Davina McCall: How To Overcome ANY Trauma & Live The Life You Deserve | E210 | Transcription

Transcription for the video titled "Davina McCall: How To Overcome ANY Trauma & Live The Life You Deserve | E210".


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Intro (00:00)

I think out of everything. She was worried about me. Do you know what I mean? Like that was her last thought like... Davina McColl! She's a TV presenter. A fitness fanatic. Multiple times. They're selling off their... ...rarely off our televisions and what you see is what you get. It's good to be back. After Big Brother I thought, what else can I do to get famous? So I was always a bit of a show off. Mum, you made a mistake. How great I am. That's at the back of everything. Why? I did cope with my mum at 15. I did it with my sister at 14. You were doing drugs with me? Yeah, like all drugs were my problems. I left my job, no money, and nothing. I will literally do anything to stop feeling like this. I'm going to phone someone for help. I'm fucked. Ten years ago you lost Caroline. You're half sister. It was definitely the worst thing that ever happened to me. I was just trying to be really strong for her. And I kept saying to her, I'm going to be fine. She put a fence around her. And I thought, I'm fucking climbing over the fence and I'm going to get in. Don't wait for somebody to say that you've got six weeks to live. Because the best seven weeks of my life with my sister were those last seven weeks of hers. Quick one. At the start of these episodes I told you that 74% of people who watch this channel frequently haven't yet hit the subscribe button. And I told you that the bigger the channel gets, the better the guests get. And hopefully I've delivered upon that for you. So there's two things I wanted to tell you. The first is, if you've ever enjoyed this channel, could you do me a favor? And my team here a favor, which is hit that subscribe button because it helps this channel more than you know. And as I say, the bigger the channel, the better the guests. But also we're approaching 1 million subscribers. And when we hit 1 million subscribers, we've been working for many months to do something very big in which we're all invited to. I'll reveal that when we hit 1 million subscribers. Enjoy this episode. Divina.

Personal Journey And Career

Your most defining moment (02:19)

What was your first defining moment? Oh. Definitely realizing the moment I realized my mum wasn't coming back to pick me up. So I got taken to my grannies, my paternal grandmother, most amazing woman, called Pippie. Got taken to her house in the country. John, you really well, I used to spend quite a lot of time down there with her. And my mum wasn't with my dad. She was with another man. But I didn't kind of question that. They'd spit up, but I didn't know that or kind of understand. I don't think in my head I realized what was going on. And she said, I'm going on holiday. And you know, I'll be back. And I was like, okay, great. And I stayed with my granny. And then after a couple of months, I thought, she coming back. But then I thought, I didn't want to, this was such a different time. You know, I'm 55, so this would have been over 50 years ago. It was such a different time that you didn't ask people. Children didn't go, where's mummy gone? Or when's mummy coming back? I knew that I was a guest at my granny's house, but I wasn't. It had all been planned. My granny had been given my custody. My dad was coming down every weekend to be with me. They were sort of sharing custody, but my dad was trying to make money in London. And my granny was taking care of me day to day. And it had all been sorted. But I didn't know that because they just thought, well, she's young. She won't really remember or realize. Let's all just brush it under the carpet. And it's so interesting because nowadays with my children, everything that happens, we're like, how do you feel about that? Are you okay? Let's talk it through. Just didn't happen back in those days. So I grew up thinking that my mum had left me and had never come back. So at about probably four, maybe six months after she'd gone, I realized that I wasn't going to live with her again. But I was left feeling guilty because I felt like my granny was looking after me. And she didn't want me in some way. Look, not that she was so loving to me, but somehow I was overstaying my welcome. So I think that was a defining moment because it set up a chain of events, a fear of abandonment that kind of made me make some really stupid decisions all through my teenage years into my twenties and something that I've worked diligently on since my early twenties to let go of. Why did your mother do that? Well, my mum grew up in France with two parents who were very loving but didn't know how to give her their time. So I think my mum needed time and contact, but they just gave her a lot of money. They were quite wealthy and at 18 they gave her a lump sum of money. She went and spent the whole lot on clothes and each son of Ron. She got a food disorder. She was very thin. It was the '60s. She was like a model. She had a fade-on-away-nose job. She was incredible looking. Lots of drugs. Got a lot of drink. Crazy, fun lady. Met my dad. My dad was super hot. Like young guy. They were an it couple. He was so in love with her. She was completely out. It could probably affect Sadek when I look back at her life. And unashamedly so the French are very... The French are very different about Sadek's. She was kind of... You know, it's only bodies. That was her catchphrase. You know, "Oh, it's only bodies." And you'd think, "No, that's someone's husband." Like, "That is..." You know what I mean? So looking back, she wasn't well herself. But she was so young. Like, this was... We're talking 22, 23 when she met my dad. She'd already had a child at 16. Been forced to marry the father of that child. They'd got divorced. Then she met my dad. So she was troubled herself, right? And my dad tried to help fix her. But it just wasn't going to work. And she ran off with someone else. Having had several affairs and everything. And my dad was brokenhearted, absolutely brokenhearted. And the courts in the UK, because I was born in the UK and had been brought up here, gave my granny and my dad custody, which was so rare. So... I'm not sure how hard she fought. I'm not sure that she did. But that was what happened. But I did go and see her in the holidays. But that was... What did you mean? Well, quite crazy. Like... What did you say? Oh my God. Like, what didn't I see? I mean, my mum would... She would wear... This was quite a funny story. I mean, some of it makes me laugh now, but it would be... She'd go out with me, like, in a floor-length electric blue coat. And we'd get out. And then she'd go like that to someone. And I'd think... She'd flash on. Oh my God, she's naked! Yes! Like, she'd be naked underneath her coat. And she'd flash someone. She'd think it was hilarious. And I'd just be like, "Oh, God, somebody please." Like, make the world disappear. But at times... It's really hard to explain, but I loved my mother. Like, I really wanted her to pull some mummy business out the bag. Like, I was like, "Come on. You can do this." And sometimes she'd give me a hug and I'd think, "Oh my God, this is it." Like, this is what it feels like to be hugged by a mother. But then other times you'd be reading her, right? It'd be like, "Oh, I've got to be... I've got to be a sweet little girl. Oh no, I'm going to have to take care of you." Well, like, now I have to be really good fun. I've got... I need to entertain you. It was always wearing a thousand different hats to see how she was going. And my granny used to say to me, when we did start talking about it when I was older, she said, "We'd have to, like..." Kind of... it would be funny for a month when you came back from France. You'd be a little bit on edge and we'd have to just really get you back into your favourite foods, a routine at bedtime, safety, reground me. So when I said, "I'm half-none, half-wild child," it's because of that life that I've had, like... Drugs at 12, with my mum, like... You were doing drugs at 12? Yeah, like smoking weed at 12, coke at 15, 14, even... With your mum. I did coke with my mum at 15. I did it with my sister at 14. You know, it was like... there was no... And then I'd get back to the UK and it would be back into your second-hand clothes and sort of safe, small life, like, simple. My life was very simple. I mean, I say second-hand clothes just to give you an idea. I was in my granddad's jumper and an old pair of jeans and I'd get to Paris and they'd go, "What are you wearing? Here's loads of money. Go and buy some posh loafers and get your hair done." And I'm 12, like I look like a proper Lolita. And I'd quickly realise that my life in Paris and my life in the UK, they must never know about each other because if they knew in the UK about my life in Paris, they wouldn't let me see my mum. And I didn't care how mad she was, I still wanted to see her. Does that make sense? Yeah. So my sister also was my lifeline in Paris. So my sister, who's six years older than me, even though we did do drugs together and I know that sounds bad, but she was my rock. Like she was my... she grounded me when I was in Paris. So we stuck together. We understood what mum was like. We worked her together. Caroline. Yeah, Caroline, yeah. And then my mum, you know, but I did like going to Paris and also because I was young and they didn't stop me from doing anything. It was crazy. Having sat here with stand-up comedians, I remember Jimmy Carr said to me, he said, "Often it's assumed that comedians themselves are depressed and that they're cracking jokes to kind of cheer other people up in an attempt to cheer themselves up. But he said to me, "You should actually ask them which one of their parents is depressed. Which one of their parents were they trying to please and entertain?" You said earlier, you know, "Did I have to be this one day? Did I have to be a joker? Did I have to take care of her?" Well, it's your personality shape by that desire to sort of keep her in good spirits or win over her affection. I think it taught me some amazing skills in reading people. So also my granny was unbelievably good at this as well. So people used to think my granny was psychic because somebody would walk in the room and she'd go, "You okay?" And they'd walk in smiling, but there would be an eyebrow raise or a flicker of an eye or something and she'd go, "You're right." And they'd go, "Oh God, she's just a granny psychic." She'd read me, she'd see straight to me. I feel like being with my mother, she could walk, I could hear by the way she walked what person she was going to be when she walked through the door. I could hear the steps coming and I'd think, "I know how to behave the minute she walks through that door." So that's an amazing gift. And that's how I choose to see everything that's happened to me. I am absolutely not a victim. I'm sure some of it's been hard and it's like you said, "I'm happy we were talking just before we started. I'm happy and yes, life throws me curve balls." But I choose to learn from those and still be happy rather than cling on to the curve ball and let it pull me down. But I often wonder whether it was the hardship that made me, when small winds or little winds in my life were massive. A hug from my mum that felt a little bit like a parental hug rather than a needy or an angry or... That would be a huge like, "I'd done that on that for a month." But I got a hug two weeks ago that was epic. So I think you hold on to these little things but I don't know some kids might not see or feel that thing because they don't have that in them. I wonder whether we are born with it. It's such an interesting concept positivity. Can you make yourself positive if you aren't? Have you ever spoken to the Speakmans? I remember going on this morning. The Speakmans are a couple of nick and either. They're on this morning as kind of psychology experts. They're like, they help you train yourself out of patterns of behavior. Those guys said something that if you are a negative person at the end of, you know, it's raining and it's raining for the third day in a row, you finish your negative sentence with "but luckily." And you have to say "but luckily" and then think of something "but luckily." But luckily it was so dry in the summer. It does mean that the reservoirs will be full. And you finish every negative thought with a positive and they said it takes about two to three weeks to naturally start thinking. But you know, that's probably not a bad thing. But it's just remembering to do that is so hard. When you were like 16, 17, you said you'd start doing drugs with your mother in France.

