It-girl turned mom­preneur Caprice Bour­ret on play­ing the fame game again, page

‘MY LIFE WAS MAD, WILD, FUN – I LOVED IT, I LIVED IT’

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From It-girl to ‘mom­preneur’, CAPRICE BOUR­RET has mas­ter­minded a rein­ven­tion of epic pro­por­tions. But celebrity is like an ad­dic­tion, she con­fesses to

Louise Gannon – it pulls you back…

INa pent­house suite over­look­ing the bright lights of Lon­don, Caprice Bour­ret is hav­ing a mo­ment. Her mouth is fixed in a per­fect ‘O’ as a sud­den rev­e­la­tion – cour­tesy of YOU mag­a­zine – hits her. It’s a flashback from her wild past as the ul­ti­mate It-girl of a gen­er­a­tion whose lives re­volved around par­ties, pri­vate jets and pa­parazzi.

The last time Caprice posed for YOU was 16 years ago, at the height of her fame. ‘The night be­fore I’d been at the MTV Awards in Frank­furt un­til 5am and I met Fred Durst [the lead singer of rock band Limp Bizkit]. Dur­ing the shoot he called and told me he was in New York and was send­ing me a plane ticket so I could fly to see him that night.

‘He was pretty hot so I went straight from the shoot to the plane, his driver picked me up at the air­port in New York and took me to a gor­geous French restau­rant, La Goulue. We had this crazy ro­man­tic din­ner, then he said he needed to go to his record­ing stu­dio to lay down a track. I was fu­ri­ous. I’d flown all the way out there to see him and I wasn’t go­ing to wait around. I went straight back to the air­port and booked a flight to Lon­don.

‘And that,’ she says, ‘was what my life was like then. It was mad, wild, fun; I dated so many guys [she was ac­tu­ally in a re­la­tion­ship with Satur­day Night Live’s David Spade at the time of the Durst li­ai­son]. I loved it, I lived it, but I wouldn’t go back.’

Caprice is now 45 years old. She is still very beau­ti­ful – a wil­lowy, ex­pen­sive-look­ing blonde – but she is no longer the It-girl who cap­tured head­lines in 1996 by wear­ing a see-through black lace dress and dat­ing men from Durst to foot­baller Tony Adams and crick­eter Kevin Pi­etersen. To­day she is the mother of three-year-old boys Jett and Jax. She has a part­ner, city fi­nancier Ty Com­fort (who has three chil­dren from a pre­vi­ous mar­riage), and an un­der­wear and bed­ding busi­ness, By Caprice Prod­ucts (she is founder and CEO).

Hers is a rein­ven­tion of epic pro­por­tions. Once the num­ber-one choice of lads’ mags and celebrity mag­a­zines, Caprice now speaks reg­u­larly at busi­ness con­fer­ences and ap­pears in the fi­nan­cial pages of news­pa­pers. Her meta­mor­pho­sis be­gan in her early 30s when she re­alised that her days as a model were num­bered. ‘I knew I had one foot in the grave in terms of my ca­reer and I needed a plan B.’

In 2000, Deben­hams used her name on a range of lin­gerie. Six years later she bought back the licence and be­gan By Caprice. ‘It wasn’t easy. Quite rightly sup­pli­ers and stock­ists had no in­ter­est in some model who could be here one minute and gone the next. I stalked peo­ple to get them to take me se­ri­ously. I had to study the mar­ket, see for my­self which de­signs worked and which didn’t, make fast de­ci­sions about stock and look at fi­nances, ex­change rates and where the best fac­to­ries were. Deben­hams backed me, but it took me two years to per­suade Next to stock my de­signs and even­tu­ally oth­ers fol­lowed, in­clud­ing Figleaves and Asos.’

She de­scribes her­self as a ‘mom­preneur’ and works five days a week at an of­fice near her West Lon­don home. She is hands-on with the de­signs as well as the ac­counts and her small team of staff. ‘Peo­ple judge me for my past and they al­ways will. But I have my ba­bies, my boy and my busi­ness – and that’s all I need,’ she says.

