Opening up for the first time about the trauma of losing four babies takes courage. But that’s a quality Myleene Klass has never lacked, discovers Cole Moreton.
‘This is for my children,’ says Myleene Klass, who is competing in the new series of Dancing On Ice. ‘I wanted to do something they can understand. They know I was in a band, that I’ve got clothes ranges and I’m on the radio but this is a show they can watch and enjoy.’ She has a baby son called Apollo – although everyone knows him as Snoopy – and two daughters, Ava, 13, and Hero, nine. ‘My girls skate and they were so excited.’ She’s happy to talk about the joys and trials of training, her chances against the likes of Jason Donovan and Denise Van Outen and why she won’t be taking part in the much-hyped reunion of her old band Hear’Say. But something else comes up in the course of our conversation that stops us in our tracks. I ask the question and Myleene goes quiet. She turns away, stares at the wall and suddenly tears stream down her face. It seems she can’t go on, then a tiny nervous laugh breaks the silence. ‘I’ve just never said it out loud,’ she explains, her voice breaking with emotion. And it’s understandable, because that word is miscarriage.
Myleene has suffered four of them, as she revealed on social media for Baby Loss Awareness Week recently. She wrote it to help others feel less alone, but speaking in person turns out to be much harder than writing. ‘It’s just that I have never talked about it, ever, because putting something on the page keeps it contained, but when the words come out of your mouth it is real.’
I offer to stop but she shakes her head. ‘No, it’s OK. You have to keep going forward.’ There’s a fierce determination to this 42-year-old that has seen her through being a pop star, a classical performer, a television star, a model and a single mum. ‘Losing my first baby was howling at the moon territory, because the pain is just so guttural, it’s unbearable. You feel like everything has failed. Walking out of that hospital I felt so lonely and empty.’
The first time came when she was on holiday and had just started trying for a baby with her partner, the fashion PR Simon Motson. ‘I woke up bleeding. I rang my doctor and he said: “I know where you can go.” The scan was the size of a widescreen TV. I hadn’t seen the baby before, but when they put the camera on my stomach, I saw the face.’ That must have been so hard. ‘Yeah, he just slid down the screen. Then it’s the silence. The pitiful look the sonographer gives you. It is horrible. I wanted to just run.’
The second time was a missed miscarriage. ‘I was so happy. I was getting bigger and I thought: “Well, this is all fine.” The baby had died but my body didn’t know it.’ The third time happened during work at a radio station. She did not describe this in her post and only her closest friends knew what happened, until now. ‘I was on air. I went to the loo while the music was playing and there was blood everywhere. I didn’t know what to do. I had one hour left of my show.’ Her throat tightens. ‘I rang Lauren Laverne [long-time friend and radio presenter] and she said: “Do one link, take a breath, come out and call me.” She got me through. I did the next link and called her. We counted the links.’ She just kept going, with Lauren’s support. ‘I would go out, sob and come back in, take a deep breath and speak. I don’t know what else I would have done. I was on air.’
The fourth time happened while she was on the toilet. She is being astonishingly open here and not just to help other women. ‘If Sally from Scarborough benefits from it then that’s amazing, but actually I’ve got two girls to raise that need their mum to be as ballsy as she thinks she is.’
Myleene has travelled the world to raise awareness for charities and knows how privileged she is. ‘I go to countries where women have to bury their babies in the woods. I see women who have survived tsunamis. I think of them and I don’t have a right to complain.’ But there’s no denying the pain written all over her face. ‘It is horrific. It’s just unbearable, but it makes my baby like a miracle.’
Myleene and Simon did conceive again, which meant taking lots of medicine. ‘I blew up. I put on four-and-a-half stone by the time I gave birth and I am quite petite. I had to take progesterone and hormones that would keep the baby in. The doctors never knew what the problem was, which was more upsetting, so they threw everything at me.’ She refused to decorate a nursery until the eighth month of pregnancy, for fear she would lose the child. ‘My manager, Severine, has been through her own. We say our babies are playing together in heaven, because we’ve both had four miscarriages. She came to my house, got hold of me and went: “We’ve got to build the nursery. It’s happening.”’
Her son was born in August 2019 and named Apollo after the god of music and science, her twin passions. ‘The children wanted us to call him Snoop Dogg. I said: “Don’t be ridiculous.” Now nobody calls him Apollo. He doesn’t even answer to it. He only knows Snoopy. We nicknamed him the Emperor. If he learns to walk it will be a miracle because he only has to gesture and we bring him what he wants. We are all waiting on him hand and foot.’
Myleene, Snoopy, Ava and Hero live with Simon and his two children in an eight-bedroom mansion in North London. Will they try again? ‘Sim would go tomorrow. But there’s a part of me that thinks: “Gosh, we’ve got our golden child here.” We have five children between us – it’s a lot. And I genuinely feel so grateful for where I am now.’ She also says something very surprising: ‘I will always think of myself as a single mum.’ Even now, when she’s engaged? ‘Absolutely. My girls are my responsibility and I don’t know any other way. Sim has come into the picture, we have a son and he says: “I have five children.” But my girls rely on me and I have to make sure I can guide them and look after them.’