What did you want to be when you were 16? (13:59)

But what did you want to be when you were older? If I'd asked you at six times... I probably need to clarify, actually, that me and my mum only did drugs twice. I mean, I know that twice times too many in my book. But I don't want to give this impression that she and I were taking tons of drugs together because that would be a false impression. Okay. I just needed to plot that and put that there. Yeah. But what did I want to be when I was 16? Yeah, I was quite nihilistic, I think, in a way. I wasn't thinking about anything except for the weekend. And where was I going to go and what club could I go to and how could I go out and what... How could I party? And that was beginning. I moved to London when I was nearly 14. And when I moved to London, suddenly the safety of the country had disappeared. And I started finding ways to go out and take drugs and find people that took drugs in London. I was living with my dad and my step-mom. And they were very kind of solid, straight people. But my life did slightly change then. So I wasn't really thinking about anything at that point. It really, the time when I started forming an idea and I was basically just a show-off. Would have been 18. I was basically just a show-off. Yeah. Because I think because I had this fear of abandonment. If I was, if I did look at me, look at me enough. Look at me, I'm here. Everybody. Don't need me. Needy, people pleaser. Everybody like me. Like that. That's who I was. And actually what drugs did for me at that time was they made me feel safe. They made me feel like I was being hugged in that maternal way. That they filled this hole that I had here. And then as soon as the drug started running out, the hole would be there again. Oh my God. Was the nearest thing I can get. You know, man, laughter, attention, drug, like help fill the hole. So I was always a bit of a kind of, you know, bit of a show-off. And at 18 you drop out of university? Never went to university. Never went to university. Never went to university. Didn't go to university. And this is always something that I want to say to kids. I didn't really know what I was doing. I was an absolute car crash, I would say, until I was 23, 24. So when I was 19, I left school. I went to Australia for a few months. I came back and I thought, I'm going to save up money. I'm going to get, you know, go working. I'm going to save up some money. I'm going to try and get enough money to go back to Australia and live there. I loved it out there. I was clean. I wasn't taking any drugs. I was just driving to the beach. I mean, it was such a different me. And I liked that me. That was the none. Like, my none was freed in Australia. And I thought, I quite like this person. I like who I am. And then a girlfriend of mine said, I'm going to San Tropez for two weeks. Do you want to come? And I was like, yeah, but I haven't got much money because I had all my savings and stuff. And I didn't want to delve into that. She had quite a lot of money and bless her. She came on the coach with me from Victoria down to San Tropez. And her parents had a house there. And then I started dipping into the savings. And then in two weeks, I'd spunked 800 pounds that I'd saved up for my flight to go back to Australia. And I never went back. And that was the kind of, you know, that was the wild child me dancing on tables in La Cavdua and San Tropez till God knows what time in the morning, hitching a lift off people in Ferraris. Trying to get back to, I mean, awful, danger, danger, danger everywhere. How I'm still alive. I've got no idea. But hilarious, you know, it was just part of my path. But that meant that I never went back to Australia. And I got a job as a waitress. I was a really, really good waitress. I loved the waitress thing. Did you ever do that? Well, my mum had a restaurant when I was super young. So I did it a little bit, but I was so young that it was more just a gimmick, you know. He'll get loads of tips because he's 11. Yeah. But not properly, no. I learned a lot. I bet you did. I learned a ton from working in that restaurant, yeah, about people in customer service and stuff. And then I worked in like, you know, there was a shop called Republic retail a lot. I worked a lot. I did that as well. What did you learn? Well, just people. I mean, people skills and what people want and that the customer is the most important person. You said people, please are. Yeah, I mean, that's my natural, that was my natural habitat. So I'd go and I'd like make people feel amazing while they're having their meal and make sure that they had the best service ever. And it felt like a win to me. You know, at the end of the night, I thought, I've done a really good job. I've made loads of people really happy. And that made me feel good about myself. So it was a great job for me. When did you first realize that you wanted to do something in media TV?

When did you first go into TV (19:09)

Um... Or was it more chance? Yeah, no, so that's quite a good story. So I was working, I got a job at models one after the after the and it was by chance. It was complete fluke. I got a job at models one working on Stephen. The male model section at models one. I was a booker for the male models. I mean, I'm telling you 19 or 20 year old me walking in there. I was like, this is the best job ever. All these gorgeous men walking out of fell in love every 30 seconds for the first week. Um, and then what was interesting, it just became, they just became normal. I was like, oh, there's another good looking guy, whatever. Um... Decentatized. Yeah, it's funny. It's so funny though, how quickly that happens. But I'm still friends with loads of them now. Again, it was a great time in my life. Slightly car crash, lots of drugs, lots of kind of madness, but also a very kind of good time in time, in terms of work and having fun. So I was at this agency, loads of beautiful models everywhere. I get approached by this guy who knows I love music and he said, do you want to run a club really at Sub-Trania? And I said, yeah, great. And he said, bring all the beautiful people. So these club nights caught the attention of somebody MTV who was going to launch MTV Europe and they needed to, for the launch of MTV Europe in Amsterdam, get loads of celebrities from the UK to Amsterdam, but do it in a really cool MTV way. So me and this girl called Sara Blondstein and a guy called Graham, we were in charge of entertaining the celebrities from Victoria Train Station to Amsterdam and back. And it was like, "Jurran, Durran, Zodiac Minds Warp." I mean, it was really, really fun. And I dressed up as a cleaning lady lipstick on my teeth, curlers in my hair, a tea urn full of champagne, and it was riotous. And at the end of that night, when we were heading back from Amsterdam on the plane, I thought to myself, I am going to work at MTV. That is the best place. Those are the best people. And while I was there at that night, and this is what, this is another defining moment. That night, when I'd gone, I said to someone, "Can I get your number?" Because I'd love to kind of look at job prospects at MTV. Would it be all right? And he's like, "Yeah, he's sure." I had the number and I thought, "I'm going to call this guy." And then I called him and I said, "Would it be all right? Can I sort of send you a show reel if I did a show reel? Because I'd like to be a presenter on, I didn't even know the word, "VJ" then, on MTV." And he was like, "Yeah, sure, sure." And I started making show reels. And I must have sent him like, three a year, and relentlessly called him until he said, "Please stop calling me after a couple of years." He said, "Could you just, like, I can't give you a job at the moment. We only want European presenters." And I said, "Can you give me someone else's number?" And I'll call them instead. And he went, "Yeah, you can take Mike Caffin's number." So I took Mike Caffin's number. And eventually, a year later, Mike Caffin said, "There's a vacancy." So I'm 24. I've just got clean. I'm six months clean and sober. I'm absolutely radioactive. I can't believe I'm sober. I still can't believe I'm waking up with dry sheets. That my pillar, you know, we're talking about small winds. My sheets were dry in the morning, and I'd know when I woke up and I saw daylight, and I think, "I know this is morning." This is amazing. That's such a win. -She's a dry. -Yes, sweating. I used to sweat in bed, withdrawing at night, and my sheets were dry. Is this... What drug causes that?

the moment you got off drugs (23:06)

So heroin. So I was, in the end, addicted to heroin for maybe the last three months of my using, but the nun took over, I think, at that point and was like, "You are addicted. Now you have to stop." What was that moment that were... And what was... Can you really zoom in on that moment of... You reach a point and you go, "This has to change." So my best friend had said she was going to take me to Santana. She didn't use or drink really. She'd had a brain injury when she was younger and she couldn't for ten years, so she didn't. And she got me into her car and I was like, "I'm so excited about going to see Santana." I was probably... What, Santana? It's a band. -Oh. -Steven Bartlett. I know, sorry. I... Go and do some revision. Yeah. Okay. I'm so... Santana. Can you just say something? You're going to really like him. Santana, I would like him. Really? Okay. Okay. And I got in the car and she shut the doors and she said, "I'm actually not going to take you to Santana. I need to tell you some things." I was like, "Yeah." And she said, "I know that you've been lying to me. Weirdly, I've been off heroin for a month at that point because I've been away. I've done a geographical. I've gone away looking after someone's nannying for someone for two weeks and got clean. And then I'd also been with my mum in Morocco, so I had no heroin for a month. But I had just come off the back of a 24-hour cocaine vendor, which had made me realize that heroin wasn't my problem. All drugs were my problem. If I wasn't taking heroin, I couldn't take cocaine normally either. I couldn't just take it for four hours and then go to bed. I had to take it for 24 hours. I was an animal. I thought, "Oh my God, I'm not just addicted to heroin. The heroin's not probably-- it's all drugs. I've got to stop." She gets me in the car and she goes, "I know you've been lying to me. We all know you've been lying to us, all your friends, and you are the topic of conversation at every dinner party I go to." And this shame starts piling on. And I started feeling a bit, "Well, fuck you to her." And this is virtually my only friend I've got left. And I do say, "Well, fuck you. Like, fuck you." I didn't really know what to say because I couldn't really argue with what she was saying. And I said, "Yo, I didn't want to go and see something really childish. Like, I didn't want to go and see Santa on her anyway. Get out the car. I'm trying to get out the car. She slightly shut the doors. It's all eggy or awkward. Slam the door. Walk away from her. Immediately burst into tears and think, "I'm not going to turn around and let her see. I'm crying." Get inside. Go straight to bed. My parents, you know, I was sleeping on a camp bed in my dad's sort of wardrobe. I'd move out of my boyfriend's home. His fault that I was using, I'd got worse. I'd left my job. I thought that was the thing that was making me use. I'd got worse. I had a car, but no money to put petrol in the car. I had not put nothing. I was on this camp bed and I would sort of walk into the, like, my room, which wasn't really a room. It was a cupboard. Sit on the bed. Go to sleep. And then an hour later, I wake up and I think, "I'm going to phone someone for help." I'm fucked. I can't do this anymore. I phoned this woman who I knew was clean. And it was as if she'd been expecting my call. She goes, "Oh, hi, Davina." And I was like, "I was just wondering if you're going to a meeting tomorrow." She's like, "Yeah, yeah, I'm going at six o'clock, you know, world's end. Come and meet me there." I was like, "Oh, yeah, you know, I'm just interested to see what you know." What it's like. It's just, "Yeah, great. Come along." If you want. She didn't ask me what's going on. She didn't ask, which was exactly right. And the next morning I woke up and I felt so full of shame and I thought, "I'll go and see Sarah." So I went to see Sarah at work at lunchtime, sobbed. I said, "I'm not expecting you to believe me. And I know I'm going to have to prove myself. But I just wanted to let you know I want to change and I want to do something about it and I'm going to go to a meeting tonight." And I could see a slight sort of, "Are you really? Is this really going to happen?" I just thought, "I don't know how much more I can give you, tell you, but I really, really mean it." So I went to a meeting that night, just spent the next two weeks going to meetings every day, and for 90 days after sobbing, just sobbing in every meeting of surrender. And I care what I have to do. I will literally do anything to stop feeling like this. And NA taught me how to live and how to change and how to heal myself. I owe NA my life, literally. But it also gave me my career. And weirdly, having tried to get a job at MTV while I was using all those years, the time they say, "Come in for an interview, we're going to finally screen test you after three years of trying." I was six months clean. And I didn't mess it up. You know, I turned up on time. In fact, I turned up a bit early. That was new for me. I turned up clean and smelling like flowers. And with a smile on my face and colour in my cheeks, that was new for me. You said NA taught you how to heal. What did you learn about healing? And what did you learn about why you were addicted to narcotics? Well, I learned about fear of abandonment. I probably hadn't heard that as a phrase. Then I didn't understand, from listening to other people talk about their experiences. Sometimes I think, "Oh, no, that wasn't quite my experience. I don't think that's why I used." And then I remember hearing someone and thinking, "That's exactly me, that whole." And it never fills up. And you're constantly trying to fill it with anything. And then when they said, "Here is where I'm learning to fill it myself." And I thought, "That's what I want. I want to align the whole with something impermeable. That means it will fill up and never empty again." And there are steps in narcotics, anonymous, and any 12-step programme. And, you know, if you work through these steps. And it is like people would go, "Oh, it's like a cult, you know, it's really bad." But I did replace my addiction with addiction to narcotics, anonymous. But I know which addiction I'd rather have. I went all the time, often twice a day, because it was the only place where I felt completely normal. I'd be around other people going, "Yeah, I felt like that. Oh, yeah, I did that. Oh, God, I messed up this." Or, "Oh, yeah, I had liaisons with people that I didn't care about. I didn't know, but I thought it would fix me." You'd think, "God, these people are so honest." I realised the power in honesty. I mean, that's your thing, right? Speak your truth. Yeah. It's powerful. Yeah. Freeing oneself, isn't it? Mm-hmm. So, I learnt everything to help me. I did have, like, another transformational moment when I got hypnotised for a job that I was doing about eight years ago.