Caprice em­braces rather than di­min­ishes her racy past. ‘I was al­ways re­ally about busi­ness,’ she says. ‘Hell, tak­ing my clothes off was a busi­ness de­ci­sion. I’m too short for cat­walk mod­el­ling and back then the lads’ mags were where the money was. I made my first mil­lion by 25 and I in­vested in prop­erty. I could have made more money by mar­ry­ing a rich man, but that was never my plan. I was raised by my mother to be in­de­pen­dent, so I worked with what I had to get me where I am.’

But life is never that sim­ple, and for Caprice there’s a new com­pli­ca­tion. The day af­ter we meet, she flew to Inns­bruck in Aus­tria, where she is

tak­ing part in Chan­nel 4’s ter­ri­fy­ing win­ter sports chal­lenge The Jump, along­side for­mer pro­fes­sional cy­clist Sir Bradley Wig­gins, gym­nast Louis Smith, for­mer Eng­land foot­baller Rob­bie Fowler and TV pre­sen­ter Vogue Wil­liams. It is a series that has se­ri­ously in­jured more celebri­ties – in­clud­ing ac­tress Tina Hob­ley, Sir Steve Red­grave and gym­nast Beth Twed­dle, who had to be air­lifted to hos­pi­tal – than any other show in TV his­tory. In 2015 for­mer Strictly dancer Ola Jor­dan and Sally Bercow were both so badly in­jured in train­ing that nei­ther of them made it to the ac­tual com­pe­ti­tion.

Caprice shrugs: ‘I heard all the hor­ror sto­ries but I also did my own re­search. I spoke to nine peo­ple, in­clud­ing my friends Ta­mara Beck­with and Jodie Kidd [both pre­vi­ous con­tes­tants], who all gave me proper ad­vice and en­cour­age­ment. I have been skiing since I was a tod­dler and I won’t be tak­ing any un­nec­es­sary risks. The idea of train­ing with pro­fes­sion­als at the top of their game re­ally fired me up, and I’m go­ing to take my boys and Ty out there for two weeks so they can ski and we can have time to­gether.’

Caprice is no stranger to re­al­ity shows, hav­ing ap­peared on Celebrity Big Brother, div­ing show Splash! and Celebrity Come Dine With Me and, as ever, there is a busi­ness an­gle. ‘I’d be a liar if I didn’t ad­mit I’m partly do­ing this to pro­mote my brand. When I was on Big Brother my un­der­wear range sold out in two weeks, which was in­cred­i­ble. We are living in tough times in re­tail – I lost 30 per cent of my net worth overnight af­ter Brexit – so you have to do ev­ery­thing you can to pro­mote your brand. But hon­estly, I’m go­ing to be learn­ing in­cred­i­ble skills. I’m com­pletely ter­ri­fied about do­ing the skele­ton run [down­hill to­bog­gan].’ She pauses and smiles: ‘There’s also the thrill of dip­ping my toe back into the en­ter­tain­ment busi­ness – it’s def­i­nitely go­ing to be ex­cit­ing.

‘I re­mem­ber when my whole life was about be­ing in the lime­light and try­ing to pre­tend – like so many celebri­ties do – that I found it hard. But who are they kid­ding? It’s amaz­ing. You get looked af­ter, you get loved, you have peo­ple run­ning around you. I loved ev­ery­thing about it. Be­ing

a mum, shop­ping, making meals, run­ning my own busi­ness – that’s hard work.’

She is, how­ever, hap­pier in her­self than she was a decade ago. ‘I drank too much, I par­tied too much. I never touched drugs but I made a lot of mis­takes.’ There was a drink-driv­ing in­ci­dent in 2006, pos­ing nude for Play­boy in 2000, knock­ing five years off her age when the US oil heir Alex Davis asked her to marry him in 2003, and ru­mours of her dat­ing Prince An­drew in 2000 (‘He was just a friend,’ she said later). Ask her what her big­gest mis­take was and she says, ‘Prob­a­bly some of the guys I went out with. But I learned never to make the same mis­take twice.’

