There’s an irony to the fact that Kelly Brook, the woman famous for her traffic-stopping curves, is now happiest working on the radio, where people can’t see her face or fabulous figure.
She was once voted sexiest woman in the world, and the Best Bikini Body ahead of Jennifer Lopez. Readers of glossy fashion magazine, Grazia, also named her — and not the waif-like stars you might imagine — as Best British Female Body.
It doesn’t stop there. In 2016, researchers at the University of Texas declared that Kelly had the world’s most perfect figure, being ‘completely natural and scientifically perfect’. You get the picture. It’s a body that’s earned her an estimated £7 million fortune.
But with the fame came what she considers to be a great deal of unfair judgment about her and her lifestyle.
Kelly Brook, 41, (pictured) who lives in Kent, was once voted sexiest woman in the world, and the Best Bikini Body ahead of Jennifer Lopez
In 2018, for example, she joined ITV daytime panel show Loose Women and was vilified on Twitter by the show’s viewers when she said that some working mothers used their children as an excuse for not doing their jobs properly.
She reveals: ‘The trouble with Loose Women is that the panel can’t all have the same opinion. I was always on that show as the childless, glamorous one. It didn’t work.
‘Most people sitting at home watching have got children — and I didn’t have the same life as that audience. I was always going to be the unpopular one.
‘I felt there was so much negativity aimed towards me. I would come off air and I’d go on Twitter — and see the things people were saying about me. Loose Women wasn’t for me. I gave it a shot but I didn’t like it and I don’t think the audience liked me either.’
Her afternoon show for Heart Radio is a different story entirely. ‘When you do radio they just hear you and if you’re telling a story and making people laugh — they’re not visualising you, they’re absorbed by what you say. I get such positive feedback from the radio compared to telly because people can’t see me.’
What, I wonder, does it say about the modern world — and social media in particular — that this woman with such a perfect body would rather hide away from the gaze of other women?
Today, Kelly, 41, is a summery vision in a canary yellow sundress by F&F for Tesco (with whom she has an endorsement deal). She’s glowing following a recent holiday to Majorca, during which, she says, she refused to diet.
She grabs a barely there roll of tummy fat telling me: ‘Look at that, that’s Aperol Spritz and rosé, all good intentions go out of the window when I go on holiday.’
Kelly (pictured), who is now a trim size 12, said comfort eating during lockdown caused her weight to creep up
Now a trim size 12, she’s yo-yoed in weight over the past few years, at her heaviest creeping up to a size 16. Immediately, the jibes appeared online about her being ‘unsexy’ and ‘past it’.
At one stage reality star Katie Price even branded her a ‘heifer’ — perhaps hoping for a public slanging match which Kelly, wisely, refused to be drawn into.
She says: ‘I finished my show (American sitcom One Big Happy) in LA. I was super fit and then I moved back here four years ago to the countryside, to my farm in Kent, and I stopped thinking about what I looked like.
‘I started living what I call my “Ma Larkin life”. I had ducks, beehives, I was cooking every day — huge roast dinners — and going to the pub and I really piled on the pounds. It didn’t help that I was also living with an Italian for whom food is religion.’
She was approached by SlimFast for whom she’s a brand ambassador, and with the help of their shakes and snack bars, managed to lose 21 lb.
But, and it’s a story we’re all painfully familiar with, lockdown hit, comfort eating kicked in and the weight crept back on.
Loose Women wasn’t for me. I gave it a shot but I didn’t like it and I don’t think the audience liked me either
‘In lockdown I went a little crazy,’ she laughs. ‘I bought a pizza oven, and we did Friday night fakeaways where I made doner kebabs. I even bought an ice cream machine for goodness sake and started churning my own. During lockdown I went to the fridge more than I should have done and I put a lot back on.’
Majorcan holidays aside, she’s now back on track. She has a shake or smoothie for breakfast and uses SlimFast chocolate bars to get her through her afternoon dip.