Hypnosis healing trauma (30:40)

And that was like, that was when the impermeable seal went on my fear of abandonment. And it was unexpected because I wasn't going to the hypnotist about that. I was going to the hypnotist about not feeling anxious going in a submarine to a thousand metres under the sea. Tiny three-person submarine where you can't stand up and there's no loo and it takes 40 minutes to get to the surface again. And I thought, "I don't get claustrophobia, but I don't want to find out at a thousand metres under the sea that I am..." Indeed, claustrophobic! So, I thought I'd better go and get hypnotised just to make sure. And that was, have you ever done hypnotism? No. Oh, man. I mean, if you've got an issue, that is something that you've worked on a lot and is hard to let go of. I mean, I didn't even think really that my fear of abandonment issue was still there, but I do think it was. And we did some regression work where I went back to me in the kitchen looking at my granny thinking, "My mum's not going to come back." And I don't know what to do and I feel a bit guilty. I think I've overstayed my welcome. And the hypnotist said, "Go get that divina. Take her by the hand." He said, "Where's your favourite place in the garden?" I said, "The oak tree." So he said, "Take her to the oak tree." So I took her over to the oak tree, little me, four years old. And he said, "Okay, sit her down." And sat her down. And he said, "You know, comfort." I said, "She looks worried." And he said, "Comfort her." I said, "I feel silly. I don't know what to do. It's me." It feels weird. And he said, "Imagine she was one of your own children. Comfort her as if she was your child." So I put my arm around her. And I thought, "Okay, this is easier." And then her head went on my chest. And I was stroking her hair. I said, "I don't know what to say." I kept thinking he's looking to me to say something profound and I've got no idea how to do this. And he said, "Well, why don't you tell her it's all going to be okay?" And I really started crying, like really crying. And he said the same thing. It was up. And I said, "It's not going to be okay. I take drugs. I make stupid decisions. I put myself in danger. It's bad." And he went, "But look at you now." And it was like, "Oh my God. Look at me now. I'm great." And it was like everything went, you know, all the cogs and the wheels and my brain all went click. I am going to be okay. I looked at her and I got like her head in my hands and I was like, "You are going to be okay. Your life is going to be amazing." And it will be full of, literally it ups and downs, but you are going to be okay. And he said, "You can take her back. Let's take her back." So I went back to the kitchen and I put her down in the seat and she is smiling at me. And then he says, "We can leave now." But he said, "Before we leave, we want you to just turn around and look at her one last time and tell me what she looks like." And he said, "She looks happy." And he said, "Great." And then he brought me around. I was like, "Balling!" "Ah, this is amazing. What happened? What just happened?" And he said, "We have planted a seed." And he said, "Let's just wait and see what happens there." He said, "This was basically to stop you feeling like you are going to be abandoned at the bottom of the sea." But actually I think maybe we have done something bigger here. It might be kind of amazing what happens. And a couple of things happened after that where I said, "Actually it is not okay to treat me like that." I would never have said that before because I was worried you'd abandoned me. If I stood up to you and said, "Not okay." I'd think, "Oh, you might not like me anymore." It was very important that everybody liked me. And suddenly I was like, "Actually, I can stand up for myself in a non-aggressive way and not actually mind if you like me or not because I'm doing it for me." Oh my God, it was mega. And I feel like from that moment I've been a different person. In all of my decisions, in my outlook on life, it's been mega.

Your desire to be famous (35:44)

So your career then in TV, one of the things I read is that it was heavily fueled. We kind of talked about this before we started recording by your desire to be famous. Yes. I mean, the first MTV thing, so I'd wanted to be a singer, another desire to be famous. I wasn't good enough. I was like, "I would be an amazing backing vocalist." My nickname at home is the Harmonizer. I can't listen to a track without harmonizing to it. I absolutely have to. That's annoying at some point there, isn't it? Yes, because all my kids are like, "Oh my God." In the car I'm always like, "Mmm, mmm, mmm." And I kept going, "Oh my God, stop." If I could have turned my family into the Von Traps, and I really tried. I made them all do choir. I all had to kind of do singing lessons. They just weren't buying it at all, and I'm so upset about that. But if I could have had the Von Traps, that would have been my dream. Anyway, failed singer. What else can I do to get famous? All of this, obviously, mum, look at me. You made a mistake. Look how great I am. That's at the back of everything, right? For example, when I was 15 or 16, I did quite well in my own levels. They were old levels back then. How old I am. I called up my mum to tell her I had done quite well in my own levels. She was really angry. Because she felt like I was just trying to show her up, or that, you know, she was drunk. She was drunk. She took it badly. She felt that it was me trying to say that she wasn't good enough, or that she'd done something, you know. And I was so confused by that. I thought I'm going to show you. I'm going to make you want to... Anyway, my aim was I want to get my own show on MTV. I got my own show on MTV and I presented the first show and I went up to the dressing room afterwards and I cried and I cried and I cried and I couldn't figure out why I was crying. And I called my sponsor, which is something you have in narcotics anonymous, who's there to help you decipher yourself. And she said, "Right." We picked it apart and picked it apart. And I said, "It hasn't fixed the whole... It didn't make me think, 'Oh, my mum's going to want me back.' And then to top it all off, my mum did call me and say she'd seen it, because you could see it in France, because it was European." And she said, "You know, I think you should stop pulling the faces." He pulled these faces and I was like, "That was not the desired effect. I did not want you to think that. I wanted you to think, 'Wow, you were amazing!' And so it was a really heavy moment and then I thought, 'Wow, I need to warn everybody. You know, being famous, you've got to do it for the right reasons. I did it for the wrong reasons. And now I'm here and I've got this job and I'm on the wheel and I don't know how to... You know, I can't get off. I didn't want to get off. I mean, I was enjoying my job. Don't get me wrong. Working at MTV were some of the greatest years of my life. My life, but actually, it was probably his life. I've had lived about ten different lives in my lifetime. And MTV was one of them. But I think that realization, that the thing that I'd been aiming for, that I thought was going to fix me and it didn't was like, again, the end of something and the start of another phase of my life. Okay, well, you're going to have to find it inside somehow. And that whole you referred to, is that whole filled now?

Your states of happiness now (39:31)

Filled. Yeah. I mean, I've... 100% filled. I've never been so happy. Like, I can't even... I sat... You know, it was really funny because I said, I said to my boyfriend, I said, I'm going to do this thing with Stephen Bartlett this morning. And he was like, oh my God. I said, I am not going to cry. I'm like, I haven't done Piers Morgan specifically for this reason because I was like, I am not going to sit under. But it's weird because it's the thing... I could talk about my pain until the cows come home and not feel a thing because it's so far removed from me and it was a long time ago and I've processed and processed and processed it. But feeling happy is so alien. Like 100% joyous. Sitting on the train and just feeling so good this morning. And it's not like euphoria or a druggie happy or a fake eye. It's content. Oh my God. It's like I cannot quite believe it. And I don't... I've been walking forwards. But I don't know how I got here. Just walked forwards. You know, but settling down, I feel like I've grounded in a way that I've never had before. And I think it's so important to talk about this stuff because at 55, if you'd have said to 30-year-old me, what's life going to look like when you're 55? I'm going to say really sad. I probably won't be doing TV anymore. It won't want me. And I'll be really boring. And I won't be having fun anymore. And I think, "I've got to be wrong more wrong. I've got to go and tell everybody quick. Tell everyone it's going to be okay." Stephen, it's going to be okay. I've never had someone say to me that their feelings of happiness make them emotional. Oh. And when I think about it, I will because I'm grateful. Because we were talking about what makes you a positive person. I think it's because you think it's been a roller coaster, right? It's for you. It's been a roller coaster. But it's not about the Lambo or the House or the mansion. It's about this and your roller coaster and your journey to money and making it and then realizing it doesn't fix you and then you fixing yourself by being on a journey of self discovery, which you massively are. By talking to all these different people, you're like taking little bits from everything that somebody says to you and thinking, "I'm going to use this for me. That was a great tool. Thank you very much. I'm going to have that." It's like you are healing yourself. This is your enamising. This is your recovery. I feel like you did learn my cover. This is your recovery. How amazing is that? It's crazy. It's a crazy privilege to have. Yeah. And it's just going to... These are all seeds that are planted in you that just continue to grow. So life gets better. Mother nature throws you creepy knees and creepy elbows and crow's feet. But it also throws you a full heart and a peaceful mind. Your career, your career in TV, that whole journey, it's been one of the most incredible careers that I think most people could ever hope for in any industry ever.

