Kelly Brook is in fine spirits and clearly delighted to be outdoors when we catch up with her. As she takes in the fresh air after a difficult year of lockdowns, the keen gardener says, “Being outside gives me serenity. It makes me feel connected and grounded.”
Another thing that has helped keep Kel, 41, happy is her pooch, Teddy. The excitable pup she and partner Jeremy Parisi, 35, are the proud parents of has recently turned one. “I have to say, I can’t imagine life without him now!” she beams.
And Teddy isn’t the only guy who has her smiling. Clearly besotted with her Italian beau of six years, Heart Radio presenter Kelly reveals, “They say when you’re in love there’s not enough time – and I agree with that. It’s flown by.”
Although the pair are stronger than ever, the actress says marriage and children just aren’t “on her radar”.
“It’s very hard to change your ways when you get to your forties and I don’t think it’s for everyone,” she explains.
Here, former model Kelly opens up about her “kind and laid-back” boyfriend, the reasons she supported this year’s Garden Day, and why she’s proud to have made it through “the most stressful year anyone’s ever known”…
Kelly, you and Jeremy seem really smitten! Did lockdown strengthen your relationship?
We had our moments, as it’s very intense living together and not doing what you usually do. But we did a lot of fun things as well, like movie nights in the garden, lots of Saturday-night fakeaways, where we re-created takeaway food. We actually made more of an effort to get on. Now we’re being lazy, going to work and coming home again and not doing as much fun stuff as we did in lockdown. However, we went to the pub recently and that was really nice.
There were rumours you’re planning to propose to Jeremy. Is that true?
There are constant rumours about me getting engaged or married, but no, I’ve got no plans to at the moment. I’ve got a bucket list and I have to say a wedding is not on it [laughs]!
As a woman in your forties, are you annoyed at being constantly asked about children?
I feel like marriage and children are not things I’ve wanted. I like travelling and being with my partner, I like animals, working and being independent, and I like my freedom. I like being spontaneous! There are so many things I love, I think marriage and children would stop me doing them. I try to imagine how it would be, and when you have children it’s a huge commitment. It’s very hard to change your ways when you get to your forties and I don’t think it’s for everyone. I’m not saying never, it’s just not on my radar. I think about it every now and again, then I quickly forget about it.
I just don’t have that instinct.
What is it about your relationship with Jeremy that makes you feel so secure and happy?
He’s laid-back, he’s a good cook and he’s kind. He’s got so many things I love about him. We’re just really happy with each other. I’m sure we get on each other’s nerves sometimes but he’s just a nice guy. It’s not that hard. Also, he’s not overly ambitious. That can be a turn-off when a guy’s constantly away working and putting work before his family. Jeremy will always put me before his work and that is what’s made us stay together.
He’s also a keen actor. Would you like to work together on a project?
Yeah! We do help each other shoot a lot of our campaigns for social media. I’m like his Instagram wife and he’s my Instagram husband. Every picture you see of me is usually taken by Jeremy.
How have you found the past year?
I’ve never worked so hard! I moved to London two years ago to focus on my career. Living on a farm in the countryside [in Kent], it really does suck you in and become all-consuming. It’s constant work. As much as it was my hobby, my hobby was taking over my life and I was trying to balance the two. I was carrying out a lot of work on This Morning doing garden segments, but I love showbiz, acting and radio, and to do those things I needed to be based in London. Then all of a sudden, when the pandemic hit, I was a key worker, because I worked in broadcast [on Heart Radio]. I had to work every day and set up a home studio, which is challenging on so many levels, but I really enjoyed it and I was grateful to work through it. I’m so happy we’re getting back to a bit of normality.
What have been the highs and lows of lockdown?
My ultimate low was doing too much online shopping – I wasn’t very popular in my house for the amount of boxes my boyfriend had to break down. A high was getting my dog, Teddy. He was a lockdown puppy. And what a perfect time to have a dog – I have to say, I can’t imagine life without him now.
How are your forties treating you?
Once you hit 40, you’re very accepting of yourself. You look around and give yourself a pat on the back and think you’ve made it. I’m still here and I’m still doing what I love. I’ve got a nice partner, I’ve got a cute dog, I’ve got my health and I’ve made it through the most stressful year that anyone’s ever known. For all of those reasons, I’m just so grateful to still be here and to be keeping going.
What do you wish you could tell your younger self?
It’s a privilege to get old – it’s not a given. Just appreciate the life you have, don’t wish it away. And try to be in the moment as much as you can.
You look amazing and have always been proud to be natural. What do you make of young girls getting surgery and Botox?
It’s hard to have a view on it and I can only speak for myself. I don’t judge anyone who Has work done, because people have it for so many reasons, whether it’s to boost self-confidence or they’re conscious of something.
For me and my job, people are so used to me looking a certain way it would be odd if I did anything extreme. I steer away from any fillers or injectables, because I wouldn’t look like me. I’m happy with how I look. I’m getting older and I’m embracing it.
What would you love to do next, career-wise?
I’m more focused on my lifestyle than I am on my career. I’d love more animals and I’d like to spend a bit more time gardening. My dream is to have a house in a rural setting but near the beach, and renovate something like that. And have a few more dogs, go for nice walks and learn to cook!
You were part of Garden Day this year – why did you want to join in?
I think it’s lovely to promote Garden Day. It was a really good opportunity for people to stop and see what’s going on with nature. It’s been such a stressful year, and as things start to get back to normal, we don’t want to lose touch with what we all learned in lockdown – the need to slow down and the walks in nature that kept us all going. The beauty of acknowledging Garden Day is even if you don’t have a garden, just go out and have a walk in the park or put in some window [flower] boxes and take it all in. It’s so beneficial for your mental health and your wellbeing.
What benefits does gardening bring to you?
Being outside and gardening brings me serenity. I love to breathe in the fresh air, walk on grass with bare feet and nurture things. It makes me feel connected, grounded and gives me a sense of wellbeing that nothing else does.