FRANKIE Bridge is a girl’s girl. Having been in The Saturdays since she was 18, she loves being around other women and knows more than most how unhelpful it is for women to pit themselves against each other.
Recently, rumours have emerged of a huge falling-out between Frankie’s Loose Women colleagues Coleen Nolan and Nadia Sawalha, as well as some of the other panellists.
Reports say Nadia and others refuse to appear on the show at the same time as Coleen, though the 56-year-old singer has vehemently denied it.
While Frankie isn’t embroiled in the row, she admits the rumours of bitchiness that dog the ITV daytime show worried her ahead of joining the panel last February, and explains how frustrating it is that it detracts from the show’s successes.
“My friends asked me about [the rumoured rows],” she says.
“I genuinely don’t experience it or see it. When I first went on the show, I was nervous because I’ve read about all these feuds. I think it’s sad that this doesn’t happen on something like [Sky comedy show] A League Of Their Own with a group of men. It’s just not mentioned.
“And coming from a girl band, it’s exactly the same thing. Everyone always wants women to fight and it’s a real shame that it undoes all the good that Loose Women does. While we laugh and talk about silly subjects, we also talk about really important subjects.
“I get on [with everyone]. There’s not one person that I would say: ‘Don’t put me on with them.’ Even during a heated debate on the show, during the break everyone’s fine. So I don’t know if it’s true or not, but I’ve just never experienced it. I get on really well with Coleen.”
Chatting from her home over Zoom in mid-January, Frankie is sitting in front of a Christmas tree – still up after Covid scuppered her festive plans.
“It’s bad luck [keeping the tree up after January 6], but I’m having my family Christmas Day on Saturday [January 15] and I wasn’t allowed to take it down until that happens. The kids are so excited to do it all again. They’re asking: ‘Do we get more presents?’” she says.
“I was supposed to be spending Christmas with all my family, including my sister Victoria and her twins [Sonny and Rafferty, 15 months], but they all got Covid. So we’re having a fake Christmas. Mum makes the best mince pies, so we will have those, and I’ve still got crackers, so there will be hats and jokes.”
She has already had an exceptional Christmas gift from her husband of almost eight years, ex-footballer Wayne, 41 – a trip to the Maldives to celebrate coming third on I’m A Celebrity! at Gwrych Castle in Wales in December.
“It was my Christmas present from Wayne. I kept saying after the castle that I just wanted to be somewhere hot and on an island with just them [Wayne and her sons Parker, eight, and six-year-old Carter] and so he booked it for me as a surprise.
“I find the time between Christmas and New Year really difficult. You don’t know whether you’re supposed to be in pyjamas, eating mince pies or on some detox diet. You’re all over the place. And every year I say to Wayne: ‘Can we go away?’ But it’s always super-expensive and then with Covid, we haven’t been able to do it.
“We were supposed to go away on December 30, but we thought: ‘F*** it,’ and brought it forward. We were here for Christmas morning then we left in the afternoon. I love a traditional Christmas and we do the same thing every year so it was cool to do something different.”
As for New Year, Frankie is definitely not a fan.
“I hate New Year’s Eve!” she says.
“I never make resolutions because I never stick to them and it puts a lot of pressure on me. I find January hard. Nothing really happens. I do like the newness of a new year, but even that’s hard with Covid to go: ‘New Year is going to be great.’ Because we said that last year…”
January is also her birthday month – she turned 33 last Friday, but celebrated with dinner with friends rather than a big bash.
“It’s the worst time to have a birthday! No one’s got any money, everyone’s doing Dry January, everyone’s fed up,” she says.
“It does bother me, getting old, and it really annoys me that it does. I’m only 33 – I know it’s not old, but I just hate that I’m getting more into my 30s. It reminds me of when I was a kid, hearing people mention their 30s and thinking: ‘God, you’re old!’
“But then there are people like my friend Lisa Snowdon, who is 50 and doesn’t look it. When someone said they were 50 back in the day, they would seem so old, but she seems so young.”
While she might not be making any resolutions, Frankie has decided to try manifesting – the popular self-help practice of focusing your thoughts on your desired outcome with the purpose of “attracting” them to become a reality – after reading pal Roxie Nafousi’s bestselling book Manifest: 7 Steps To Living Your Best Life.
“There are loads of things I want to do and not even necessarily career-wise,” Frankie says. “I’m always wanting to learn and grow. I’m quite hard on myself. I would like to learn a different way of talking to myself and how to be kind to myself. I’d like to have some kind of plan in my head. I don’t even know if I fully believe in it, but I want to see if it works for me.”
After Frankie turned down a glass of champagne on the final of I’m A Celebrity!, fans were fixated that the mother of two may be “manifesting” a new baby.
“I’m always broody, but it doesn’t mean I’m gonna have one – and Wayne definitely doesn’t want another. I like the idea of it, but the reality is different. I’m not fussed about [having a girl]. Would it be nice to have a girl, to experience it? Yes, of course, but I don’t have this big yearning.
” And things get confusing when you’ve got more than two children – cars are a nightmare and I’ve only got two hands. It stresses me out, the thought of putting someone else into our calendar.”
There’s clearly not a dull moment in the Bridge household – during our interview, Parker comes into the room and makes the yappy hand gesture behind his mum’s back to suggest she’s talking too much.