Your career in TV (43:24)

The top of your game. I first came to learn about you because of Big Brother, but there's a career before that and there's a long, long career after that. When you reflect on what advice you would have given yourself or why you made it to the very top of that pyramid, what is the answer, Divina? I mean, this is another thing that I marvel at every day because I've been many times in my career where I've thought this is it. It was interesting after Big Brother finished. I contacted a friend of mine who was like a tech, a techy person. And I'd had this thought like after Big Brother, I thought, who am I? And where am I going to go? And it could all end. And as the person that was providing the roof and the food on the table, it was on, like me, I had to think of my next step. What was I going to do? I'm not sure how long television's going to last. I mean, it's still going, which is amazing for me. But I thought I need to get into technology and the internet and I need to go online. And I came up with an idea for, I thought about it in terms of an exhibition centre, but you could put that online where you would have everything from money, advice, personal advice, mental advice, kids' advice. And I went and talked to a few people about it and thought of everything that didn't happen. But it wasn't meant to happen. I tried to get it off the ground for like two or three years. I tried to make it a TV program. I tried to make it an exhibition. I tried to make it an online thing. And you know when you're swimming against the tide with an idea, and at some point you've just got to take your hands off the steering wheel and go, like, that wasn't meant to happen. But then I got offered Long Noss Family. Now, Long Noss Family, I've been filming that program now for 13 years. Wow. It makes me feel so good, that show. And I've helped so many people on it, which has been so wonderful to be part of that moment in their life where they learn something that's been an itch that they couldn't scratch for years and years and we can provide that scratch. So I always think, well, just start walking in that direction and something else will come along, but never just sit down and wait. You know, I've never sat down and thought, I'm just going to stay here and wait for something to happen to me. I've got no embarrassment or shame about emailing a TV company or a head of a TV company and going, "Have you thought about this? What about this? Can I present that if it happens? Can I do this?" I'm literally begging ITV to let me present "Midlife Love Island." I could fill a villa in Love Island with middle-aged people with the best backstories you have ever heard and you're like, "They've lived a life. They're widows. They're people who have been through horrific divorces. They are people who have split up with somebody and decided they want to try going up with somebody the same sex as them. They're like, "Interesting people. I'd watch that show." That's really interesting. Yeah, and I was like, "I need to present it, please." What are they saying about that? They said, "Oh, we're looking at something else that's quite similar. We might consider you for that." Well, if I hadn't sent them that email in the first place, they wouldn't have thought about me for the other show, maybe. You've got to make opportunities happen. They never just come to you. Keep walking. I'm always talking to my kids. Just keep walking. Something will come. Kind of form. Build the foundations and just keep walking. As you're walking, you're laying more and more path. Don't sit and wait for the path to be laid because it'll never come to you.

Manifestation (47:26)

There's this word manifestation you've used in this conversation. What role and what does that mean to you? You're talking there about proactively attacking the day. I almost liken it to the analogy I've given before is when you get in your car in the morning, you set the satin out, which is the manifestation, but then you've got to drive. If you just do one, if you just drive, you're going to get lost. If you just set the satin out, you're going to be in your garage all day. You have to do both together. You've talked about how you attack. Send the email, make the phone call, pass to the person at MTV. Then what role does the manifestation play in all of that? It's interesting because you said it's all very well putting it in. The satin out is the manifestation, but then you've got to drive the car. In my mind, I see that if you know where you're going, your car self-drives. You almost are always walking in the direction because you can see it. I know that at some point I will do this. Interesting. I've sent this email to this woman and I've just told you about it because this was a manifestation. It's triggered my memory that I've told us I'm going to send a follow-up email today. Now, is my car self-driving? It kind of is because I've been telling you about a manifestation because I had it in the first place. You've just reminded me I'm going to send the email. That for me is the difference though because there's so many people and we all know them that have sofa ideas. They'll turn to you while they're watching it. I've got this idea for this TV show. Sometimes they're really good, right? Fantastic. But it doesn't matter because they don't have the next bit, which is, I'm going to get up and send an email. Like you've just said, I'm going to send another one. That for me is turning the key in the ignition. Yes, maybe. There's a lot of people that are going, "Oh, I'm certain I've... Tom Tom art. This is where I want to go someday." Then they just relax back into the chair in the car and nothing happens. Then there's some people I meet, it tends to be the people that sit here with me, that took that weird kind of nothing to lose first step. You go, "That was rude." You go, "Oh, really? You just showed up there? You just begged them on email?" Those are the people that I tend to sit here with. Anita Roddick started the body shop and she lit the wick of interest in... lit the fuse. I mean, my interest in activism. She was saying, "If you don't think that you have the power as one person, then you've never been to bed with a mosquito." She said, "Be as annoying as a mosquito." I was like, "I think that's me. I am as annoying as a mosquito." That when I meet somebody and I bet you're the same, Stephen, when you see a kid and a kid comes up and goes, "Stephen, can I have your number? Because I've got an idea and I want to come and pitch it to you." You would go, "Yes, absolutely." Whereas other people might think, "Oh, I can't do that because he's Stephen Bartlett or I have to email him." "Oh, no, I've seen him on the telly. I can't approach him." But when you meet a ballsy kid and they go, "Can I come and shatter you for a day or give me a number? You think, yeah? Sure." Because I always respect the tenacity and the asking. I see myself in it a little bit. Exactly. I remember I was doing this podcast one day and I was recording with a guest and then I got up to walk out. The person they brought with them in their entourage was the Nephes, and she goes to me, "Hi, Stephen. I know you're leaving and I know you've just interviewed my auntie, but I have a podcast I've just started and I would like you to be on it. So can we record it now?" Did you say yes? I was like, "Of course." I was like, "Let's sit down." And we sat down and recorded for like 45 minutes for her podcast. Stop it. Her podcast is killing it. Shavani, isn't it? She's killing it now. When I say killing it, she's actually killing it. She's like killing it now. But I remember doing a post on LinkedIn about that moment, tagged her in it and said, "I just respect the ask, you know, because my life has been riddled with moments as I saw in yours where I just sent the email. I had nothing to lose. I was sucking stealing pizzas on my own in Manchester. What did I have to lose at that point by just sending loads of emails?" I remember Sam's, I think it was Panasonic or Samsung, gave me free cameras. I sent an email. They were like, "Here's all the free cameras to start your business." When I was 14, I sent these emails to this vending machine company. They fit off secondary school with free vending machines that we made profit from. So I'd learnt the power of just like asking nothing to lose. Maybe my ego might take an L, but he gives a fuck. What's the worst that could happen? But I think also when the worst has happened. Yeah, you're not scared of it. It's happened. Getting a no to me is just a yes that hasn't happened yet. I'm always like, "Oh, you're saying no, but..." You mean maybe. You mean maybe. You mean asking him. Quick one, as some of you know, Intel are sponsoring this podcast. And for me, Intel has made the search for a premium laptop so much easier by creating the Intel Evo, but I'm not sure.

Ads (52:21)

It's the Intel Evo platform, which is signified by this sticker here in the corner. Laptop designs only receive the Intel Evo badge when they have been tested to pass Intel's own very strict requirements so that they can actually perform as you need them to out in the real world. And the result for me is a premium laptop that can perform everywhere, even with my crazy schedule in mind. And most importantly, it can handle multiple tabs open and a battery that really lasts throughout the entirety of my meetings. Whatever you need your laptop for, Intel Evo have you covered. It's a game changer. To find out more and to get your hands on an Intel Evo laptop, go to intel.co.uk/evo and let me know how you get on. Quick one. For many years, people have been asking for a coffee-flavored heel. And quite recently, he'll release the iced coffee caramel flavor of their ready-to-drink heels. And I've just become hooked on it over the last couple of weeks. I've been on a really interesting journey with heel, which I've described and talked about a little bit on this podcast. I started with the Berry Ready-to-Drinks that I moved over to the protein-salted caramel because it's 100 calories and it gives you all of your essential vitamins and minerals, but also gives you the 20-odd grams of protein you need. And now I'm balanced between them both. I drink mostly the banana flavor ready-to-drink. I've got really into the iced coffee caramel flavor of heels ready-to-drink. And now I'm drinking that as well as the protein. Make sure you try the new ready-to-drink flavors. The caramel flavor is amazing. The new banana flavor as well is amazing. And obviously, as I said, the iced coffee caramel flavor has been a real smash hit. So check it out. Let me know what you think on social media. I see all of your tags on Instagram posts and tweets about heel back to the podcast. I sat here with Professor Galloway, Scott Galloway, and he told me about the arc of happiness, where he says, "His idea was that our happiness kind of looks like a bit like a smile where we kind of start happy at the start of our life.

