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‘I have a different mummy side only my friends and family see’, says TV presenter Julia Bradbury

Julia Bradbury (Outdoor Productions / ITV)
Julia Bradbury (Outdoor Productions / ITV)

But Julia Bradbury says you just ought to see her at home these days.

Being a mum-of-three, including twins set to turn one, has turned the former Countryfile favourite into a bubbly, tear-stained mess.

“I’m such a proud mum but, oh, I’ve become an emotional wreck,” Julia, 45, told the Sunday Post.

“I’m so teary these days. Any time the music starts on a drama or a mini-series I’m in floods. I’m a complete bucket.

“There’s a very different mummy side that only my friends and family see.”

Julia and property developer partner Gerard Cunningham have four-year-old Zephyr as well as little Xanthe and Zena.

Having become a mum just after she turned 40, Julia admits she was shocked at how desperately she wanted to have more kids.

She turned to IVF and even walked away from Countryfile and its busy schedule to give her a better chance of becoming pregnant.

“I was really surprised at the emotional drive I had to have a sibling for Zephyr.

“It defied logic and was just an instinctive, emotional thing. I had this overwhelming desire that he shouldn’t be left on this planet alone.

“It’s character-building to have a bit of conflict, part of which comes from fighting your corner with a brother or sister.”

So, is little Zephyr up for the scrap?

“He’s had to be,” laughs Julia.

“His little sisters are feisty and while he’s trying to make the most of his physical dominance I feel that’s going to be short-lived.

“Zena in particular is a strapping young lass. She has a fantastic baby roll and she’s walking at 11 months.

“So Zephyr doesn’t have long as the alpha boy here.”

Countryfile is now one of the hottest shows on telly, pulling in figures that even topped the last series of X Factor.

Julia is fiercely proud of the fact that, along with Matt Baker, she ushered it into that new Sunday teatime slot, seeing the audience treble from two to six million.

But quitting is something she hasn’t the slightest regret about.

“It wasn’t a difficult decision. It was one I had to make. I was trying to fall pregnant, which nobody knew, and after six series I had to make some changes in my personal life.

“It was the right thing, because I’m immensely happy.”

With three kids under five, life in the Bradbury household in London is messily, hectically chaotic.

It’s one every mum will recognise. But like millions of other mums, it’s not one that consumes her every moment.

While she insists her days of grafting seven days a week are in the past, her working days in general certainly aren’t – hence her double bill of shows this week.

“I’m a proud working mum but I know there are conflicting opinions.

“I’m there for my children, a good, hands-on mum, and I hope I’m an example for all three of them.

“Being a mum is the most emotional, fulfilling thing I’ve ever done and my heart is bursting with love for these little beings.

“But I need to work. It’s very much a part of who I am. Some people have asked, though, what’s wrong with just being a mum.

“There answer is there’s nothing wrong with that. My career has moulded my character and my personality. It’s important to me and it puts food on the table.”

Famous, Rich and Homeless is the documentary project she undertook for Sports Relief. Along with former snooker player Willie Thorne, Kim Woodburn from How Clean Is Your House? and They Think It’s All Over host Nick Hancock she took to the streets to find out just what being homeless in 21st-century Britain is like.

For seven days and six nights she wasn’t a well-paid TV name with a comfortable lifestyle, just another statistic.

One added to a shockingly fast-growing tally with Julia quoting figures showing homelessness has doubled since 2010 and, in England, leapt by 30% in just the past year.

“It was the toughest thing I’ve ever done,” she says simply. “The most physically demanding and demoralising thing ever.

“I wasn’t physically threatened at any time, but there were moments of danger when I was with homeless people high on drugs and drink. And four out of 10 of those on the streets have mental health issues, so I was always very aware of that.”

But it was the mental as much as physical side that hit hard.

She found life became a minute-by-minute affair. Where could she stay warm and sleep? Where could she get a cuppa? Where could she go to the loo?

“Until you’ve tried to live like that, you can’t understand how draining it is.

“You lose your confidence and you lose your identity. I lost them within a day.

“I thought I’d survive, get off the streets, get a bed. I failed miserably with all of those things.

“I had to get up in the middle of the night, taking all of my belongings with me so they didn’t get stolen, just to go and find somewhere to go to the loo. I ended up doing it in churchyards, by bins and in people’s gardens.

“It’s disgusting on so many levels.

“I’m always telling my kids how lucky they are but I’ve never been more grateful to get back to my creature comforts and my family life.

“We really need to do much more to help the people who find themselves on the streets.”

Julia’s other TV appearance this week could hardly be more of a contrast.

Her Best Walks With A View sees her don her waterproof jacket and slip on her hiking boots again.

She has previously trekked all over the Lake District with her Wainwright’s Walks series and tramped along abandoned tracks for her Railway Walks.

This time round it’s stunning-looking routes all across the UK, although this week’s one takes her back to Cumbria.

And Julia admits it’s a real passion project, bringing her favourite hobby to the screen.

“The one thing that people ask me most about is when I’m doing another walking series,” she adds. “It’s great that we’ve been able to broaden it out to different places and people are tuning in in their millions.

“I really couldn’t be happier with how it’s been received. I’ve been walking with my dad since I was a little girl and it’s a passion that’s never left me.

“So sharing that with others is wonderful.”

Famous, Rich and Homeless, BBC1 Wednesday 10.45pm; Best Walks With A View, ITV, Friday 8pm.


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