Kate Garraway says she’s determined to stay positive after coronavirus lockdown forces her to delay wedding – The Sun
KATE Garraway was set to have her best year yet. At 52, the queen of breakfast telly rang in the new decade as the undisputed sex siren of I’m A Celebrity!, inspiring her love-struck husband of 15 years, Derek Draper, to propose for a second time just moments after they were reunited in the Aussie jungle.
Their daughter Darcey, 14, assumed the role of wedding planner, organising extravagant Kim and Kanye-style nuptials (complete with a fashion overhaul for Dad), so the couple could renew their vows in late August.
But, as Kate concedes on our shoot in east London before the current lockdown situation, coronavirus has crashed her wedding.
“We’d planned the wedding for the end of summer, but I don’t suppose we’ll be booking anything now because we don’t really know what we can do,” she says.
“Darcey’s taken control. She had big, big visions for the whole thing, and she was like: ‘Dad, this is the time to update your wardrobe, you can’t just wear polo shirts.’ She wants something very, very flamboyant for me as well, and also big numbers, so we’ll have to wait for that reason alone if we can’t all gather together.
“When Boris Johnson said: ‘People are going to lose loved ones before their time’, it was a powerful thing to say, because you instantly didn’t think of numbers and statistics, you thought of your loved ones. I feel better for being cautious. It feels like, day by day, the world is changing,” she says.
“The wedding is something wonderful to look forward to when this is all over. That’s what we’re trying to do – think of all the good things.”
Kate – who, as always, lights up our studio with her infectious smile and throaty laughter – was introduced to former Labour spin doctor turned psychotherapist Derek, 52, by a GMTV colleague back in 2004.
Within a year, the pair had married and while Kate admitted to trying a 14-day sex challenge to spice things up in 2017, he clearly hasn’t forgotten how to keep the romance buzzing.
“It was a little bit out of the blue,” says Kate of the proposal in Oz. “He very sweetly said that while he was watching me in the jungle, he fell in love with me all over again. I don’t know why because I looked like death warmed up, honestly.
“When I headed over the bridge, he came with my engagement ring in his pocket. I’d left it with him to avoid it being damaged with fish guts and whatever might get hurled at me.
“He burst into tears, then got down on one knee just off camera around the corner and proposed in front of our kids Darcey and Billy, and said: ‘Let’s renew our wedding vows.’
“It was so lovely. He’s always been very good at booking date nights, and I’m much worse than he is. On Saturday mornings, when Billy goes to dance class, he insists come hell or high water that we go for brunch on our own, so we talk about stuff that isn’t family.”
Those unmissable brunch dates will also have to be postponed, not just because of the C-word, but because Kate, who has become as much a staple of our morning routine as hitting the snooze button and knocking back caffeine, has landed a brand-new ITV show, Breakfast At Garraway’s, airing on Saturday and Sunday mornings over the summer from mid-April.
From her beginnings as a reporter on Sky News’ Sunrise to anchoring on GMTV, Daybreak and now Good Morning Britain, Kate says she has never felt more pressure to provide viewers with light relief.
“The show has got to be feel-good,” she says. “Everybody is locked down at home, so we’re going to have a few months of experiencing families like we’ve not had for a while. Everyone is going to be bundled around their TVs together, so the show needs to be joyous and fun.”
Renowned for lifting the nation’s spirits for almost 25 years, Kate is taking her presenting duties so seriously she has even had microphones installed in her family home in north London, so she can host her morning radio show on Smooth FM. She had the measures put in place after her GMB colleague Susanna Reid, 49, went into precautionary self-isolation last month when one of her household was struck down with coronavirus-type symptoms.
“I’m getting microphones installed, not because I’m ill, but in case there are issues with other people getting to the studio, then I can do it from home. It’s just all been a mad panic,” she says.
As coronavirus swept the nation, viewers were worried Kate had contracted the disease when she sounded croaky on Good Morning Britain.
She addressed concerns live on air, blaming her sore throat on “talking for 48 hours”.
“I don’t want to tempt fate, but so far, I’m good,” she says. “It’s loved ones that you can’t help but worry for. My dad is nearly 85 and my mum is in her late 70s. I’ve set up food delivery services, the milkman – you just have to put your strategies in place, don’t you? They’re in good health but you don’t want people to start feeling isolated and anxious and closing in on themselves.”
The pandemic has encouraged Kate, who over the course of her time at the top has interviewed every prime minister since Margaret Thatcher, to take time out to prioritise what’s most important.
The wedding is something wonderful to look forward to when this is all over. That’s what we’re trying to do – think of all the good things.
Her plan to get through the difficult weeks ahead is to: “Do the things at home you never get around to doing. For instance, how many people have got endless photos on their computer and phone that they never print off? We’re going to spend an afternoon going through the pictures of the kids and print them off and put them in albums, treasuring everything and reminding ourselves of the happy memories.”
Kate even suggests self-isolation could be a positive thing for those who, like her, are fit and well.
“If you’re not very ill, there could be moments where we pause a bit and do the things we’ve always meant to do, except the business of paying the mortgage gets in the way.”
Her reflective attitude hasn’t just been sparked by the current crisis. Last November, millions of viewers watched as Kate – fearless, flirty and funny – hurled herself into jungle life. She describes the experience as like “pressing the reset button” on her life, and says it was the turning point of her embracing her 50s.