Your sister Caroline (54:10)

It gets a little bit difficult in the middle. And then at the end, the kind of 50-ish age, when we go into that second spring, it's happy again, typically. Again, this is not the same for everybody. It's kind of a generalization. But at the bottom of the arc of happiness, when things are most difficult, is when we start losing people in our lives, that we love. And I know 10 years ago, you lost Caroline, your half-sister. Talk to me about that experience and also generally the process of how you've dealt with that grief. It was definitely the worst thing that ever happened to me, still to this day, like the worst. So I told you a little bit about Caroline with my mum, and that she was six years older than me. And she lived in Paris. She was the result of my mum's pregnancy when she was 16. And she endured a lot, well, our lifetime with our mum. And that was very hard on her. And she was left with many hang-ups from that of... She was... She used to find it hard to be completely honest all the time. So she'd tell big exaggerations about things or make-up stories. But this is because she'd had to lie to cover for my mum her entire life. Not all the time, but just she'd make her life a bit more exciting by telling untruths. And I don't want to do her a disservice in her death because we talked about this when she was alive. And I goes, "That's a poor key." And she'd start laughing. She'd go, "Well, it did happen, but this didn't happen, you know." But it was just trying. I understood her, and she understood me and all my defects of character. And she knew exactly why I did things. And she was an insular person, quite an insular person. And her favourite thing would be, she lived with me always. We had six dark years when we didn't live together. But she lived with me when I had a two-bed flat in Hammersmith. And we were very funny together, like I just understood everything about her and she understood all my idiosyncrasies and I got all of hers. And so her favourite thing in the evening, you know, I love socialising, I'm a people person, I like going out, I am touch. She would be TV dinner, food on lap, foie gras, a ton of butter, French bread, glass of red wine, spliff. If I would say to her, "Do you want to come for a walk around the garden?" She was French, fully French, so her mum and her dad were French. And I'd say, "Do you want to come for a walk around the garden?" She'd go, "No." You know, exercise, not her thing. Absolutely hilarious person, so funny. But very secretive. And I was bleh. I would tell her everything. She would tell me nothing. It was very annoying. I would walk around naked in front of her all the time. I'd go, I'd phone her out, I'd go, "Karen, come and talk to me when I have a bath." I mean, I was so annoying. I was an annoying little sister, right, I'm to the very end. So she'd come over to the house and she'd sit on the floor and I'd go, like, talk to me. Tell me everything that's happened at work, blah, blah, blah. And then I'd share something where I'd talk about a problem and she'd help me iron this out. She was amazing. So good to talk to. So kind of wise. Always a bit painfully honest with me. Yeah, but you know you're the overstepping the mark or you know you shouldn't be doing this. She's the only person that could do that with me. But because she was so secretive, things were going a bit arise. So she just had her 50th birthday and she sort of walked into a door once. A door was half open and she kind of walked into it. I was like, "Didn't you see that?" I thought she'd been smoking too much. And then she was sitting at the table and she was talking to me and she had a glass in her right hand. She had a glass in her left hand. And now she was talking to me. I was watching the glass. Her left hand was tipping further and further over to the side. And I was watching the glass and the water was just... And I went, "K that's very weird." And she became a bit clumsy and I thought too much weed or menopause or something. She became a bit forgetful. She kept going off. Menopause. I can't remember what's going on. She had a sore back and she'd fallen over. We'd been in the garden and she'd fallen over. And she kept going, "You know when I fell over my back's still not right, she used to cane the Advil. I mean she was terrible with like painkillers. She used to take sleeping pills. She slightly medicate herself. We'd sleep in pills Advil all the time. I just thought she's on another planet. But it got to the point where I thought something is up and I'd invited her to come to France with us for half-term. She always came on holiday with us and she said, "No." Which was very unlike her and I was like, "Are you sure?" She went, "I just want to stay here. I'm so tired. I don't feel... I just feel like I've got flu coming on." I was like, "Okay." I got back. She'd have flu all week. She'd been in bed all week. I was like, "Well Caroline, I think maybe you should go see something." She said, "No, I think I'm coming out of it." Then the next morning someone had been walking past her window and they said, "To be in there, I think you should come. I can hear Caroline shouting for help." I got the key. I opened the door. She'd been on the floor all night. She was in her pajamas. She'd soiled herself. She couldn't move. She was paralyzed down half her body and I was like, "So stroke." Quick, call the ambulance. The quicker we can get as seen, the better. The rat car comes. You know, stroke expert. He walks in. He goes, "I don't think this is a stroke." I was like, "But it must be a stroke because half her body's gone. Like this is what happens in a stroke." They get her in an ambulance. I'm now a bit worried. I'm thinking, "If this isn't a stroke, what is going on?" But I was just trying to be strong for her. It's going to be fine. We're going to get you to hospital and they're going to get it sorted. It's probably a bit of menopause, a bit of whatever. Maybe you're smoking too much. We get out of the hospital test, after test, after test. I was thinking, "Brain scan, I understand." Then they said, "We'd like to do chest x-ray." I was thinking, "Why are you doing a chest x-ray if it's clearly neurological?" Well, she goes to the chest x-ray and then about an hour later we get a doctor come in and he goes, "We've got something to tell you." We're both thinking, "Yeah, we're in A and E, right?" He goes, "Yeah, you have primary lung cancer in both lungs and you have two brain tumors. It's metastasized through your brain and the pain in your back is where your lung cancer is then going into your bone. So you probably have bone cancer as well." I was like, "That can't be right." And she went lung cancer. And then she looked at me and she went, "It's all my fault. It's not your fault. Like it's not your fault you've got lung cancer." And she could see her just going tick tick tick smoking all those years smoking the smoking the weed. And I was like, "Stop, stop. We need to think, like what are we going to do? Like, okay, what are we going to do?" In the meantime, I just said, "I'm just going to go and call my mum and dad. I'm just going to go and call them and just let them know what's happening." And I called them. I couldn't breathe. I was like, "In the corridor, going, I think I'm going to have some kind of attack. I can't process it. I don't understand what's happening." I think they're telling me because they hadn't said the word "die." I think they're telling me Caroline's dying. Like she's got so much cancer that she's dying. I said, "I'll keep you posted. I go freshen up my face." There was a nurse there that I've seen a couple of times since when I've taken my kids into A&E. And I always give her a bit of a special hug because she came up to me in the corridor. And she was like, "Are you okay?" And I was like, "I'm not okay." She was like, "What's going on?" I said, "Well, my sister's got this and this." And she was like, "I'm really sorry." She just gave me a hug and that was it. And then she went, "I've never forgotten it. You know, that hug I needed touch. I needed someone to..." I went back in, tried to dry off my eyes or what have you. We just sat there in silence really. And then lots of people came in and were looking at her. One of the saddest things was someone lifted up that her back to put the stethoscope on her back and listened to her. And I saw her, I know this sign, I sound so weird, but I saw a black head on her back and it was massive. And it had grown into kind of a sore, it looked horrible. And I thought, "No one sees you. No one sees you naked. No one... You don't let anyone in. Like I am the closest and even I am not in." Because you are so protective of that painful child. She'd never done the work, she'd never got to NA or AA. She wasn't really an addict. I mean, you know, she smoked a lot of weed, but I didn't see her as an addict. She wasn't an alcoholic. She wasn't... But she had put a fence around her. And everybody was at the fence and she had so many friends that loved her so much, but nobody got inside the fence. And it made me so, so sad. And I thought, "I'm fucking climbing over the fence and I'm going to get in for however long you've got left because you are not shutting me out." We had the best talks. She was in hospital for a month. We had the most amazing, brilliant talks. Like, I thought, "God, why is it that when you're dying, we get to do this? Why did we not do this a year ago?" Like, if anybody's listening and they feel like they've got a relative that they want to get into or do it, don't wait for someone to die. Because the best seven weeks of my life with my sister were those last seven weeks of hers. And so she had a month in the hospital and then I said, "I want to get her home to her cottage." I had to go around and find all her weed and it was everywhere. I literally could have started dealing. She had that much weed, squirreled away. I think she'd forgotten half of the places that she'd had it squirreled away. I chucked it all away. I didn't find that hard at all. I was never interested in weed, so it was easy for me. I set up her house, got the plumber in, put in things for her to hold. Occupational therapy came and told me all the places where I need to put stuff, harnesses, hospital beds, blah, blah, blah. I set up her whole cottage, got her back home and just hung out with her and we got a carer. She had chemo booked him, but the first chemo was booked him for two days after she died. We thought she had six months and we wrote a bucket list. And on the bucket list was just the sweetest stuff, like go to France one more time and see the kids. We tried to make as much of it happen, get loads of her friends down, a lot of the stuff we couldn't do. Again, why do people do bucket lists when they're dying? Do bucket lists when you're alive? And also, I would challenge anybody listening to this podcast because this was a real thing for me. If somebody said to me, "Davina, you have got six months to live, what's like the most important thing to you now? What really matters? Don't wait for somebody to say that you've got six weeks to live. I love you to all of my friends, all of the people that I love, non-stop. Check in with people, call people, make sure they're okay, spend time with people, make the decisions where you think, if I was to die tomorrow, is this the decision that I'd be happy with? Equally, if you've got somebody very toxic in your life and they are really ruining your life, you know, if you had six months to live, you would be, the first thing I'd do is let go of this toxic person. Do not wait. You know, do it now. And you deserve to be happy. You deserve to not have this toxic person in your life. And Caroline, again, I guess, you know, I'm always looking for lessons. She taught me so much in her death. She was so brave. She never once complained. She never once got frightened. She never cried. And she tried to look after me. I'm one of my most, I'm sorry, Stephen, I know I'm talking a lot, but there was one moment I do want to tell you about. So, obviously no one had ever seen the naked. And she had this amazing, caracal claire. Oh, my God. She was the best ever. She was the most gentle. She understood respect and dignity. And she knew Caroline almost straight away. She knew what kind of person she was. And Caroline would not let me get her undressed already for bed. It was like, I don't want you to see me naked. And the night that she went to sleep for the final time and then three days later she died. She was doing this kind of knitting thing with her hands. She was really uncomfortable. You could see there was something, something had changed a bit. And I was like, hey, you okay? And Claire didn't come until maybe seven or eight in the evening to put her to bed with the district nurse. And she said, I want to go to bed now. Oh, no, Claire was there. But she needed somebody else to put her to bed because there was hoists and everything. And I said, well, look, Claire and I could do it, but it would mean that it would be me. And she went... Okay, but laughing. And I was like, are you serious? And she went, yes. And I went, oh my God, Caroline, thank you. Thank you. But at the same time, I was like, well, you know, I'm going to cry like this is the... This is... Mika. I've arrived, you know. This is my pilgrimage to my sister. I crawled over the fence and I'm now at her body. And I said to her, would it be alright if I did the dipper base? Because I needed to dipper base her before she got into bed so she didn't get bed saws. And that's like moisturizing every inch of her body. And she went, yes, but you're not going to do it again. Like, this is the only time. I'm going to let you do it once. And I said, oh, thank you so much. And I got to... She had the softer skin. I'm very furry. My sister had no hair, like a tall. She was bald as a cubed. And her arms and stuff were so soft. I got the dipper base. I was like, oh my God, Caroline, your arms are so soft. And she was laughing when she was going, oh my God, you are ridiculous. It's going to be amazing. And I got to cream her whole body. And it felt like she'd given that to me. And it was hideous for her. And even when she was dying, she gave me a bit. And she was so nice. And she went to sleep that night. And actually in the middle of the night then they came. And she was a bit more morphine. They said, okay, she was really distressed. She was calling me mummy. I'm holding onto my hand. She'd never been like that before. And she, they gave her some morphine and it calmed her down a bit. And then for three days she just slept basically. But I was with her when she went and it was really lovely. And I kept talking to her the whole time because they say your hearing is the last thing that goes. And I just wanted her to know I wasn't crying. I was just trying to be really strong for her. And I kept saying to her, I'm going to be fine because I think out of everything. She was worried about me. Do you know what I mean? Like that was her last thought. Like, are you going to be alright? And I knew how much of a backbone she was for me. That's what I meant about it being a reciprocal agreement. Like it wasn't just me taking care of her. She was taking care of me. And it was a reciprocal agreement. And she wanted to make sure that I was going to be alright and I kept going, I'm going to be fine. And I talked out all the time but in the last five years. So I had a huge grieving thing. Seven years after she died, I went like all summer. She died on the 1st of August and all summer I couldn't shake off this cloud. And as somebody online, interesting, they had said often seven years after someone's died, it's like a bang. And I was like, this is what's happening to me. Seven years, like so painful again. But since then, you know, and me being in a good place, I keep telling her, I keep going, oh man, like I wish, I wish you were here. Like so I could show you how great it is. She'd be living with me now and, you know, she'd be so happy. We'd be good. I imagine myself, I always thought that I'd be wheeling her around. I always imagined she'd probably get emphysema and she'd have an oxygen tank. And I'd tell her that I'd go, if you carry on doing that, you're going to get blooming. And I said, but I'm happy to wheel you around. I am. We're going to live by the seaside somewhere and you and me can be a couple of old grannies and I'll take care of you. But I didn't never thought she'd die at 50. But she was a great person. And, but her passing, my dad, you know, when he died, he had Alzheimer's and it was expected. We knew it was coming. We'd spent 10 years preparing for it. It was still horrific. But he was 78. And I knew he'd lived an amazing life, but I still felt my sister had so much more to give, you know. What is that process of grief like, you know, I ask these questions because I've been fortunate enough to not go through that arc of grief yet. And I think about it.

