The end of a relationship is never easy at any age, as Anna Richardson knows. The 51-year-old TV host talks candidly about the agonies of breaking up in later life. “No one can ever prepare you for it,” she tells us.
“Even when it happens a handful of times in your life, you never quite get used to it.”
The friendly and approachable Anna first caught the public eye as a presenter on Channel 4 ’s The Big Breakfast before making a name for herself in popular diet shows Supersize Vs Superskinny and Secret Eaters.
She has also fronted daring programmes such as The Sex Education Show and Naked Attraction, in which she tackles sex and dating.
When we catch up with her, it’s hard to resist her infectious energy. She even gives us advice about our own love life – after all, not everyone can matchmake nude strangers on national TV with such self-possession and aplomb.But Anna has been single since her split from former Great British Bake Off host Sue Perkins last summer.
Both the presenters, whose relationship had lasted about seven years, were said to be “devastated” after going their separate ways.
Anna says, “I suppose I don’t know whether you become more resilient as you get older, but heartbreak definitely is still that mystery that needs to be solved, and how to get over it and become stronger.”
Looking back, the Changing Rooms host says she wishes she’d had more faith in herself as a teenager.
“Don’t worry so much” is the advice she would give 16-year-old Anna.
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“Don’t care so much about what other people think and I’d probably say, ‘You’ve got more strength than you realise’.”
Anna also talks about the biggest challenge she has faced so far: coming to terms with getting older.
“I was thinking about this earlier on, and you know what? Honestly, it’s been ageing, and hitting 50,” she confesses.
“We all used to get really hung up about hitting 40. I’m telling you – wait until you get into your late forties, early fifties.”
Anna believes such milestones can make people stop and question their life decisions. “You hit the menopause, you start thinking, ‘Am I in the right marriage?’ And for a lot of my friends, who are going through divorces, you start thinking, ‘Oh God, I forgot to have children. What now?’ It’s a really fundamental and visceral realisation [if you haven’t had children] that, ‘Oh my God, I can’t do that any more.’ Even if I wanted to.”
She admits to feeling “slow, inexorable dread” when she thinks about the future.
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