‘A lot of us now are thinking about pressing reset after the most awful year and it’s OK to think about yourself more — we’re getting our lives back. It will be a shame to not start that new life looking the best you can.
‘I’ve never hated who I am, and I do embrace my bigger size. I don’t want to be like I was in my 20s — I couldn’t if I tried, my metabolism has slowed right down — but I’m also aware things can get out of hand and I do have that body type where I can gain weight quickly.
Kelly said she feels happiest as a size 10 to 12 because her boobs get too big when she’s edging up to a size 16. Pictured: Kelly with Jeremy Parisi
‘If I don’t watch it then I creep up to a size 14 or 16, but a size 10 to 12 is where I feel my happiest. My boobs get too big when I’m edging up to a size 16.’
Those famous (entirely natural) 34FF boobs were what launched her into the world of glamour modelling, after winning a beauty contest her mother Sandra entered her into when she was just 16. She modelled full-time from the age of 18, attracting big money deals from brands including New Look, Reebok and Sketchers.
It amuses her now that she was branded ‘curvy’ at the time.
‘I’m curvy now! When I was modelling I was tiny. I was a stick with t**s. But my modelling career was in the 1990s when the waif look was in — so I did look bigger compared to everyone else.’
In lockdown I went a little crazy and put on a lot of weight. My 34FF boobs get too big when I edge up to a size 16!
These days, long walks with her dog, a Cavapoo called Teddy, is the only exercise she regularly takes, declining to join her fitness-obsessed boyfriend on one of his ten-mile runs. ‘Oh god, the chaffing, can you imagine,’ she says, pointing to her chest and laughing.
The boyfriend in question is Italian-born, French-raised model and martial arts expert Jeremy Parisi, 34, who she’s been with for six years.
A quick glance at her Instagram, where she has 1.3 million followers, shows a ridiculously photogenic couple living a seemingly idyllic life, enjoying dog walks, holidays and lots of cake baking.
‘He’s a lovely guy,’ she says. ‘He’s very chilled and laid back. We get on so well and he makes me happy. It works and he’s not bad to look at either. No drama.’
Kelly’s first fiancé was action hero Jason Statham (pictured left), whom she dated for seven years, she then moved on to Titanic actor Billy Zane (pictured right) but split with him in 2007
Drama was in big supply during the heady days of her 20s and 30s, where she was engaged to four men. The first fiancé was action hero Jason Statham, whom she dated for seven years and lived with in Hollywood. Kelly recently said that Statham was ‘skint’ when they dated — though he’s now worth a cool £50 million.
She moved on to Titanic actor Billy Zane but called off the wedding and split with him in 2007. At the time she was appearing on Strictly Come Dancing — and favourite to win — when her dad, Ken, a builder, died of cancer and she pulled out of the show.
Later, explaining the end of her relationship with Zane, she said he resented her putting her dying father before him.
A volatile on-off relationship with rugby player Danny Cipriani for nearly three years followed, before she got together with another rugby star, Thom Evans, to whom she also got engaged.
She was with Evans when she suffered a devastating miscarriage of a baby girl at 23 weeks. The final fiancé was David McIntosh, a former Royal Marine turned TV Gladiator, who proposed after 11 weeks of dating. Three months later it was over.
I’m so glad that the #MeToo movement happened . . . powerful men got away with so much
It was a crazy period in her life that, in her 40s, she can now make sense of. ‘Everything I was trying to do in my 30s made me really unhappy and I was saying, “Why hasn’t that relationship worked?” ’ she says. ‘“Why am I attracted to all these bad boys; why do I repeat these patterns?” ’
‘I realised that I was going for people I didn’t want to settle down with. Maybe it was the good sex, maybe it was because they were in another country and I loved to go and visit them — but it wasn’t because I wanted them to be the father of my children or marry them.
‘They were giving me what I needed and wanted in that moment.
Kelly said before dating Jeremy (pictured), she wasn’t ready to chill and settle down
‘It’s OK for a young woman to run around getting kicks and giggles as and when she wants. But for some reason we’re so judged. I definitely felt judged but men do it all the time.