The process of grief (01:14:02)

It's been like, I think it haunts me a little bit in my head sometimes. That process of grief, what you learned from it, what you were done, what you might impart on me. Do you ever feel like an island in your life, like that your family all around you, but you're not quite attached, like you are slightly on your own? 100%. I always felt like that too. So I'm sort of attached, but not quite attached. And other people are attached, but I've never. And it's not a bad thing. It's not because anybody's tried to detach me. I just feel like an island. Maybe in my case, I feel like I didn't learn attachment. I didn't learn how to, you know, I call my parents by their first names. And I feel like we're in a family of islands. That's called Naka Palico. Is that what it's called? Yeah. A group of islands all grouped together. It's not. So I don't. So you're a partner. I know you don't talk about personal life, but is it like two islands have come together? So you've formed a little. It's interesting. Like I said to Michael, like Michael's a beetha and I'm form and terror. Oh, yeah. I'm the light. The really kind of gorgeous, like hot, beautiful, unsport island next. And he's quite a party island. And we've formed like, we've now formed a beetha and form and terror, but we are two islands that have come together. But I feel like as just to talk about the grief thing, my mum died, my dad's died, my sister's died. I have an amazing stepmom who I love very much. She's still with me. I have a half sister in Australia, who I love very much, but I don't speak to as often because of the time differences and everything. And so now I really feel like an island. I've got very close family and stuff. It's not that I'm not close to my family, but I do feel. But I've got all my kids are on my island. They're with me. They're in me. They're part of my DNA. But it's just an interesting concept that really know. But when you meet somebody and you really get on with them, you can form a little bond, but you're still two islands. But there's a bridge. But there's a bridge. But funnily enough, my girlfriend is the opposite, which is funny because I sat here with a relationship matchmaking expert and he talked about these three different types of attachment that we have. One of them is like evasive. I think that's what he said where you kind of try to avoid the prospective connection, you self sabotage. You're always trying to kind of run away from commitment. The middle one was nervous. Well, you're always very nervous about attachment and that makes you needy. And then the third one he said was, I'm going to paraphrase, basically a stable. We all know those people. All of their parents are together still. They have, you know, their parents seem to be best friends and work together. They end up being like best friends with their partner. They seem to have no problems. And he says, it's a risk when two of us get together. It's also a risk when an an aversive and a nervous get together because you have someone who, in my case, is trying to run. You have a girlfriend who wants attention and quality time and I'm trying to run and she's trying to, he said, you have to both together get to becoming a stable together. And I thought that was interesting because she has helped me to become stable. I don't run away emotionally open affectionate. But we managed to get there together. And maybe that's the bridge. Maybe when you feel, you know, does any of that resonate with you? Yeah, totally. Yeah. I mean, I think I'm in a stable for sure. Yeah. Were you always? Were you always a stable attachment type in relationships? No, because I had the fear of abandonment. Yeah. And then this, this, I feel like this hypnotist kind of transformed me to be able to form healthy friendships, change my whole outlook, I think, on relationships. You wrote a book here in front of me called "Manapauseing". Why? Why did you, why did you want to write a book on it? Writing books is a lot of effort.

Discussion On Menopause

Your book Menopausing (01:18:20)

Yeah. You know, so you have to really want it. And you're now in a very intentional phase of your life. So this must have really, from everything I've learnt about you so far, must have really mattered. Totally. I mean, I think I did, I did two documentaries, which were I owners for me. The first one was a huge risk. And I thought, oh, am I literally committing professional Harry Kiri here? Is my entire career going to implode now that I am banging the menopause drum and telling everybody that I'm menopause. I'd hidden it for so long. I thought, is this going to be a bad thing or a good thing? I had no idea. But my life was heading to in this direction where I'd been talking to doctors and learning things. And I thought, I've got a platform. And I don't understand when it's something that happens to every single woman. It's not even like it happens to some women. It's like every single woman and some trans men. And we know nothing about it. This is a crime to womanhood. And it is also not good for society. Because women are behaving in a bizarre and irrational and over-emotional way sometimes. 75% of women have symptoms. 25% of women don't. That those 75% are going to be behaving or going through things that either will affect their jobs, their work, certainly will affect their relationships, certainly will affect their children's lives if they've got kids. And yet we don't know anything about it. Neither did you or anybody else know anything about what was going on. And I thought, I have got a platform. And most of the people that follow me on this platform are women. I've got to do something about it. So I did this first documentary. And I kind of watched it at home. And I'm like, oh my God, this is good. And then I went out for a dog walk the next day. It's always on the dog walk. Stop three times. Yeah, it's always on the dog walk. It always goes off when I walk the dog. It's like amazing. No, and I got stopped three times. And I was like, oh, hi. Yeah, hi. And they went, oh my God, we watched it last night. I was like, oh, wow, did you? And then one person cried. Another was a guy that stopped me and said, oh, I watched it with my wife. And then we called my wife sister because my wife's sister's definitely, you know, she's been like lost for so long. And it's so good. And I thought, God, I think this is going to be great. I think this is going to really help people. This could be seriously good. But like page one of menopause questions, I still get asked, can I take HRT while I've still got periods? Yes, that is exactly when it's the best time to take HRT. Oh, my GP's told me I'm too young. No, 45 is a completely normal time. You're thinking, wow, I'm not reaching as many people as I thought I was. I've made these two programs and I've talked about it and I've shared about it and I've shared about it online and I've said you can watch it on all four and all of that. But I just thought there needs to be something where it can be on a table or in a loo or in a library or in an office space where people can go and reference and look something up and know that they are getting 100% correct facts because the doctor that I wrote this with is, unlike me, extremely prestigious about telling the truth and about getting correct scientifically validated information out there. So me and her make quite a good team because I'm all the kind of huge feelings and passion and anger and laughter and silliness and she's the science. What are the symptoms and what symptoms did you experience in your life because there'll be people listening to this now that are thinking, oh, they might have seen it. They might know someone. Yeah. I thought about people that I know when I first started learning about menopause from actually Gabby Logan who said she actually played a huge role in her journey and her sort of figuring all of that stuff out. But what are those symptoms to be looking for and how much do they impact one's life and relationships? So the symptoms can be varied. You can just get one symptom and it can absolutely floor you or you could get five symptoms and they don't massively bother you or you might not get any symptoms at all. So 25% of women go through it with absolutely like, sell through, don't even know that it's happened until their periods have stopped. Then 50% of women struggle a bit. Like I would put myself in that 50% I struggled quite a bit. And then 25% of women it will be so bad that they will think extremely dark thoughts often suicide will feel complete hopelessness, have to leave their jobs, have to leave relationships or get left. It has catastrophic effects on their life. So the symptoms, estrogen depletion and estrogen affects every organ in your body. So forgetfulness, brain fog. I mean, that is for on it. Yeah. Fuck on my keys. Where the fuck my keys? Well done. Chapter in the book. Thank you. Love that same. Thank you. You know, the forgetfulness is epic and embarrassing. And also another thing that makes you feel old overnight. Your body starts changing a bit of extra weight around the middle because Professor Tim Spector now explained to me that women metabolize sugar differently in mid life and estrogen and the way that that affects your digestive system and your gut changes in menopause us. Like fascinating. So many changes happen. And so I had nights, so I had the mood things I had. But all of the brain fog was the thing that was really affecting my work. And I just thought I'm not even sure that I can continue working. But I did end up through a long process and it's all explained in the book, but end up seeing a private doctor. And I'm sad that I had to go to a private doctor. But I seriously thought I was going mad and somebody flagged up. Maybe it is the Barry Menopause. But I said, I've been told by my GP, I'm too young. They said, well, maybe go and, you know, pay and go see somebody. So I did. And they said immediately, your Barry Menopause. I've got hyperthyroidism. I've had that since I was 28, where my thyroid is undirective. And apparently people who have hyperthyroidism can start menopause early. I didn't know that. And they took me through all the perceived risks and the benefits. I didn't know there were any benefits to taking HRT either. I thought it was only going to give me breast cancer. I thought it might take away my symptoms, which would be the only benefit. But actually, there are health benefits to taking it. And I weighed it all up. And I thought I'm definitely, definitely going to go on HRT. You can take it for the rest of your life. We get asked that a lot. You get asked, like, does it postpone your menopause? It doesn't postpone your menopause. But if you stop taking it, you've wean yourself off, you can occasionally get an odd flush even after your periods have stopped. It's just the estrogen depletion in your body. If you keep taking the estrogen, you probably won't have the hot flushes. But some women have to stop because they do get breast cancer that's estrogen receptive. And then they are required. But I met somebody the other day who'd had breast cancer and she'd gone on HRT because she felt the quality of her life was so bad that she had sat down and weighed up. Look, if it comes back, how are we going to deal with it? What would I do? How many times do I get checked a year? She weighed that up herself. But it's a very personal decision. Someone would be like, "I don't want to take that risk. I don't want to take the risk of getting cancer just to make myself feel better." But for her, she felt so bad that it was worth the risk. So it's a very personal journey for so many women. But it is a journey that when you know about it and you know what's happening to you, it's an easier journey to take. What about men? You talk about men in the book. Yeah, so they're like really important. I'm going to tell you a story about a guy the other day he sent me a tweet and he said, "I got your book and I went to the living room door and I opened the living room door and I checked in the book and I ran away."

