During the past three decades Amanda Holden has carved a successful career as one of the nation’s favourite actresses and TV personalities. And after a tumultuous few years of personal triumphs and tragedies, the Britain’s Got Talent judge is finally telling her side of the story in a new autobiography. She chatted to Kathryn Tye.
It was a near death experience which prompted television star Amanda Holden to decide to write her autobiography.
The mum-of-two spent three days in an intensive care unit last year due to serious complications arising from the birth of her second daughter Hollie.
Amanda said: “It may sound dramatic, but when I nearly died, I realised I needed to tell my children my story.
“And although I don’t want it to be read by them straight away, as it is quite grown-up, it is like a legacy for them really.”
But the 42-year-old admits that writing the book was anything but easy.
“It was torturous. I know a lot of celebrities who ‘write’ their autobiographies and don’t even read them, but I spent hours, mainly when Hollie was napping, writing, calling friends up to get anecdotes, and checking facts with my mum about my childhood.
“It took a year, and it was arduous, but it is a book I’m really proud of so I’m really relieved it is in print and looks good.”
Amanda describes writing the autobiography, which includes deeply personal experiences such as the stillbirth of her seven-month-old son in 2011, as a cathartic experience.
She said: “The story has been covered a lot in the media, but never really from my aspect in depth.
Amanda Holden's autobiography, No Holding Back
“It was pretty tough to write it and my husband found it hard to read it as it brought the memories flooding back.
“But I took that as a good thing as it had to be true for him and the memory of our son. It is something that now the book’s out, I won’t ever speak about again.
“I want to draw a line under it now. But it was a good exorcism to be able to write about it.”
Amanda also hopes that being completely open and honest about her personal life in the book will encourage the media to move on to other topics.
“I think that if your stuff’s been written about, there’s no questions to be asked so hopefully good journalists will think of different questions now.
“I don’t want to answer the same old thing anymore. It is a cliche but I am moving on to a new chapter. I want to move on to the second part of my life now, and enjoy it, with less complications.”
And the normally glamorous Amanda is also remarkably honest in her choice of photos for the book, many of which are less than flattering.
“Most celebrity biographies have really beautiful photos of the star - mine has got career-ending photos in. I think that is funnier, to be honest. It is literally a moles and all book - as I have had quite a few removed since some of the photos were taken!”
But despite her lack of vanity in the book, Amanda admits to loving getting dressed up for ITV talent show Britain’s Got Talent, which she has judged since it started back in 2007.
“When it started, I was there with brown hair and wearing jeans. I would get such a big cross in the fashion magazines for that now!
“I love the whole make-up and hair and dresses thing, and I love my team, we have such a laugh. But when I go to events, I often wish I could just walk up the red carpet, have my photo taken, walk out and then go via McDonald’s and watch it from home. Nine times out of 10, showbiz events aren’t as exciting as everybody thinks they are.”
Amanda Holden, David Walliams, Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon
Amanda has acquired an impressive CV during the past three decades, with a diverse range of roles on stage and screen, but cites Britain’s Got Talent as the best gig.
She said: “It is my favourite job of my entire career.
“We are really mad in Britain, and I love that. The most outlandish acts are the ones that are my favourites. There was the person who was the human dartboard. A friend threw darts in his back which was hideous. I don’t even know if we showed that on telly. And there was this old woman covered in tattoos who broke patio slabs on her next door neighbour’s back with a sledgehammer. How do you even think of doing that?”
Amanda and her fellow judges, Simon Cowell, Alesha Dixon and David Walliams will start filming auditions in January next year, and the series will be screened on television in the run-up to Easter.
It will be a special time for the panel, as all four will be parents of children under two by the time it airs, with Alesha and David both recently welcoming new arrivals, and Simon’s first child due early next year.
Amanda said: “It is amazing. I will run the creche, I think that would be quite fun.
“I haven’t got any parenting advice for Simon. I think the only thing that is going to throw Simon is the amount of love he is going to feel for the baby. It will change him forever.”
She added: “All those years of theatre and TV really paid off because it means that I can sit in that judge’s seat quite rightfully. I have done every aspect of the business and I’m still going, which I am so grateful for. But I will never think of myself as a celebrity. I’m just me and I happen to be on the telly.”
Amanda Holden will be signing copies of No Holding Back at Waterstones in Bluewater on Saturday, October 26. It starts at noon and admission is free. Call 01322 624831.