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воскресенье, 15 января 2017 г.

Funny, friendly and frank, How Clean Is Your House? star Kim Woodburn

Funny, friendly and frank, How Clean Is Your House? star Kim Woodburn confided in me about her difficult childhood and how she's finally found happiness.
Kim Woodburn's brutal childhood left a scar that will never heal. Unloved by her mother, she fell pregnant in her early 20s and revealed last year how she delivered her premature stillborn son alone and buried his tiny body in a Liverpool park. She had to relive the trauma in detail recently when the incident was investigated by the police.
Yet Kim, a tall, imposing platinum blonde, is full of warmth. You can't help but like her - she's experienced more pain in her 64 years than many of us ever will, but she's still capable of fun and laughter.
Like me, Kim had been unlucky in love, falling for the wrong men in a futile attempt to fill the void left by her childhood, until she met Peter, her husband of 27 years. We hit it off immediately after she says she wouldn't trust me near him because I'm a trollop.
A couple of hours, much laughter, compliments and insults later, we agree she should be my honorary mum - who could ask for anyone better?
Kim, tell me about the darkest night of your life - saying goodbye to your son.
Yes, the sadness doesn't go away, as I describe in my book. I was pretty ignorant about my condition. I was embarrassed about being pregnant. To be an unmarried mother in the Sixties carried a terrible stigma.
At the time, I was living in a house in Liverpool with other tenants and I didn't want them to come knocking at my door, so when I was in labour, I stopped myself screaming. The pain was excruciating. I saw a foot sticking out from between my legs - my baby was coming out feet first. I'd never been more frightened. I got a tea towel and wrapped it around the tiny foot and pulled gently.
There wasn't a flicker of life in him. He was so beautiful.

I knew I had to deal with it on my own. If you suppress the bad things then maybe they'll go away, that's what I used to tell myself.
The next day I waited until it was dark, wrapped the baby and placenta in a tea towel and took a large spoon from the kitchen.
I chose a park I liked, got down on my knees, and started digging as deep as I could. Then I lowered my precious little boy into the hole. I told him I was so sorry for what had happened and how great we would have been together. I told him he'd have been a fine boy but that it just wasn't to be. I had never felt more wretched in my whole life. I still talk to my son now.
That tragedy must have been a very defining moment for you.

It stands out, of course, and I do think about it a lot. But there are people out there with a worse life than me and there are people out there who have a better life. I've been married now for 27 years - some people never find that kind of happiness.
What was the father of your baby like?

He was a chancer. We went out for almost three years. When you're on own, you've got nobody and you're madly in love with everybody. I went into a series of affairs that were dreadful because I was looking for love.
But he walked out of my life and he never looked back. Now I think actually that's disgusting and he should be ashamed of himself.
How did the police treat you when they investigated your baby's burial?

The police were very nice to me, I have to say. One of them said to me, "I don't want to do this, Kim, but I have to get this matter cleared up." Then I had to go over the whole sad business with them, detail by detail. I only admitted it because I believe when you tell your story, you should tell everything.
That must have been incredibly difficult for you.
Yes, it was very embarrassing because they wanted every single detail. I mean, it's very private isn't it? But I had to do it.
Are the police going to prosecute you?

No. I recently got a letter from the Crown Prosecution Service to say no further action would be taken. I was relieved as it had gone on for months.
I could have got two years in prison. In a panic, my thoughts swang from, "I'm 64, they won't put me in prison" to "They might decide to make an example of me".
Was Aggie, your How Clean Is Your House? co-presenter, aware of what was happening?

No, she was in Scotland - her sister read an article in a newspaper and told her. She didn't know anything about my baby. She very kindly called me to say if she could do anything to help, then to let her know.
How did the public react to you?

Marvellously! When it broke in the papers, I didn't go out for four days. But I've had lovely letters from people that were sympathetic to me.
And it's helped me tremendously to get on with my life. Nowadays, associations like the NSPCC can help young girls so what happened to me shouldn't happen again.
Is there anything you would do differently?

I don't think so. I was on my own, I had nobody to turn to. So it was me who had to handle it. Do I regret it?
I regret that my son was born and that he died. But apart from that, I don't. I did what I thought was right.
Did you regret writing about it?

Yes and no. If you're going to write your life story, you can't miss bits out and this was a big part of my life. I checked with my publishers if it was wise to write about this, and they checked with their lawyers, who said there's nothing the police could do.
When it broke in the newspapers, my agent called to say the police had been in touch and wanted to interview me. I was shocked. But an old law still exists that says if anyone hides the birth or death of a baby, they could face prison. My publishers had gone to a corporate lawyer, not a criminal one.
How did Peter cope with everything?
My husband's a sweet man. He said to me, "Kim, if you need my help, I'll be at home waiting." He's lovely - how I met this man I do not know.
Was Peter shocked by any revelations or did he know everything beforehand?

No, not really. He knew I came from a rotten childhood, that I was knocked around and that my mum was a drunk. I took him to see her, you know. She was drunk and he was a bit shocked as he had a great mum and dad.
You made the tough decision not to have any more children. Why?

I worried that one could turn out like my mum, who was awful to me, because it's in the genes. You are what you're born.
I thought, "What if I have a child with my mother's genes?" I would not wish that on the world. If it had been a bit evil like my mother, it would have been dreadful.

If you can't love your little ones, don't have them. My mum was a wicked woman. The neighbours were terrified of her. In those days, she got away with it - she wouldn't today. But she had incredible power. She played mind games, she controlled everybody whose lives she touched.
I don't need to be a mother to see what's wrong in a family. She never married my father. He was very brutal but he was a gentleman in other ways.
I really believe that if he'd met the right woman, he'd have been smashing.
But she crucified him. She met the very man she should never have met.
What kept you going? What kept you alive?

I don't know. I didn't think about it. What was I going to do? Up to the age I left home, my whole life was a bloody low point. I was so hurt by all that. I've not healed. Never will, never going to.
When you went back to see her with Peter, were you hoping for an apology?
I was naive. I said, "Mum, I have to know - why did you hate me so much?"
She just said, "You're like you're f***ing father." She was as feisty as the day I left.
What's the secret to a happy marriage?

If I had a clue, I'd be a wealthy woman, wouldn't I? I'd get you a husband for a start!
But you've had a good one for 27 years!

And I had a rotten one before I met Peter.
Are you and Aggie close friends?

We are totally different but we have a good time working together. We don't socialise - she's a social butterfly and I'm a homebody - I sit and knit.
You seem to be so organised and definitely a no-nonsense kind of woman - I wouldn't mess with you.

I've got to a stage in my life where I don't want you to bull***t me or do the dirty on me. Life is full of rotten people. I've been let down by so many people and I don't want to mix with those types of people.
That happens a lot with fame, don't you think?

It's all rubbish, isn't it? You're the expert - I've only been in the business for three and a half years. Let's face it, I wouldn't be without the money. It annoys me when I hear celebrities say, "Oh, it's awful". Well, get out of the business and give somebody else a job! If a fan comes up to me, I'm grateful.
Would you be happy if your TV career ended tomorrow?

I've no mortgage, paid cash for the car and bought a bit of bling, so it wouldn't bother me.
Can I invite you round to my house without you inspecting how dirty it is?

I don't inspect people's houses, darling. If it stank, I wouldn't go back. If it's a bit grubby, I've no problem. But filth, you won't get me round there.
In your book, you say your dream is for a happy life. Have you got it?

Yes, I have. It's lovely. I've met you, haven't I?

I'm going to give you my home address. You could be my daughter, you know...

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