Men dealing with menopausal women (01:26:42)

And it made me laugh and I read it. And I thought, "Oh, you know, banter, hilarious." I was running their charts about his wife. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Like I'm terrified. And then I thought, "Actually, do you know what? I'm going to send you a direct message." So I messaged him because he was following me. So I messaged him privately. I said, "Are you okay?" And he went, "It's actually quite hard. Like, I don't know what to do." And I thought, "Oh, that was a bit of banter, but actually you're struggling, right?" So I was like, "Hey, listen, I've got a great tip. Leave the banter at the door of the living room. And why don't you go in and you can pick up the book and sit down and read it with her. She'd absolutely love it. I can't tell you how much it would mean to her if you said, "I don't know what to say or how to help you." And I'm feeling, tell her how you feel. But in a non-comedy way, like really tell her how you feel. And then say, "What can I do to help? Can I read this book with you? Can we... What can I do?" Anyway, the next day sent me another message. And he went, "Oh my God, I did it." And it was so good. And we read a bit of the book together. And I feel much better informed. And I don't feel like it's me. Because I think he thought it was him, you know. And being... It's hard to explain when you're being a bitch that it's not their fault, but that everything that they do makes you want to run away or shout at them. But it's not their fault. How can that not feel like your fault when you've got somebody doing that to you? And just knowing that it is a thing that happens and that there are things that you can do about it makes all the difference to a man. So I think, "And to the woman." For a man to then go, "Oh, I see." It's like, "Oh, he gets it." Do you know what though? There's a fear I have about this because even in the case of him buying the book and then running... I know it was a joke running in there throwing it in there and closing the door as if it's a grenade or something. There's a fear as a man that if I was to approach my partner with the book, it would be me saying... There's something wrong with you? Yeah. I mean... See what I mean? That is why an honest and open conversation about how you're feeling, not like you've been a bit moody recently. I bought you this book. Just say, "Look, say if a man was listening to this and he thought that his partner was Perry Menopausal, and they've maybe noticed three or four symptoms by the book, read it, or have a look at the symptoms. If you're worried about what they might think, hide it and read it. Look at the symptoms. Do a little mental checklist. I think you've got this, this, and this. And then go, "Look, I've been feeling like this recently. I've been feeling like you don't love me anymore and I really miss you." Say something nice. Say something about how you feel like we've grown a part of it and I want to bring it back. And I've been thinking and I listened to some stuff and I heard something on the radio or, you know, "How did you hear about this book?" So then you say, "Well, I was listening to the podcast. I oversee it. Oh, and I like to subscribe." And so I thought I'd buy the book and have a look at it. And I think some of this is, "Can I show you something? Can we sit down? I'd really like to show it to you. And if they get annoyed, don't worry. They might get annoyed and walk away and go, "I'm not Perry Menopausal." And then come back and secretly read the book. Or they might come back and go, "I'm sorry. I was annoyed, but I think I am." And then they might have a cry. It can work out a million different ways, but it just needs a bit of patience, a bit of understanding, and no banter. Bantar is like bad in several situations. Bantar is bad around periods. Do not do banter about periods. You can do banter about haircuts, clothing, loads of things, but banter about periods are not funny. Bantar in childbirth, not funny, unless wife has given you permission to bantar, or unless she bants at you, then you can bantar. And banter during menopause, unless she bants first. I always go by the way. Because these are times of great vulnerability. And sometimes a bit of banter can really hurt. We used the word "emission" earlier on. We used it in the context of once you decouple from the need for validation or to fill that whole, you can have a much more intrinsic internal mission to set your life in a new trajectory. What is your mission now? As you sit here, you said you're 55. What is your mission? I really like helping people. So I think that's a general mission. If I can help in any way, like, what can I do to help you? I think I've got a platform. You've got a platform. You're helping people. You know, that's like, I feel like that's your mission, to spread good using your platform. I guess like I've worked hard all my life to get a platform now. I've got a platform. What am I going to do with it? Do I want to make more money or get more followers? Or really, I'm not really bothered. Do I want to help people? Yeah. So everything is like, is this going to help anyone? Is this going to do any good? Even something is kind of, you know, lingerie to me is a superpower. Like, lingerie is one of the most important builders of self-confidence. When I was single, I used to wear badass lingerie because the first act of self-love is what are you going to put on underneath your clothes that's next to your skin that no one else is going to see, that only you know what you're wearing. You know, I see women who look absolutely amazing on the outside, but they're wearing gray, holy underwear. And it's a act of care. Self-care is looking nice only for you. It's an amazing act of love. So I want to help people feel good about themselves. I want to get the message out there. And I also... What do I want to do? Yeah, so I just think that is my mission. I'm always thinking about jobs like... Because of my sister, I was thinking about a TV program I'd love to do called Legacy. Because my sister was a beautiful person and I never think she felt it. But my God, her funeral was amazing and she was loved so much. And I kept thinking, "Why aren't you here? Oh my God, you'd love this. You had no idea how much you were loved. What a huge impact you had on so many people's lives." I thought, "Wouldn't it be great to do a sort of, "This is your life type TV program where you bring all the people together, but for somebody that is life limited, somebody who has a year left, and you do their funeral before they die. Have a living wake for them." Wow. Yeah, it's like, it's horrific but great at the same time. And if you found somebody that was willing, "I would love that." Yeah, I was thinking about it from a TV perspective. But wow, what a range of emotions. This is your legacy. Look, all these people. And getting the roses while you can still smell them. Yeah. So that's kind of thing. I can do a job and do something lovely. I'm not sure if I would find anybody to get that off the ground, because it's quite extreme. But this is... Your manifest area. I've said it out loud on here, someone might hear it. You never know. You are such a legend for so many reasons. You have a real talent, which I didn't realise until I'd really met you here. I'm not having watched you on TV, but there's just something really quite electric and wonderful about you. But that's probably why you were so successful on TV in the public domain, because there's this electricity to you. And if anyone's ever told you that before, it's real just like... Nice fellow. I'll take that. Engaging electricity. So it's been an incredible honour to meet you. I've learnt so much. I felt the full range of emotions. Your podcast is fantastic, which you do with Michael. Mm-hmm. Making the cut. Yeah. I'm not going to be a company. Please. On Apple podcast. They... Michael, my partner, is called Michael Douglas. Mm-hmm. And they've got a picture of actual Michael Douglas with me. I keep thinking Catherine Zeta-Jones is going to come over and let me go. You're doing something with my husband. I've got no... They've got the wrong picture. I've written to Apple so many times I've gone, "Yeah, I have. I keep writing to Apple podcast going, "Mate, please swap Michael Douglas's photo for my Michael Douglas." I'm going to get into trouble with Catherine, okay? But it's a fantastic podcast. Thank you. You sit there with your partner and you talk about life. Recommend things. So we recommended, in fact, this specific episode and we were recommending your podcast in general, but the specific one was Jimmy Carlin, which was... He was a great... such an interesting... Mind blowing. Mind blowing. Yeah. I saw that. I think I dimmed you after. Yeah, you did. You did. If it was straight after that. No, it was after that. It was after that. You've done a story about it as well. Yeah. Thank you for that. We all freaked out a little bit because you're such a legend. We're like, "Oh my God, Devina McPorris!" I was like, "Well, I believe that me... We just stepped this up." It is like, "No, it's like that is super surreal for me because, you know, I've watched you on screens and I've admired you for so long." So to hear that you were listening, it's like, "Oh my God, what did we say?" I'm like, "You know, thank you for that." You said good things. It's okay. And your book is amazing. Thank you. We were talking before you... We started about how the way you've designed this book from the colors to the cover to the structure of every page and how engaging and un-intimidating it is and accessible it feels is also intentional. You've done it also a reason. Yeah, I want it easy to read. I was just saying earlier about the hands on the front. You know, I wanted those two hands at the bottom to look like, "I'm going to help you out of this and we're going to do it together." And that the messaging is positive because I think people... I had viewed the menopause as an incredibly negative thing in my 30s and 40s and actually it's been a time where you're actually talking to me here and asking me how I feel and I'm saying happy. Yeah. I mean, you know, this is what menopusing has done for me. I feel so happy. So I wanted to kind of convey that in some way and make it a book that when you are feeling diminished and invisible that you can pick it up and it's easy to read and you will see yourself in every page. When I do this podcast sometimes, I have moments where I'm so grateful to get to do this because I meet these amazing people, but then I learn about things that are like... It's like I'm in a hall and I thought the room was fully illuminated. And then I have a conversation about menopause and then another light goes on that I don't even know. And it's like the room has just got bigger because someone has turned the light on for me. And learning about menopause over the last from you, from this book, from over the last from what Gabby said and what you'd... You know, the influence you've had on Gabby. So maybe you're a fucking... So many things make sense now. I mean, well, my mum had a medical hysterectomy at 28 and would have been plunged into the menopause and didn't get HRT. So imagine what impact that had on her and her behaviour and her actions. You know, I've forgiven my mum a little bit for some... I mean, not all of it, but I've let go of it. But it explains some of it. I actually did want to talk to you about that situation of forgiveness with your mother because many people can relate to having someone in your life that you fight to change.

