’ I organised that one!”
So ten years later in 2018 they decided to renew their vows and repeat the day. Not only did they return to the same venue, Emma even wore the same beautiful Phillipa Lepley wedding dress with a full-length tulle skirt wedding dress.
“We went back to the place we got married,” says Matt. “It was just an incredible time. I really absorbed every second of it.”
This time, Matt made sure he had fun and even got his TV presenter pal Stephen Mulhern to conduct the ceremony.
“Stephen Mulhern married us, you could probably sense the tone of the wedding,” laughs Matt. “It was really fun. It was meaningful for me. It’s fun renewing your vows with your friends and loved ones around you, but for me, everything about it was different. I was different. I looked different. I didn’t want to not be there.”
Another difference was that Matt and Emma’s three children, Isabella, 13, Ace, 11, and Trixie, seven, were now able to attend.
“My kids were there and they got to see us do it,” smiles Matt. “It was a really special day.”
Over the last two decades, Matt has been in rehab four times. His most recent relapse was in 2016 when he got hooked on cocaine during a spell away from home, touring with Busted.
Now he’s about to go on tour again and fears he could relapse again.
“After one of our shows someone offered me a line of coke, and I was like, ‘Oh, cocaine wasn’t a problem for me, alcohol was my downfall,’” explains Matt. “Within a month I was doing six grams on my own every f**king day and not coming home until three in the morning pretending I was working on an album, which I wasn’t really writing, I was making s**t music in the studio doing coke.”
New documentary Matt Willis: Fighting Addiction sees the singer and bassist investigate how to avoid another crisis.
One of his most trusted coping mechanisms is keeping a gratitude journal. And when he’s on tour this time, his family will visit him as often as they can so they can be together.
And Matt is eternally grateful that Emma has stood by him through his drink and drugs battles.
“She’s an absolutely unbelievable woman,” says Matt. “We move forward together as a couple.”
Matt Willis: Fighting Addiction airs on Wednesday 17 May, 9pm, BBC One
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