‘I’ve been with Jeremy for six years, but before that I wasn’t ready to chill and settle down.’
Reports she wanted to make Jeremy fiancé number five and proposed to him, only to be turned down, are not true she insists.
‘I love my boyfriend, I love my job, my garden, my freedom, I love to travel. The things that have made me happy now aren’t the things I thought would make me so in my 30s.
‘It’s more difficult to have children after 40, I know that. But if it’s something you don’t really want to do, it’s OK. I didn’t really want to have children. I didn’t want to get married and that’s OK. It’s OK to say that now.’
Work is important to Kelly and unlike other glamour models she’s been smart with her money.
‘I invest in stocks, shares, Isas, property and pensions. I want to make sure my future is secure, I’d hate to have nothing to show for it at the end. I’ve got good, smart, financial people around me.’
As well as her partnership with SlimFast and clothing range with F&F, Kelly does the occasional modelling job, but isn’t keen to dip her toe back into the shark-invested waters of Hollywood and acting.
Kelly (pictured) said the #MeToo movement is a sensitive subject, and if you speak out about the women who didn’t come forward, then you’re victim shaming
She says: ‘I loved doing my sitcom but . . . no, what I didn’t like was never knowing what you’d be dealing with — who you’re working with, where you’d be, how the director would be with you. It just stressed me out too much. The last film I did I was in Indonesia, and I didn’t want to be there. I had to stay eight weeks and I hated it.’
There’s also the matter of the predatory types who prey on young actresses and who were called out by the #MeToo movement. In 2017, it was reported convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein — in court last week facing another 11 counts of rape and sexual assault — developed an ‘unhealthy obsession’ with Kelly after casting her in the film Piranha 3D.
But when #MeToo first hit the news, Kelly initially tweeted her anger towards the powerful women in the industry who knew it went on but turned a blind eye towards it. ‘You put others at risk,’ she wrote, branding disgraced film producer Harvey Weinstein ‘a beast’.
Today she is more reflective.
‘It’s such a sensitive subject, and if you speak out about the women who didn’t come forward, then you’re victim shaming. I’m still trying to figure it all out myself. Did I come across stuff like that?
‘To a degree I did. It was always like that in my career, always powerful men that got away with so much. I can’t say that I was ever in any really compromising situation . . . but I could have been. I was always smart enough to remove myself from anything like that. But I knew it went on. There are a lot of women that knew it was going on and had much more of a voice than someone like me.
Kelly (pictured), who is content with her radio show in London, said she has no meltdowns about being 40 because she’s still working and doing what she loves
‘But if people like Salma Hayek and Gwyneth Paltrow weren’t able to come forward and speak about it at the time, what does that say about the life they’ve had in Hollywood? We were seeing them on the red carpet, winning Oscars, but behind the scenes they were going through all these battles.
‘If they couldn’t handle it, then how would someone like me — fresh off the boat from England to Hollywood — deal with it? Struggling actresses who just want a slither of that success?
‘I’m so glad that movement happened. If I had a daughter and she wanted to go to Hollywood ten years ago, I’d have told her: “No way.” ’
She adds pointedly: ‘I wasn’t a success in Hollywood was I? Why was that? OK, I’m not a great actress, but it doesn’t matter, let’s be honest. I’m sure if I’d played the game I’d have been in a few more movies.’
These days she’s content with her radio show in London and her ‘Ma Larkin’ life in Kent, and approaching midlife holds no fear.
‘I’m in a good relationship with a nice job, a nice house. I’m happy with my life. I’ve done a lot of things and not everything has been successful.
‘There’s been a lot of heartbreak along the way. But I made it to my 40s and I’m still working and doing what I love — what a privilege, so no meltdowns about being 40 from me.’
KELLY BROOK, now 41, reveals: Why I’m no longer chasing marriage, babies… or a super skinny body SourceKELLY BROOK, now 41, reveals: Why I’m no longer chasing marriage, babies… or a super skinny body