And so back to the com­pli­ca­tions of her life. As we sit and talk, Caprice be­comes more se­ri­ous. Born and bred in Cal­i­for­nia, she is di­rect and feels no em­bar­rass­ment talk­ing about money, about re­la­tion­ships, about Botox. ‘Yes I do it and I love it. I started af­ter I had kids. It fresh­ens up my face. I do have wrin­kles, I do have cel­lulite and I don’t re­ally care, but when I look in a mir­ror af­ter I’ve had Botox I think my face looks bet­ter. For me, it’s a good thing.’

We talk about Ty, her part­ner of five years, who she met through close friends a year af­ter he had split from his wife. ‘He is this tall, hand­some, quiet, aca­demic, solid man,’ she says. ‘I held out for some­one like him. He makes me happy, he’s a good fa­ther.’

Within a year of be­ing with Ty, Caprice knew she wanted chil­dren, but af­ter sev­eral rounds of IVF she was let down by the body that made her fame and for­tune. Doc­tors said her womb lin­ing was too thin to sup­port a baby. ‘So there were tears, there was heart­break, and then you work out how else you can be­come a mother,’ she says.

She opted for sur­ro­gacy, travelling with Ty to Cal­i­for­nia to find a woman to carry their bi­o­log­i­cal child. ‘We went to the States be­cause in Bri­tain a sur­ro­gate can change her mind and have a le­gal right to the child she has car­ried, even if it is your bi­o­log­i­cal baby,’ she says. ‘We didn’t want to take the risk.’

As part of the process, would-be sur­ro­gate moth­ers sub­mit re­sumés for po­ten­tial par­ents. Caprice wanted a sur­ro­gate who didn’t drink al­co­hol, smoke, take drugs and was quiet and re­li­gious. You have to won­der how she her­self would have fared: would she have picked some­one like her? ‘Hell no,’ she says bluntly. ‘I wanted some­one com­pletely op­po­site, I wanted to make sure ev­ery­thing would be all right.’

But, in a bizarre twist of fate, within months of the sur­ro­gacy tak­ing place, Caprice found out that she was preg­nant her­self and that her baby would be born within weeks of her sur­ro­gate baby (con­ceived by IVF us­ing her egg and Ty’s sperm).

‘For us, it was two mir­a­cles co­in­cid­ing – the sur­ro­gacy work­ing and then my preg­nancy,’ she says. ‘I was film­ing Splash! at the time and felt ex­hausted. When I missed my pe­riod I thought it was be­cause my body was un­der strain from the train­ing and all the IVF I had been through. When I fi­nally did a preg­nancy test we were stunned. I’d been told by doc­tors it was im­pos­si­ble.’

It has been writ­ten that Caprice is rais­ing her boys as twins and will not tell them which one was born by sur­ro­gate un­til they are 16. She shakes her head. ‘I don’t raise them as twins. They have sep­a­rate birth­days a few weeks apart, but we only have one party be­cause it would be silly at their age to do any­thing dif­fer­ent.’ As re­gards the sur­ro­gacy she looks se­ri­ous. ‘We see our sur­ro­gate about twice a year. She’s a lovely lady and my boys call her aun­tie, but as yet they don’t know any­thing more. We want to tell them, sooner rather than later, be­cause it’s not some­thing we want to leave as a big se­cret. It’s just find­ing the right words, the right way to tell them.’

Caprice has had more eggs frozen, but has de­cided against fur­ther at­tempts. ‘I feel I have been luck­ier than I ever thought I would be and that, at 45 with two boys, I have ev­ery­thing I ever wanted.’

