■ The breakfast TV host, 60, on what inspired her new book, why she’s channelling Piers Morgan and being a gay icon
What made you decide to write your book, Shine?
I’ve just turned 60 and it’s a time when you reflect a little bit. I wanted to pass on all the knowledge I’ve been lucky enough to acquire by being surrounded by fantastic experts in all different areas. Hopefully some people will take some tips or it might make them think.
How do you stay so upbeat?
I think it’s really important to. That’s not to say every single day you wake up with jazz hands, singing like little woodland creatures doing the housework. Life’s not like that! We try and accentuate the positive on our show and even if someone’s on who’s been through a tough time, it’s that thing of, ‘yes, this is terrible, but actually I’m living with it and this is how I did it’ so hopefully it’ll help you. It’s very easy to get down. We have a chronic mental health problem in this country but at least we’re talking about it now. Breakfast and daytime TV are pioneers when it comes to talking about things like mental health, equal rights and breaking down barriers.
You tell readers to be a little bit more Piers Morgan…
Well, only because Piers has the hide of a rhino and when he’s abused on Twitter he retweets even the most hideous things and corrects their spelling, which I think is hilarious. But for most people, it hurts them. You have 99 people saying you’re fantastic and you remember the one person who says something horrible. I just mute them so they’re ranting in an empty room. Don’t let these people have power over you. I got bullied when I was at school and I’d go home and it would stop but now you can be bullied 24/7
on your phone. And they’re usually saddos – you wouldn’t want to be them. It must be horrendous to have a child who’s being bullied but imagine having a child who’s the bully.
You’re quite personal in your book. Is it the most personal you’ve been?
I guess, but I’m a pretty open book and have talked about a lot of stuff on telly. Like how I suffered from anxiety when I was going through the menopause. I approached some high-profile women to talk about it too but quite a few said no as they didn’t want to appear as if they’re old, which made me sad. It’s just a stage in your life and I actually think women in their 50s and 60s are in their prime. Carol Vorderman, Meg Matthews and Ulrika Jonsson all talked openly about it, which was really helpful.
You’ve interviewed so many people several times, do any become mates?
My pals are my pals and most of them I’ve known for ages. I don’t really know many people in the public eye and I wouldn’t say they become mates but it does become easier if you’ve interviewed them before. I’d love to say Hugh Jackman was my friend but he isn’t! But I’ve interviewed him half a dozen times and the lovely thing is, he knows the show now and what I do. He’s a delight. I’ve interviewed the lovely Gary Barlow several times too and Craig David, who I’d have on every single day because he’s the nicest man in the world.
You’re a gay icon. How do you feel about that?
I know, that’s so nice. I’m an honorary gay. I got an award from Attitude magazine and I have an Ally Award, which I’m so proud of. I think it’s because I treat everyone exactly the same. And how fabulous that I got asked to be on RuPaul’s Drag Race! It’s the greatest show on TV.
You’ve done loads of guest appearances on things — has that been the most fun?
That was definitely up there and appearing in Coronation Street as myself was really good fun as well. Getting a mention on Mum was one of the best things ever because I love that so much. The father-in-law said something about wanting to go shopping with me and my phone went berserk! I got a mention on The Thick Of It as well. Malcolm Tucker went past someone and said, ‘Who do you think you f***ing are? Sitting on that f***ing sofa, like Lorraine f***ing Kelly!’ That was f***ing brilliant.
You’ve just had your 60th birthday — how’s that possible?!
It’s ridiculous! I don’t know how that happened, I’m still waiting to grow up! My amazing team gave me astronaut training for my birthday so I experienced zero gravity at Nasa. I looked like a toddler, I was so excited! I was in geek heaven and they gave me a Nasa flying suit, which I kept on, of course, and I went back to the hotel and a lady coming out of the lift asked if I was an astronaut and I said yes! Technically I am now! It was one of the best moments.
What have been your career highlights? Getting an OBE?
Oh, that was amazing and it was from the Queen during her Jubilee in Holyrood in Edinburgh, so that made it more special. And my parents were there. My mum asked me afterwards what she said to me and I said, I don’t know! I was so overwhelmed by the whole thing that I was crying and all
I could hear was the blood in my ears pounding. I was so nervous!
■ Kelly’s Shine (Century) is out now