Think you know everything there is to know about Katie Price? Think again. There is a glimmer in her eye and for once, it’s not because she’s thinking about you-know-what.
The thing about interviewing Katie Price, is that there is nothing we don’t know about Katie Price.
Every single detail of her love life, work life, and private life is out there.
If she’s not written it in an autobiography, then it’s been filmed by a documentary crew or frozen in a snapper’s still.
What could I possibly learn from a face-to-face with the woman who lives her every moment on camera?
We run through the usual questions – no, she’s not yet been “Reidinated” (made pregnant by new husband Alex Reid), and no she’s “not bothered” by ex-husband Peter Andre and bridesmaid Kerry Katona’s rumoured relationship.
She’s loving being married again and work is booming.
And just when I start to think there is nothing more than ‘public Katie,’ there it is.
A tiny piece of Ms Price that I doubt the cameras have ever captured – the look of love in a mummy’s eyes.
It had seemed an innocuous question and one I certainly didn’t expect to be the breakthrough: “What is the best thing about being a mother?” I ventured, awaiting the rehearsed response, one I’d heard umpteen times before.
And yet, her entire face lifted. Her eyes glowed and her arms subconsciously hugged herself close.
“All of it,” she smiled warmly.
“From the pictures they draw me, to the silly little things they say, to the kisses, the hugs and the stories on the bed at night. I love all of it.”
It threw me slightly off kilter. There was a passion in her answer like no other.
OK, she has her detractors, and since divorcing Peter – fast becoming one of those inexplicable national treasures like Bruce Forsyth and Christopher Biggins we love for, well, we’re never sure why – has found it hard to claw her way back into favour. But, here is a woman who has worked darn hard to make a life for her and her family and, like her or loathe her, she is a proud, protective and loving Mummy.
Katie, 32, first rose to fame, or infamy, as Jordan, a topless model and was the first to grace the Sun’s Page 3 slot on consecutive days of one week.
From then on her life was on camera.
Born in Newport, Wales, and raised in Brighton, she has an older brother Daniel and a half-sister Sophie, who wants to follow in her sister’s bra cups and break into the world of modelling.
A millionairess, she is undoubtedly a canny businesswoman and her perfumes, autobiographies, children’s books, clothing lines and television documentaries are all grist to the Price mill.
But it is her achievements as a mother that she finds most rewarding.
“I’ve been through some tough things in my time,” she tells me, “my divorce, the miscarriage, the jungle – but
I look at my kids and think if I can make sure they’re all right, bring them up to be good people and love them whatever, then I have done the hardest job of all.
“They make me laugh and God, they make me cry, but they are amazing.”
We chat a little about our eldest sons. Her eight-year-old, Harvey, it is well documented, has autism and a condition called septo optic dysplasia which means he is partially sighted and needs round-the-clock care. Mine has severe brain damage and is blind and quadriplegic.
Her voice changes again.
“What people don’t realise is everything, just everything, that goes with having a child with special needs. It’s not just the physical stuff but the emotional stuff too. I don’t ever want anyone to feel sorry for me, but it’s nice to talk to someone who’s been there too.”
And we laugh about the sometime ludicrous things people say in an effort to make us “feel better” about our situations, the daily arguments with people in disabled parking bays who think we’re not entitled to be there and the way people only ever ask after our eldest boys and not about our other children.
“Really? You’re joking – people always do that to me too,” she gasps. “At my book signings, people only ever ask me how Harvey is. It’s lovely of them but I do have three children who I love equally.”
This is more like it.
I get a bit braver and suggest to her that people would probably prefer Katie the Mummy to Katie the extrovert.
“Well these days I am more of a Mummy. I hardly ever go out and yet when I do such a big thing is made of it. Honestly, I’d rather stay at home and eat in than go out.”
So what is a ‘normal day’ like in the Price household?
“You mean Reid household!” she corrects, smiling.
“It’s pretty normal. We get up, we have breakfast and I try to do the school run when I can. I get a lot of stick for having a nanny but I have to, so that I can work. Most of my work is now at home, so I see my kids a lot more than these women who have high-flying jobs in the City.
“Alex is a hands-on Dad but they can wrap him around their little fingers. I’m definitely the one in charge!
“My kids are in bed at seven every night and if I do the story, it is just one each. When Alex does it, they manage to get him reading for about an hour. I tell him he’s got to get them to bed and stop giving into them!”
So what kind of Mum is she?
“I’m fairly strict. I like them to know that they can only go so far. I like to be the one at the head of the family who they hopefully respect. But I’m a softie when I need to be.”
It was that softer side she showed in 2004 in the Australian jungle when she met Peter, while taking part in the reality show I’m A Celebrity … Get Me Out Of Here!
The public had wanted to test the then full-time party girl known mainly for her topless shoots and consistently voted for her to face the grim ‘bushtucker trials’.
What people didn’t realise then was that there was more to this girl than glamour – there was grit.
She rose to the challenges, kept smiling and fell in love with Pete along the way, winning the all-important hearts and minds of Britain.
On a crest of a publicity wave she and Pete married and added Junior and Princess to their family.
But the bubble burst last year after months of strain in the marriage and the couple split – as publicly as they had joined.
“It is hard now having to share the kids with Pete,” she admitted, “but I’m going to make really sure they don’t notice it.
“I’m a really independent woman, even when I was with Pete and now with Alex, and I know what I want and what I want is to protect the kids as much as I can from all the shit I go through.”
So what about Project Pregnant?
“Well, we’re trying and I hope to fall pregnant this year.
“I hate the first trimester when you feel fat and you look a bit fat but you can’t tell anyone you’re pregnant – oh and the sickness! I get very sick.
“But as soon as I get into the second stage, I love it. When you get your proper baby bump, that’s the best bit.”
So, what would she like – a girl or a boy?
“I’ve got both so I really don’t care as long as it’s healthy.
“People often ask me if I found out my child had a defect whether I would have it, given that I’ve already got Harvey and I honestly would.”
I tell her that that question irritates me. People ask me that constantly in reference to my son and I feel as though they think I might somehow love him less because of his disability.
She nods slowly.
“I know,” she said. “People forget that whatever your child has, they’re still your child and you love them.”
There’s a pause, from both of us. Me because I never thought I’d ‘share’ a moment with the Katie Price of tabloid infamy and she, I suspect, because she never thought one of those dreadful journalists had real lives!
“This is really nice, just chatting about the family and not about all the ‘stuff’ with Pete,” she says.
And I believe her.
I’m not saying I’m a total Katie convert, but I do think a monster has been created out of a bit of a mouse. Yes, she undoubtedly helps in the creation of that monster, to fuel publicity and support her commercial activities, but I’m sure there’s a part of her who longs, just sometimes, for it all to end.
So what would she do if tomorrow, the businesses all came crashing down and she lost it all? Would she be happy being Katie the Mummy?
“One hundred per cent. No. Actually, one hundred and fifty per cent.”