There are no plans to marry Ty. ‘None,’ she says firmly. ‘I don’t want to get mar­ried. I never have. I want to be with Ty for ever but mar­riage is ugly and dif­fi­cult and it’s not some­thing I need.’

It is a strange choice of words. But there is a glit­ter­ing chip within Caprice that is straight from an F Scott Fitzger­ald story. To un­der­stand her you have to un­der­stand where she came from. Born in Ha­cienda Heights in Los An­ge­les County, she was named by her glam­orous in­te­rior de­signer mother Va­lerie af­ter a Doris Day movie. She grew up with her younger sis­ter Tif­fany sur­rounded by rel­a­tives, play­ing poker at week­ends and skiing dur­ing the win­ter. Her es­tate-agent fa­ther Dale left when she was four, af­ter di­vorc­ing Va­lerie, and never saw his daugh­ter again af­ter she turned nine.

It is, she ad­mits, the rea­son why she will

never marry. ‘It scarred me,’ she says. ‘I re­mem­ber the rows, I re­mem­ber these two peo­ple who fell out of love, and I re­mem­ber court cases over money. It was ugly.’

Re­mark­ably, Caprice has never had any ill feel­ing to­wards her fa­ther. She has al­ways, in in­ter­views, said she loved him. Now she is try­ing to stop tears fall­ing. Just weeks be­fore our meet­ing she dis­cov­ered he had died. ‘I didn’t have a re­la­tion­ship with him, but I have al­ways loved him and know there are two sides to ev­ery story. Just re­cently he left this earth, which was painful, but I know he looks af­ter me and my boys. He’s our guardian an­gel. I am proud to be his daugh­ter and hope I can make him just as proud.’

She asks to change the sub­ject. It is clear she has been hit by an emo­tional tsunami. I ask her about her mother, the woman who waved her good­bye at the age of 18 when, af­ter win­ning Miss Teen Cal­i­for­nia, she left home to be­come a model, work­ing for Vogue and Sports Il­lus­trated, travelling the world and even­tu­ally land­ing in Lon­don – the city she now con­sid­ers her home – at the age of 23.

‘My mother made me in­de­pen­dent,’ she says. ‘She gave me a great work ethic and a sense that I could be com­pletely fear­less.’

Her younger sis­ter (they are a year apart) works as a nurse and they re­main close. ‘My mum and my sis­ter are both very beau­ti­ful but much more volup­tuous than I am. I watch my weight be­cause I have the fat gene and can’t let it out.’ Ever the model, when she di­ets she just eats broc­coli, tofu and legumes and noth­ing af­ter 5pm. ‘I’m not so strict these days,’ she says, point­ing out a mi­cro­scopic tummy bulge. ‘But I al­ways have small por­tions and I never eat late.’

It is very easy to like Caprice, to see the grit be­neath the glam­our, the woman who has made the best of things, who turned a waste­land near her West Lon­don home into a com­mu­nity gar­den project that won her ac­co­lades from her neigh­bours. As she leaves, she re­turns to the sub­ject of her sons. ‘I loved my wild life be­fore all this,’ she says. ‘But I never knew hap­pi­ness like I have now and all I want is for this to last.’ As for those ski jumps? ‘I’m go­ing to sur­prise you.’ She al­ready has.

The Jump is on Chan­nel 4 tonight. By Caprice is avail­able from very.co.uk, look­a­gain.co.uk and way­fair.co.uk

My boys call our sur­ro­gate aun­tie, but as yet they don’t know any­thing more

CAPRICE WEARS COAT and EAR­RINGS, Dior. BODY, Wol­ford. NECK­LACE, Su­san Ca­plan. RING, Sav­age & Rose. SHOES, Top­shop

Above, from left: Caprice in the hot tub with Happy Mon­days band mem­ber Bez in Celebrity Big Brother, 2005; in the cur­rent series of The Jump and with her part­ner Ty Com­fort

DRESS, La Ma­nia. SHOES, Giuseppe Zan­otti

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