Forgiving your mother (01:39:09)

You try your best in you, because they're your mum. And at some point, sometimes we have to say, "Listen, we've done more than we can possibly do to the point that we're actually hurting ourselves now." And we have to kind of cut ties as a bit of a drastic way of saying it, but we have to kind of start protecting ourselves. Did that happen in your situation at some point? So with my mum, she was an alcoholic. I then got into recovery and then came the thing of, "How long do I go along with my mum being an alcoholic without saying you're an alcoholic?" And you need to do something about it because it's getting really bad. And after a few years of being in recovery, talking to my sponsor, going to meetings, sharing about it, I thought, "I'm going to confront her about it." And I said, "You're an alcoholic, you need to do something about it." And then she got really fucking angry with me and she didn't do anything about it. And I saw her another couple of times. She was stationed abroad with, she'd married her, somebody that worked at an embassy. She could move around. And eventually I just said, "Look, I can't see you until you get sober." And a couple of years later she went to live in South Africa with her husband and she got sober. And I invited her to my wedding, to Matty. And she came and she was sober and we went to an N.A. meeting together. And we held hands and we shared. And then Matty and I went on honeymoon and we went to Paris afterwards. I saw my mum again. It was kind of like amazing. It was kind of as I had hoped it would always be. It was like a miracle. And then six months later on my birthday on the 16th of October, just in case you want semi-card next year. On the 16th of October I am away in Edinburgh and the paper comes upstairs and it says, "I need a meeting on the front page of the mirror." And I had never spoken about going to N.A. because it was an anonymous fellowship and the point of being an anonymous fellowship is that nobody knows you go. And she had sold a story to the papers about us going to that meeting and the papers had twisted it so that it was like I was about to relapse before my wedding and that she had taken me to this meeting and you know, it sort of saved me. It was like that kind of tone. And then inside, because I am like you, you know, I have never printed pictures of my children ever. I have never even posted a picture of them on Facebook, not even on my private Facebook page ever. There has never been a picture of my kids anywhere. Now my kids are 19 and 21, the older ones they can choose. I will never post a picture of Chester online. There are pictures of our honeymoon. I wasn't posting. I wasn't, I mean Instagram wasn't around, but there was, she in the newspapers of us together with her, I was like somebody took my heart and grabbed it and ripped it out. And I felt the shutters coming down. I thought I trusted you and I was, you know, I'd let you back into my life and I'm going to put the fucking shutters down because you're not going to get fucking, I called up and I was like, what are you doing? She said, oh, it was the celebratory thing. You know that we'd gone to this meeting together. I said, nobody knew I was in the fellowship. I said, you go to the fellowship, you know it's an anonymous fellowship. It's not like you, you're new to it. You've been clean for a year. Like, what are you doing? I was so upset. And my sister, who had always felt a bit invisible, was not mentioned in the article once. And my mum hadn't said I've got another daughter or my daughter lives with, you know, Devina and Caroline live together or, nothing. She said nothing about her. Like, she was invisible. Her, her so much. She never spoke to my mum again, ever. From that moment. She was going to go over and see her in South Africa. They had a plane, a ticket booked and everything. And then she realized she probably bought the ticket with the money that she got because my mum didn't have any money. I was giving her money for medicines and things like that. She just was, they didn't have much money. And then I carried on giving her the money because I thought, who do I want to be when I die? Or when she dies, I want to have been the person that I respect. So I thought, I'm not going to pull the money and not give her her med. So I kept giving her the money. And then every now and again, she'd kind of reach back in. I'd think, oh my God, this is different than she'd do something else. She'd another story would come out. And in the end, I found out she was dying of cancer in South Africa. And I lay in bed in England one night and I had to use a sleep. And I put my hands out on top of the bed with my palms facing upwards. And I closed my eyes and I imagined shoots of light of forgiveness coming out of the palms of my hand, going across the world to South Africa, to Pretoria where she lived, and straight into her heart in the hospital. And I just kept saying, I forgive you for everything. I just totally fucking forgive you. I don't care anymore. I forgive you. Be going peace. And then me, my sister and my husband and our kids all went away for a wedding in America. And my sister and I got the news when we were together that she'd gone. And I looked at her and I said she's gone. And she was like, wow. And then we both had a little cry and then Caroline looked at me and she went, I feel relieved. And I said, why? Is that terrible? She went, I don't know. And I said, God, it's, it's, please don't let, and I said to her quietly then, please don't let me be a person that dies and anybody ever feels relieved about. Don't let me ever live that life. And Caroline said, me either. And Caroline definitely didn't. We were fucking broke him and she dies. So she achieved that. And I hope that when I go, I don't ever leave anybody feeling happy that I've gone. I'm not happy, but when she died, she freed me up to remember funny times as well as all of, when she was alive, I could only remember the bad and what I was missing. And when she died, you know, I was able to remember her being hilarious and arresting people drunk as the citizens arrest. Or things that were just funny. Did you go to her funeral? No. And again, will I regress it? No. We have a closing tradition on this podcast where the last guest asks a question for the next guest.

Audience Interaction

The last guest question (01:46:37)

And the question left for you, very good handwriting, is what makes you most angry about society? Council culture. Have you been on the receiving end of it? Yeah. When? I wrote a tweet about Sarah Everard's death when it was getting really nasty online about men. Yeah. And I said that abduction and death from abduction is very rare. And we don't need to completely panic about that situation. I wasn't talking about any other kind of things that happened to women. I wasn't talking about domestic abuse or any of the other awful things that happened to women. I was just talking about abduction and death from that. It is rare. And we just have to not start blaming all men. And I was thinking about my son. My son was really cut up about it. And he didn't know how to behave. He felt like the enemy suddenly. And I was trying to explain to him that he was, I said, you know, we've got brothers and husbands and kids that are worried. And what they want to help, that's not demonize all men. My God. Like, I got 200,000 likes. But I didn't see any of those. I just saw the 10,000 comments asking for me to be murdered or burnt at the stake or, you know, I'm a woman, hate her or I'm a hashtag not all men person. And, you know, I don't understand about domestic violence. They don't know anything about my life. You know, I've, like, I've lived a life and I've experienced a lot of really terrible things and many terrible things have happened to me. But I just didn't feel that this was the moment to attack all men because in life I have discovered that we need to come at life together, men and women, segregating everybody into groups, separate groups, separatist groups. I don't, I think it's anti society. We need to all work together and alienating people. An entire sex is not a good idea. You know, like, we need, you need to have our back and we need to have your back. I know lots of men that really changed their behavior after hearing about how frightened women are in the streets and, you know, like if they're walking towards a woman, just go, "I don't go out or cross over the road to walk on the other side." And maybe they didn't do that before. That's a good thing. Like, we need to commend that rather than, well, you know, if we weren't frightened of you in the first place, you wouldn't have to do that as you guys. You know, I just think there's got to be a more open conversation. Anyway, council culture. So, it's only happened to me once. I didn't take, take it down. I went to bed for a weekend and I was ashamed. I was ashamed and frightened to go to go shopping in my local supermarket. I didn't want to go out in town because I felt like everybody had read it and hated me. And then I read quite a few articles afterwards where they were saying, "No, completely understand where she was coming from. She was right." And I was thinking, "Oh, right." And so I kept the comment up there because I do stand by it. But I wish that I think my big mistake and the thing that I should apologise for is that I posted it three days after, four days after she died. And it was timing. My timing was shit. And it was way too soon. And I did, again, something that was really bad, a bad experience for me. I did learn something from it and I won't do that again. But I don't, I think cancelling somebody doesn't let somebody learn something and ruining someone's life, which happens a lot. Somebody's whole career gets finished. You're never letting them learn. The lesson. You've got to let them learn the lesson. Come back and give them the space to say, "I could have done it differently and I've learnt something." Yeah. So it's, I think it's a sad thing that, and also it means that often in the public domain, I won't say something that I think or believe in because I'm really frightened I'm going to get cancelled for it. And it might be something quite mundane or small or topic, but I think we'll best avoid that. I don't know how we change that. There are some people in our society who just don't give a fuck. You change that by stopping social media because for the 10,000 people that are verbalising how much they hate it, 200,000 liked it. Yeah. So they agree, but you only hear. And there'll be a lot of people who couldn't even like it, touch it. Yeah. Because of the fear of like, obviously it's going to come into your face. Because of the fear of getting cancelled. That was a lot. None of us are saying what we think or believe in. Or questioning something. You know, it's terrible when you can't question, "Oh, why are you doing that? Like, is that a good idea?" I mean, when we stop this podcast, I'm going to talk to you about a couple of things that actually at the moment, I think are interesting. But I can't, I can't form an opinion about it because I can't talk about it anywhere. I need to find somebody I can actually air it with, you know. Yeah. It'll get clipped and then it goes viral and it's terrifying, isn't it? It's crazy because we progress, it comes from that debate, the conversation, the questioning. All of our progress in society has come from that. A conversation, brave conversations with ideas that at their time were maybe denied or not believed in. But because of conversation and progress, because of the fearless nature of some people in our society, whether it's Martin Luther King or, you know, the suffragettes, whatever, things changed. And we can't do that anymore with the nature of the world, so. And so how things are going to change? There is, there are some amongst us, the brave ones who, who seemingly don't give a fuck. And they are taking all the arrows as they go. And we've got a like, yeah, it makes you, I'll press the space. Yeah. Yeah. But there are, you can think of those people. I'm just wondering like at what point, at what age am I going to get, because I've got a feeling I'm going to get to an age where I'm going to go fuck it. I feel like JK Rowling just kind of went through at one point. Yeah, but I feel like that is another story altogether. I was just about to enter into it. I thought, nope. Yeah. Yeah. Don't want to get cancelled. Yeah. Okay. We'll finish there. I want to thank you so much again. It's a real honor to meet you and have a conversation with you. And I hope we do this again sometime because I feel like we've got so much more to talk about. Yeah. God, me too. Well, we won't be cancelled. Thanks for having me. I've really enjoyed it. And thanks for letting me in to a bit of your life as well. It's been a nice tour. It's been a huge honor. And I've really, it's been a rare and rich conversation. Yeah. Because of your energy, but also because of your wisdom. So thank you. Oh. Thank you.

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