Ex­clu­sive: Su­sanna Reid on find­ing love and putting up with Piers mor­gan!

Su­sanna Reid, 47, talks to Nathalie Whit­tle about putting up with Piers Mor­gan, be­ing back in the dat­ing game – and why age­ing is a bless­ing…

Woman & Home - - Editor’s Letter -

Few celebri­ties would feel com­fort­able ar­riv­ing at a photo shoot dressed in their py­ja­mas (a black velour one­sie, in case you’re won­der­ing) – well, you haven’t met Su­sanna Reid yet. This is a woman who has no qualms to ad­mit that what you see each morn­ing on Good Morn­ing Bri­tain is far from re­al­ity. “I rarely get recog­nised in the street be­cause I’m in the make-up chair for about 45 min­utes be­fore go­ing on air – and with­out that, I look quite dif­fer­ent,” she tells me.

Su­sanna’s pre­sent­ing ca­reer be­gan at BBC News 24, fol­lowed by a move to BBC News Chan­nel, then BBC Break­fast, in 2003, where she re­mained for 11 years be­fore de­part­ing for ITV’s ri­val pro­gramme, Good Morn­ing Bri­tain. Dur­ing that time, she’s han­dled ev­ery­thing from break­ing news to prickly politi­cians, but per­haps her big­gest chal­lenge to date has been work­ing with one of TV’s most Mar­mite pre­sen­ters, Piers Mor­gan, who joined the show in 2015. Yet af­ter a pe­riod of what she calls “ad­just­ment”, rat­ings be­gan to soar and the show now at­tracts its big­gest ever au­di­ence – prov­ing that no chal­lenge is too great for this break­fast star. Su­sanna lives in Lon­don and has three sons, Sam,

15, Finn, 14, and Jack, 12, with her ex­part­ner, Do­minic Cot­ton, from whom she split in 2014 af­ter 15 years to­gether.

When I found out Piers was join­ing me on the GMB sofa, the first thing I did was ask my edi­tor if I could take my mi­cro­phone off. He’s not ex­actly a small per­son­al­ity and he’s not some­body who’s go­ing to make things easy for you. it was one of those mo­ments where i needed a mo­ment to re­act with­out the en­tire team lis­ten­ing!

He’s turned my nor­mal work­ing life on its head in a bril­liant way be­cause he’s so dy­namic – but he re­ally does wind me up. He likes to keep prod­ding me un­til i re­act and the ar­gu­ments you see on-air do ex­tend off-air. We have a very lively ed­i­to­rial meet­ing be­fore we go on – Piers is on speak­er­phone as he’s al­ways late as he only needs three min­utes in hair and make-up – and we might dis­agree about the choice of guest or what we want to get out of an in­ter­view. i’ve def­i­nitely had to learn to mod­er­ate my re­sponses slightly.

I think Piers would quite like the fact that our re­la­tion­ship has been called flir­ta­tious be­fore, but I cer­tainly don’t. i don’t un­der­stand it at all. What we have is just a lot of ban­ter. We have been known to have a night out to­gether too, but we can only do two or three a year be­cause when we go out, we go large! the last time we did it was for my birth­day last De­cem­ber, and we were par­ty­ing un­til about 3am.

Early on in my ca­reer, I prob­a­bly wouldn’t have been able to hold my own against some­one like Piers, but there’s a ben­e­fit to be­ing a mid­dleaged woman on TV. i’m 47 now and i’ve been do­ing this job in some shape or form for about 25 years. i’ve built up a lot of re­silience in that time and that re­ally is the key. i truly be­lieve that age­ing is a bless­ing to us all. >>

One of the things I learnt from Bill Turn­bull [Su­sanna’s for­mer co-pre­sen­ter at BBC Break­fast] is that it’s OK to make mis­takes. We all ap­proach our jobs think­ing we have to be ab­so­lutely spot on all the time, and when we make mis­takes, we go, “Oh God, I’m not very good at what I do” – but ac­tu­ally, that’s part of what you do. So now, when Piers and I ar­gue or I mess up – which I do – I don’t try to sweep it un­der the car­pet; I own it.

