She’s the poised presence on the ITV Breakfast sofa, a controversial champion of early motherhood and the woman who kept it together in the face of some truly harrowing tales in a Syrian refugee camp.
As well as being one of the queens of breakfast TV, Kate Garraway is known for her stint presenting The Biggest Loser and for cuddling up to Channing Tatum – all in the name of work.
‘He was absolutely lovely,’ she gushed in an interview with MailOnline: ‘He’s just had a new baby and he was talking really sweetly about [his wife and child].
‘Most people are nice really,’ she adds. ‘My job is all about meeting people who, whether they’re the Prime Minister or Justin Timberlake, have all done something extraordinary.’
Garraway is no slouch in the out-of-the-ordinary stakes herself. At 46, she’s done and seen it all, from covering the signing of the Good Friday Agreement for the BBC to settling down on the GMTV sofa with Katie Price.
It would, you’d imagine, be near-impossible to shake that determined calm, although Garraway says since she became a mother, things have become a little more challenging.
‘There’s good and bad [days],’ she says, candidly. ‘It’s been a challenge this summer because the kids are off and I worked every day.
‘It has taken extreme organisation, and that’s something I’m really not good at! I wanted them to have good holiday but had to balance it with work too.’
Garraway’s children, seven-year-old Darcey and five-year-old Vinny, are the axis around which her world revolves and she made headlines recently when she revealed that she wished she had had them earlier.
Controversially, she also suggested that women should have children earlier, despite having her own at the ages of 38 and 42.
Speaking to Jenni Murray on the BBC’S Woman’s Hour, she added: ‘If I’d discovered motherhood earlier I’d have a huge brood. But I fell pregnant at 38 and 42. It was easy. But then when I tried for a third child and they told me I was 44, and I realised I was ignorant as to how lucky I was the first times.
‘We shouldn’t get into a panic. Nobody wants women marrying the wrong man or having babies when they aren’t ready, but you are hedging your bets if you leave it too late.’
Despite the controversy, she seems content and is happy to regale with anecdotes, including a morning spent struggling into Spanx while her bemused brood looked on.
‘I was getting ready them ready for school today and then I had to go straight off to meet the lovely Channing,’ she laughs.
‘I was in my Spanx though and all they [the children] were asking me was “What’s that?” I told them that they’ll understand they have two children.
‘There a lot of tricks nowadays, thank the Lord! And luckily, most people don’t expect you to look like a supermodel either.’
Here, she’s touched on an interesting topic. The TV world is notorious for shedding female presenters once they reach their 40s and 50s as former Countryfile presenter Miriam O’ Reilly alleged when she took the BBC to court for unfair dismissal. So does she feel under pressure to look good?
‘It’s strange because friends tell me there are these issues in TV but personally, I’m surrounded by women on and off screen who are older so haven’t come across it,’ she says.
‘You have got to deal with those things on a personal basis I think but then I look at the US where there are lots of amazing older women like [CNN’s] Christiane Amanpour and it makes you more hopeful.’
Even so, there’s surely still pressure to look good. Would she ever consider having Botox or surgery?
‘I’d never say never about any of those things. I have friends [who have had cosmetic work] who look amazing but I’ve also interviewed people who look terrible.
‘[Presenter] Fiona Bruce has said absolutely no and still looks amazing. Sometimes natural is best, although I’ve got a really thick fringe which is the coward’s way out!’
She might be a ‘coward’ when it comes to cosmeceuticals but she’s no softie when it comes to questioning the flow of politicians and A-listers that stream through the ITV studios.
‘I hope I’m always fair and if they did ask me not to mention something specific, I wouldn’t do it,’ she says of her sofa interviewing style. ‘It’s slightly different with politicians because questions you’re asking are about things that affect all our lives, so I sort of feel they deserve tougher questions.
‘Essentially, the whole point is to get a sense of what makes someone tick. I just want to get an answer and as long [the question] is fair then it’s fine.’
So what makes Garraway herself tick? ‘Caffeine and patriotism, sir! I’d really like to say that but it’s from a film called White House Down.
‘I think my family is obviously at my heart, because I’ve always wanted to have one, and my wider family. That would always be my first choice.’
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