“I think there is a tendency as you get older to feel like the world is closing down,” she admits. “When you’re in your 20s, you have a sort of natural sense that the world is opening up, that feeling you’re at the start of something, but with a little bit of bravery and focusing on what’s important to you, getting older can actually be exciting.
“I did stuff in the jungle I never even dreamed I could ever do. I’m not suggesting people walk off the side of planks, or swing in gale force winds to within an inch of their life, but pushing yourself a little bit to try new things, other than always choosing the safe option, and not worrying about failing, can give you a sense of new joy. I think that’s what we all need to be doing right now. It’s not necessarily going to come in the way that it did in our 20s, but focusing on the joy is the way to get through any crisis.”
Self-isolation won’t have Kate reaching for the biscuits, either.
She lost 1 1/2st in the jungle – who could forget her iconic I’m A Celebrity! shower moment in that red bikini? – and while she has put some of that back on now, she has stuck with the healthy principles of her enforced jungle diet, claiming it’s one of the best eating plans she has ever experienced.
“I have put on a little bit of weight since leaving the jungle, but I think it’s kind of a good thing,” she says.
Book you read? The Better Half by Sharon Moalem. A mind-opening celebration of women.
Album you listened to? An oldie – Reggatta De Blanc by The Police. My son loves it.
Box set you binged? The English Game on Netflix, which follows the FA Cup in the 19th century.
Movie you watched? The Marvel Avengers movies in order. We’re on Age Of Ultron.
WhatsApp you received? From a desperate home-schooling parent on my street, asking the group: “Anyone remember how to do fractions?”
“It was a lot of weight to lose in a short amount of time and I feel like having a bit more on my cheeks and face is no bad thing. I felt great. Of course, there’s all the disgusting things you have to eat, but you are eating incredibly well in there.
“There’s no tea, no coffee, no chemicals or preservatives. Everything is cooked from scratch and you’re drinking only water, so there’s no orange juice, which means you’re not having too much sugar. You’re eating very, very clean food – just probably not as much of it as you’d like.
“I’m so bad, putting lots of chilli oil all over everything, and flavourings, and drowning things in sauces. I forget the lovely stuff we can eat and just savour it as it is. If you do savour it and eat more slowly, then you can enjoy things in a different way, so I’ve been trying to do that. The children look at me a little weirdly when I’m sniffing my dinner, but they get it.”
Kate has also cut down her alcohol consumption for good after a routine liver test she had when doing Dry January two years ago showed such an improvement in her liver function, that her doctor said she had the liver of a four year old.
“I’m not drinking that much alcohol. I’m not banning it, but I just haven’t gone back to drinking loads since,” she says.
“I used to like lager, but I’ve got out of the habit and haven’t missed it. I like the idea of feeling cleansed – and the positive is when you do have a glass of prosecco or half a lager, you feel instantly fizzy, so it’s brilliant.”
Pre-coronavirus, Kate exercised with a personal trainer three times a week, while now she aims to go on a 20-minute walk round the local park if she can, and has been getting involved in Joe Wicks’ live PE videos on YouTube with the kids – her goal is to feel strong rather than have abs like Madonna’s.
But one way you won’t find Kate buffing up is by ballroom dancing. Reflecting on her 2007 Strictly Come Dancing stint with dance partner Anton du Beke, 53, where she finished in eighth place and received the lowest score from the judges in every week but one, she says: “Let’s just say, I don’t think they’re holding a place for me on the West End stage. Although, now it’s all shut down, maybe I should just turn up!”
Kate is still friends with Anton. She recalls how the ballroom star, who had twins George and Henrietta, three, with wife Hannah Summers in 2016, used to fear he had missed his opportunity to become a father.
“He was very sweet about Darcey. She was very little, about 13 or 14 months old, and he said: ‘Maybe it’s not going to happen for me.’ I’d say: ‘Don’t say that – you’ll be a great dad.’”
Kate wasn’t a young mum, either. She had Darcey at 39 and Billy, now 10, at 42, and has said if she’d started having kids earlier she would have ended up having 20.
She may not have been a natural on the dance floor, but that didn’t stop Strictly viewers from saving her week after week, with Kate proving she’s lost none of her popularity by finishing fourth in the jungle.
While 2020 might not be the year we all thought it would be, Kate is holding on to that fighting spirit that so endeared her to the public.
She’s now using Club Garraway, her recently launched wellbeing club, to help other people during the coronavirus crisis.
“People’s businesses will go under, people’s jobs will be changed forever, anidn’t had people of my age will suddenly be finding they dve the future they thought they had. We’ll all be affected by it in some way, so what I’m busy doing is putting together products and [free] training courses on everything from mindfulness to fitness to connection and community,” she explains.
“I think we’re all missing face-to-face contact, and we’re all feeling how hard it is. We’ve got to band together. Ido think life is a journey – that sounds ridiculously cheesy, doesn’t it?”
Maybe so, but we could all do with a bit of cheese right now.
- Watch Breakfast At Garraway’s, Saturdays and Sundays, 8.30am, ITV from April 18.
Hair: Dino Pereira using Kiehl’s Since 1851 Magic Elixir
Make-up: Aimee Adams using Sculpted by Aimee
Styling: Kate Barbou
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