I get very caught up emo­tion­ally in sto­ries – I’ve cried on air a num­ber of times. I’m learn­ing to try and keep a lid on my feel­ings be­cause you don’t want them to swamp the cov­er­age, but I’m a hu­man be­ing and I don’t have a heart of stone. How can you not feel the pain of a mother look­ing for her 15-year-old daugh­ter af­ter the Manch­ester bomb­ing?

I deleted Twit­ter off my phone re­cently and that’s been in­cred­i­bly lib­er­at­ing. I’ve been tar­geted by trolls be­fore and when some­one has a go at you, it can feel re­ally bad. Piers al­ways says to me, “Oh it’s just some spotty geek in a base­ment,” but I’ve def­i­nitely been crit­i­cised by some well-known names and I’ve thought to my­self, “I don’t think you need to say things like that, do you?” It’s a ter­ri­ble dis­trac­tion from the things that re­ally mat­ter in life.

Be­lieve it or not, my plan A was to act. I did a TV se­ries called The Price with Har­riet Wal­ter at 13. But it didn’t take me long to re­alise I didn’t have the ded­i­ca­tion – or the skill – to be one of those peo­ple who gets a sat­is­fy­ing ca­reer out of it. If I got of­fered a role now? I don’t think I’d take it, but hav­ing said that, Piers is al­ways telling us about the mil­lions he gets from his Hol­ly­wood movie ca­reer…

I’m at a point in my life where I’m just en­joy­ing what I’m do­ing in the mo­ment, but one thing I have thought about is writ­ing my own mo­ti­va­tional book. Self-help books are a real pas­sion of mine – Brené Brown’s are my favourite – and I think all of us women ben­e­fit from learn­ing about how peo­ple have got to where they are and how they’ve dealt with the dif­fi­cult times.

I might look very “on” when I’m on Tv, but I’ve def­i­nitely had days, weeks even, where I’ve felt low – don’t we all? That’s why it’s so im­por­tant to me to switch out of work mode and de­com­press with my chil­dren when I get home.

One of the tough­est things about be­ing a work­ing mum is the guilt – you can’t es­cape it. I’ve had times where I’ve had to travel abroad and not be with them or I’ve had to miss events be­cause of some­thing that’s go­ing on at work – and that’s hard. As the boys are get­ting older, I’m find­ing that they’re not so de­pen­dent on me

phys­i­cally, but they’re much more de­pen­dent on me emo­tion­ally, so I’m try­ing to be there for them more than ever.

The chal­lenge of go­ing through a sep­a­ra­tion is do­ing what’s right for them. My own par­ents di­vorced when I was nine and I know that when your par­ents are in con­flict, it makes you feel un­com­fort­able. I think the se­cret is to be as emo­tion­ally gen­er­ous to­wards each other as you can – that’s what Dom and I try to do and we’ve man­aged to re­main good friends. Of course there are dif­fi­cul­ties along the way, but right now we’re in a great place and that gives me real peace of mind.

I def­i­nitely haven’t ruled out the pos­si­bil­ity of hav­ing an­other re­la­tion­ship; I’m to­tally open to find­ing love again. Does it feel strange or scary to date again? If I’m hon­est, not re­ally, but my boys are al­ways at the back of my mind. I’m not on dat­ing web­sites and I’m not ac­tively go­ing out and look­ing for it. But if at some point some­thing hap­pens, I wouldn’t shy away from it.

I’m lucky to have a fan­tas­tic bunch of friends in my life who will get me through any­thing. You don’t of­ten make new friends as you get older, but when I did Strictly back in 2014, Natalie Gumede and I be­came very close and we spend a lot of time to­gether now.

When life gets busy, the one thing I let slip is ex­er­cise… and my diet. I do try to go to the gym when I can, but I find that when I come home from work all I want to do is eat and crash. I’ll get in and be su­per healthy with a poached egg on rye toast and av­o­cado, then I’ll have a nap un­til

Good Morn­ing Bri­tain airs week­days from 6am on ITV w&h

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