“He’s a monkey,” she laughs.
“I don’t think I’m a cool mum, but Carter thinks it’s cool that I’m on TV. Parker doesn’t. When I was on I’m A Celebrity!, Carter religiously watched it and Parker didn’t. He had no interest. They had the voting app on their iPads, and Carter voted for me and Parker didn’t because he wanted me to come home.”
Frankie started her career aged nine, auditioning for TV shows and adverts, before getting her big break at 12 as a member of S Club Juniors, and it looks like her youngest son Carter could follow in her footsteps.
“He’s so funny. He wants to be a YouTuber and live in a hotel. But then he’s so conscious about the environment. He gets really angry if there’s a bit of plastic in the sea, and I get told off if I leave the tap running while I’m cleaning my teeth.
“I wouldn’t steer him away [from being a YouTuber] if it’s what he wanted to do, but I’m not pushing him towards it. YouTube is not my era. There are people that have millions of followers and live in mansions and have this whole life and yet I don’t know them.
“When people say: ‘Wasn’t it hard for you being famous so young?’ I’m like: ‘No, because I had none of that [social media].’ I didn’t know what people thought of me. I didn’t have the pressure of having to post. I was just as naive as any other kid. I suppose they’re not now.”
It’s not just social media that Frankie’s son would have to navigate if he did make it big – there’s also cancel culture, which she admits is a massive worry.
“Even in And Just Like That…, the Sex And The City reboot, the characters are having to re-learn the right things to say. In one way, it’s a great thing that we’re all having to learn and we’re very aware. But then we’re going into really dangerous territory.
“We were brought up that if you make a mistake, you say sorry and try to rectify it. But now, if you mess up once, there’s no coming back from that. And I think that’s a really scary place to be. So I worry about the boys in that way. I get nervous about it [for me], but I’m more nervous about the younger generation, because I think there’s enough pressure on them already.”
Frankie is also preparing herself for her sons telling her off for her risqué outfits, after Carter scolded her on holiday for wearing short shorts.
“I don’t really wear anything short, but when we were away I had this pair of shorts and I thought: ‘I’ve got a tan, no one knows me,’ so I put them on. Then Carter said: ‘Mummy, that’s a bit short, I don’t think you should wear that.’ He chose a dress instead and took it really seriously. He’s six and I’ve got so many more years of him saying: ‘Don’t wear that!’”
Considering how amazing Frankie looks, it’s no wonder she’s partnered up with Results Wellness Lifestyle (RWL) to release her first online fitness programme, Results With Frankie – Health & Happiness, which focuses on exercise, nutrition and wellbeing.
“I usually have a real PT, as I need someone shouting at me, because I don’t enjoy working out. But with the first lockdown, I knew I had to do something for my mental health. I signed up to RWL for dance classes and I loved it. It’s time when I don’t think about anything else. It’s my me-time.
“So I said: ‘Hell, yeah’ when they asked me to do a programme. It got me back into enjoying working out and being consistent. It’s not about losing weight and feeling like a failure. It’s called health and happiness because, genuinely, it’s about that. And there is not a burpee to be seen, because I refuse to do them!”
While Wayne likes to spend “hours” in the gym, Frankie only ever exercises for 30 minutes at a time, which must seem like a walk in the park after the rigours of I’m A Celebrity!.
“[The show] is really difficult, and I knew it would be hard,” she says.
“But you feel so secluded. I could deal with being cut off from the world if I could just talk to Wayne and the kids. That, for me, was the hardest part.”
But she says the experience has reignited her childish side, admitting that the drain of life and parenting had stopped her having fun.
“I really regressed back to childhood!” she says.
“It was nice to be in a situation where I had no responsibility and could really be myself. I talk a lot about serious things like mental health but I’m quite a silly person. I didn’t realise that until I went in there.
“Then I thought: ‘How am I gonna go home and be a parent again?’ I wanted to bring that silliness into the home. When you’re a working parent it’s: school, homework, dinner, bath, bed, school again. I don’t get to be fun mum that often and I really want to be fun mum. I’m only 33 and I want my kids to experience my fun side.
“I’m A Celebrity! is a bit like childbirth. At the time, it’s really hard and then afterwards: ‘Oh my god, that was amazing. Can we do it again?’”
In the make-up chair with Frankie
What are your skincare heroes?
I’ve got polycystic ovary syndrome and it causes spots. I use ZO Skin Health products and I love Puromist Spray if I’ve been working out because it’s antibacterial.
What are your make-up bag essentials?
Elizabeth Arden Eight Hour Cream – I have a pot in every handbag and in the car like a comfort blanket.
What’s your best budget buy?
Max Factor Full Lash Effect mascara is amazing.
What is your top beauty tip?
When I was in the castle, I used my toothbrush and soap to tame my brows.
What do you splurge on?
I love a facial from my friend Michaella Bolder. She does these amazing facials where she massages in your mouth and it lifts your cheekbones and jaw.
Who is your beauty icon?
Jessica Alba is always effortless.
https://www.thesun.ie/fabulous/8249226/frankie-bridge-sons-skimpy-outfits/ My sons always tell me off for my skimpy outfits, they were mortified by my short shorts on holiday, says Frankie Bridge