'I take each day as it comes', Louise Redknapp on ex Jamie's wedding following claims she's struggling

"I FEEL happy,” Louise Redknapp declares. “I am,” she adds, in case there is any doubt. 

You’d be forgiven for thinking otherwise, given recent events. Over the past few weeks, the 47-year-old has had to endure endless speculation about her feelings after her ex-husband, former footballer Jamie Redknapp, 48, tied the knot with his pregnant partner, Swedish model Frida Andersson-Lourie, 38, in an intimate ceremony at Chelsea Registry Office in London last month.


Louise has been unashamedly honest about her regrets over ending her 19-year marriage to Jamie in 2017, following her stint on Strictly Come Dancing the year before. But while most of us would be playing the new Adele album on loop and diving into tubs of ice cream, Louise is adamant she’s absolutely OK, thank you very much. In answer to how she’s feeling at the moment, she says: “I take each day as it comes. I have no expectations in life. 

"I am really grateful that I’m surrounded by amazing friends. The most important thing is that they’re with you through good and bad. Everyone’s got good and bad times in their lives and you want people by your side through it all. I don’t want fair-weather friends.”

While Jamie has moved on, Louise has remained single – although, she says their two sons, Charley, 16, and Beau, 12, are encouraging her to get back out there. 

“Oh yeah, they always say: ‘When are you going to [date]?’ Dating just takes time. I do eight shows in five days [Louise is currently in 9 To 5: The Musical] and on my days off, going out and having a social life is not my priority. It’s being a mum and stocking up the fridge. All my boys care about is me being happy – whatever that is. 

“It sounds basic, but I’ve got two things that are really important to me right now: my kids, because I want to be a solid part of their life, and my work. Right now, that’s enough for me, I’m not saying forever. I’m learning to just be OK with myself. I’m not loving myself, but I’ve been OK. I’m getting there.”

Throughout the ’90s, Louise was famously the crush of many a teenage boy. She was named in lads’ mag FHM’s 100 Sexiest Women poll every year of its existence from 1996 to 2017, as well as  being crowned its Sexiest Woman of the Decade in 2004. But when asked if she has hordes of men sliding into her DMs asking for dates, she laughs incredulously.

“I’m old now! No, I don’t. I promise. I will even show you my phone,” she insists. 

“No one slides into my DMs, although to be honest, I don’t quite know how to look for them. Everyone assumes I’m inundated, but I’m not. Maybe I give off a ‘just leave me be’ vibe. I’m happy doing me right now.”

Or perhaps the lingering narrative that she’s still not over her ex puts men off. A quick Google of Louise’s name brings up endless stories speculating about how she is feeling about Jamie’s wedding. But rather than getting frustrated at everyone guessing at something she doesn’t want to comment on, she just shrugs it off as part of the job.

“I’ve been in this business a long time and I expect it if I’m going to a nightclub or if there’s something about me or to do with my life,” she says. “I don’t moan about that, because I signed up for that many years ago. And I appreciate that if you put yourself in the public eye, and if I want to come here and be on the front cover of a magazine, then people are going to have an opinion. It’s when it gets nasty and unnecessary that we fall down as a society. Whether you are in the public eye or not, social media has so much unkindness, which really shocks me even now. No matter how much we talk about pushing the positive, there’s always an undercurrent. In the public eye, it’s on a bigger scale, but it happens to other people, too. We have a responsibility to try to stamp that out.”

Heartbreakingly, Louise admits that the cruellest voice in her life is often her own.

“With the whole social media thing, I always say: ‘Listen guys, you can be as nasty as you want, but no one would beat me up more than me, so take your best shot.’ It’s really important not to speak badly to yourself, but it’s not always easy. It’s really hard to learn to love yourself. I haven’t learned it yet. I hope I don’t learn it too late in life. But I’m aware of it now, and before, maybe I wasn’t.

“I’m not good at investing time in myself. I’m not one of these women that lights candles and runs baths and puts a face mask on. There’s always something else to be getting on with.”

Instead, her me-time is exercise. 

“I do love Pilates. I feel I’m being proactive rather than moaning: ‘Oh, this dress looks crap on me.’ So I am doing something [for myself], but there’s always room for improvement.”

Previously, Louise had always shied away from discussing her private life. All that changed with the release of her book You’ve Got This: And Other Things I Wish I Had Known earlier this year, in which she gave a no-holds-barred account of her feelings about her body, crippling self-doubt and her mental health – including considering taking her own life after her marriage failure following her stint on Strictly. 

She writes in the book: “I want to say to anybody who is thinking of running: ‘Just slow down. Don’t run.’ Because once you run too fast, you can’t make up the ground you’ve lost.”

Even now, she says she “doesn’t regret” taking part in Strictly, but admits she struggled with “the circus that comes with it. That’s the tough part after. It was not always easy, but I got fit!” 

There were reports that Jamie’s family felt that Louise was too revealing about the break-up, but she still stands by every word of it.