The clue to her fierce drive and protective attitude lies in the past, starting with her upbringing in Norfolk in the 1980s as the daughter of an Austrian father and a mother from the Philippines. ‘Horrible. Being a mixed-raced girl. “What are you?” That’s what I used to get, not even: “Where are you from?” And the racial slurs were strong. If you walk to school with a violin on your back, you are a target.’
She went on to study at the Royal Academy of Music in London. ‘I don’t think I am the best at anything, but I work the hardest for it.’ She puts that down to her family and her Filipina heritage. ‘I was raised to work like a carthorse!’ Her big break came on the talent show Popstars in 2001 when she was chosen to be part of new band Hear’Say. They had the fastest-selling debut single of all time up to then with ‘Pure and Simple’ and were briefly huge. But Myleene, Kym, Suzanne, Danny and Noel split after just a year, with reports of a feud. There’s talk of a reunion as the 20th anniversary looms, but Myleene reveals she won’t be in it. ‘They asked me. I told them: “Go forth, with my blessing.”’ That’s a definite no, then? ‘Look at where we are. We are mothers of blended families and second marriages and Kym’s a granny. It’s a lifetime ago. If I go backwards, I won’t know who I am. I hope it works. I will be cheering the loudest.’
Myleene went on to make solo albums as a classical crossover star then work for Classic FM and Smooth radio and the BBC. Her fame surged again in 2006 when she appeared on I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here! and took a jungle shower in a little white bikini she had bought in a hurry. These days she has her own fashion ranges and collaborates on YouTube and TikTok, often with her daughters.
Ava and Hero were born during her troubled relationship with former Hear’Say bodyguard Graham Quinn, which survived even the revelation that he was a former heroin dealer. She stuck by him, but Quinn walked out six months after they were married in 2011, leading to false reports she had turned to drink. ‘That was an insult to us mums who have to carry on. That so upset me. I had a one-year-old and a three-year-old. Falling apart wasn’t an option.’
Quinn received a share of her fortune, to judge from her comment on social media last year: ‘Cheating exes usually get a house, a car and a fat pay-off.’ Given all this, it’s maybe no surprise that Myleene is so protective of her daughters. ‘They are not going to be trustafarians. Not on my watch. Because it doesn’t do them any good. I have met people who live off trust funds. They have a pretty dull existence.’ That’s not the only reason, though. ‘I don’t want them to find themselves targets. I want them to be able to find real love.’
Myleene and Simon were set up on a blind date by friends, but the love in their blended family has grown so strong that Ava posted a message on Instagram thanking him for teaching her to trust in father figures again. ‘They are very close,’ says Myleene, beaming. ‘They plot against me if she wants a movie or pizza with her mates at 10pm or something. I like it and I let it happen because they have a unique relationship. That’s something that I didn’t think would ever happen and they are very protective of it.’
Her daughters were also protective when they heard she was doing Dancing On Ice, demanding to meet her partner Lukasz Rozycki in case she fell for him as others have done for their partners. ‘They were like: “What about the curse?” That was a really good opportunity for us to sit down and for me to say: “I’d like you to have some faith in who your mum is and I have a choice in this, too, you know.”’
Lukasz is married to Alexandra Schauman, a Finnish skater partnering Jason Donovan in the same competition. ‘I feel sorry for this poor man because he has to drag my arse around every day and he has got a professional skater wife who flies through the air. Now my kids draw him cards and he bakes them bread and they are getting to understand you can have different relationships with men.’
So how is the training? ‘It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever taken on. I do two hours skating every day. I have asked to do more but they won’t allow it because of the ankles. It is gruelling. Certain bits don’t bend as much as they did.’ Some bits bend much more, though. ‘I’m hyper-extended. That means my joints extend further than yours. Lukasz will hold my arm and I’ll go to skate off and take him with me but he won’t move because my arm will just keep extending.’
Is she going to win? ‘I’ve put my money on Colin Jackson. There are a lot of Olympians in this show,’ says Myleene, laughing. As a child of the 80s who loved classical music she was entranced by Torvill and Dean’s gold-winning performance to Ravel’s ‘Bolero’ at the 1984 Winter Olympics. ‘When I rehearse on the ice there’s Torvill and Dean practising in the corner, which is so distracting. But there’s no pressure because no one expects much, myself included!’
She may still see herself as a single mother, deep down, but Myleene’s face lights up when she talks about the home life she has built with Simon and their kids. ‘I fall in love with him every day, because he is such an incredible dad.’
She’s been so astonishingly open about the pain of the past that it comes as a relief to hear of the happiness and stability Myleene has found for herself and her family now. ‘I love the life we all have together, dearly.’
Myleene skates for the first time on Dancing On Ice at 6pm tonight on ITV.
The new Myleene Klass Kids range, designed and created exclusively with Next encompasses Myleene’s signature monochrome palette with pops of colour and playful prints. The collection embraces the simple, functional Scandi style with mix and match pieces suitable for unisex wear. It will be available to shop exclusively at next.co.uk from 28 January