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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

Anthea Turner: ‘I deal with my critics the same way I survived divorce’

The television presenter, 61, lives in London with her fiancé Mark Armstrong, a businessman, and their French bulldog, Soho 

My alarm goes off at 7am and the first thing I do is drink 70ml of goat kefir with two spoonfuls of a fabulous probiotic mixed in. It doesn’t taste very nice, but I know my gut is saying, ‘Thank you very much.’ I have a healthy respect for my innards – although I am partial to toast with marmalade for breakfast if it’s cold and rainy.

Some days I’ll go out to film – I’ve just done a new reality TV show on E4 called The Real Dirty Dancing, which was hilarious. I also write a magazine column, but often I’ll spend time attending to what I call the business of life, which seems to take a huge amount of time: we live in an old house and there’s always something falling apart, then there’s getting the car fixed and taking my dog Soho to the vet.

My fiancé Mark and I both have our own workspaces at home. Mine is full of written reminders to myself saying, ‘Get your act together.’ I’m always scurrying upstairs to do the washing up or down to Mark’s area, where I’ll rearrange something and then be told to go away, but I’m a Gemini and I’m wired the way I am. Often I’ll find myself online shopping on The Outnet or BrandAlley when there’s a sale on.

I’ve also just finished writing a book called How To Age Well. Something happens when you hit 60 that didn’t happen at 50 or even 59: you suddenly see your mortality. You think, ‘If I live to the average, 81, I’ve got 20 more years. Hold on a second – 20 years goes by in a flash.’ You realise very quickly that if you want to live well during those years, there’s only one really important thing and that’s your health.

I always work to the 80:20 rule, where at least 80 per cent of my decisions have to be really good, healthy ones, and the other 20 can involve wine and cake and chocolate. I’ve never followed a diet, but I keep away from processed food and I take supplements (including vitamins B, C and D, magnesium and calcium). I’ll also take HRT until my dying day.

I try to do some form of exercise three or four times a week, usually a quick run or some hand weights, but I don’t belong to a gym. I’m a great believer that life is your gym – if you walk as much as possible with your shoulders back and your core engaged, that’s fantastic exercise. Good old-fashioned deportment is vitally important.

My skin aside, I have no desire to be 30 again because I’m wiser now. Of course there have been tears before bedtime over the way I’ve been treated by the press at times – the Anne Robinsons and Lynda Lee-Potters were brutal back in the day and I was attacked just for existing. With the whole wedding thing, [Anthea and her ex-husband Grant Bovey were accused of posing with a Cadbury’s Snow Flake for profit] everyone knew it wasn’t true, but that didn’t make a good story. There were so many negative stories about our marriage, but my three amazing stepdaughters, who I speak to or see every day, know what really happened. That’s what’s important.

Now, when I’m attacked by people like Piers Morgan, I’m aware they have their own agenda. I deal with it the same way I survived divorce: if you really want to p—s off your ex-husband, be nice. They don’t know where to go with that. That’s my philosophy: be professional, pleasant, not a walkover. I’ve plainly got some tenacity and grit because despite it all, I’m still here.

When my marriage ended, I dated, but spent the best part of five years living on my own and it did me a lot of good. When Mark came along, it gave me more appreciation. We cook together a lot, which is lovely. Mark’s mum is Italian and he has a book full of handwritten recipes from her and his grandma.

After dinner, I’ll change into pyjamas and we’ll watch a box set. I can’t go to bed with make-up on, so I’ll wash my face and take what I call ‘my little pink drink’, a scoop of Rejuvenated collagen mixture in water.

I’m in bed before midnight. Over the years, even when things haven’t been so happy, one thing I’ve been really grateful for is my ability to sleep well.

My favourite…

… restaurant

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