“I’m good with what I said. I think you have to be honest, otherwise just don’t do it. And it was all about me, not anyone else. Some people love it, some people hate it. I didn’t say anything that I haven’t said in my songs in a roundabout way,” she says. 

“I don’t regret anything. We don’t always get it right in life – especially me. We all need to sit down and take stock a little bit. I found it hard being so personal, because I try to keep myself away from the glare as much as possible. With my kids, I have no worries. We’re so close, they know everything about me – good, bad and ugly. They’re my best friends in the world.”

It’s clear that Charley and Beau are her everything. Her face lights up as she talks about them, explaining that one has gone to play golf, while the other rings up to ask for money. She’s already “really worried” about them leaving home for good, particularly as the eldest is considering going to university in America next year.

'I DON'T REGRET ANYTHING'

“It’s really on my mind. I know I mustn’t stand in his way and I’ve got to encourage him. Whatever he decides to do, I’ll support him all the way. I’ve said: ‘Can you just go to New York? It doesn’t take long to get there!’ But knowing him, it will be the furthest away place.”

With the boys as her priority, she feels confident enough now to turn down jobs if they would interfere with her home life.

“It’s about getting the balance right – and I feel that I’m getting there, actually. I’ve become strong and believe in myself enough to go: ‘I can’t do that because I’ve got my boys and they need me.’ I don’t really worry so much now about pleasing other people,” she says. 

“Before, I’d say: ‘Oh, god, if I turn that job down, they won’t ask me again.’ I love working and it makes me so happy. But there’s no job that will be more important than my boys.

“My kids were in the front row [at 9 To 5: The Musical] last week. It was nice to have them there. They don’t take a huge amount of interest in what I do as I’m just their mum. For me, it’s really important that they see that I’m doing things that are for the three of us and are going to add to our life.”

With a career that’s spanned nearly 30 years, from member of girl band Eternal to solo star, TV presenter and fashion expert on ITV daytime show Lorraine, Louise has earned the right to be selective about the jobs she chooses, and to have confidence in her own judgement. On our photo shoot today, she checks each picture with forensic thoroughness, offering suggestions for different poses to the photographer.

“You can obviously see that I want things done right. I’m quite passionate about that. I want it to be the best it can be,” she says. “My kids say I’m controlling, but you’ve got to be. I’ve learned to back my opinion, whereas maybe 20 years ago I was very much dependent on other people. Now, I just think: ‘No, this could be better.’”

Louise admits she hasn’t always made the right decisions with her job – but, she says, it’s the failures that make you.

“I can cope with failing at something, because it’s normal. We all fail. No one ever got to the absolute top of their game without mucking up. You’ve got to fail to learn from your mistakes, to get to the good stuff.”

And the good stuff is certainly coming Louise’s way – new music is on the horizon for 2022, as well as working for the first time with Peacocks on selecting her own edit.

She explains: “I didn’t really know much about Peacocks, if I’m honest, and I don’t want my name on something that I don’t genuinely believe works. So I met with the team and I felt quite excited by them. I was really impressed by a lot of the pieces and I’m a big believer in fashion being affordable and the best quality. I’m really excited about the upcoming seasons. 

“I’ve never felt the pressure to be glam on the school run. I’m quite comfortable going out without make-up and with a ponytail. My eldest says I dress like a teenage boy! We share clothes, because they buy nice tracksuits and sometimes I borrow them. 

“But I did make a girlie pact with my friends that we were going to try to make a bit more of an effort and get more dressed up to go out – but I don’t know where to start.”

'MAKE BIT MORE OF AN EFFORT'

Louise will have to get her glad rags on next year when she gets back on the road to tour, with a possible reunion with her former band mates, Kelle Bryan and sisters Easther and Vernie Bennett, also on the cards.

“I’ve still got the blue PVC catsuit from Top Of The Pops [performing solo hit Naked in 1996] in the garage. I don’t think I could get it on now, but I might try to squeeze into it for a fancy-dress night out. Lots of the guys in the theatre tell me that they grew up watching the Naked video, but my sons would have no understanding of it and would think I’d just made a bad fashion choice!

“Next year will be 30 years since my first song, so I’ll have a big celebration with new music and re-record some of the Eternal stuff. Will we get back together? That’s the million-dollar question. I’d love to do something with the girls, but it’s about timing. I don’t think any of us would just go on tour to make a quick buck, but I always think that the right time might just arrive for us.”

As well as music, Louise is keen to move into production and do more theatre. She’s in talks about developing two iconic films into stage shows – though her lips are sealed, as she says she would be “killed” if she named them – and it’s clear her future looks bright.

“I don’t know where my life’s gonna take me over the next 10 years, but I’m actually really bloody excited about it. I’m looking forward to what might come my way and seeing what happens. 

“The number one for me is work hard, be a good person, make sure my boys are happy. I can’t ask for much more than that.” 

  •  Louise Redknapp The Edit is available now from Peacocks (Peacocks.co.uk).



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