'Being a mum has made me give up my life in the fast lane'
Supermodel Jodie Kidd reveals that her devotion to her son and new husband has given her a new positive outlook on life
Motherhood and love are powerful forces and it seems both have combined to persuade Jodie Kidd to temper her addiction to the fast lane of life.
While the supermodel and TV presenter's been famed over the years for her fearlessness - demonstrated by her motor-racing and equestrian exploits - her approach to risk nowadays is clearly influenced by her devotion to her three-year-old son, Indio as well as her new-found contentment in marriage.
Kidd (36), who's the glamorous face of fashion brand, Jaeger, married ex-soldier, author and model David Blakeley in August and she declares: "David's an absolute angel and I don't think it would be possible to be happier than I am now. I'm very lucky and spoilt with a beautiful husband, amazing little boy, a brilliant career, and everything just seems to be on track."
The prodigiously talented sportswoman initially found fame as an uber-thin 6ft 2 model when she was only a teenager in the 1990s and, after a hugely successful career, remarkably went on to race cars competitively, won the World Polo championships, and still plays in international golf competitions.
"In the past, I've lived life physically in the fast lane because of my love of sport and speed but motherhood has certainly slowed me down an awful lot," she admits. "Biologically there's a self-preservation button that kicks in and you know you have a responsibility for a little person who really needs you and of course also to the people that you love and who love you. It's a restraint these days even though I still race and ride."
Kidd's currently travelling the world fulfilling her role as a co-presenter on TV series, the Classic Car Show, so while she may not be hitting those top speeds of her past life, she's patently still living at her characteristic full-on pace. That's amply demonstrated by her whirlwind 10-month romance. She and her husband met in November 2013 shortly after she had split from Argentinian polo player, Andrea Vianini, the father of her son.
"I certainly wasn't looking for love. I was just happy plodding along but life can sometimes throw you a curve ball and you just have to go with it," she explains, as she chats at her sprawling 16th century country home in West Sussex.
"When you see someone who ticks all the boxes, you don't hesitate and meeting David was the most amazing thing in the world. We have such a lot of fun together and we're very compatible." After they met, it emerged they had competed in the same riding events as teenagers without realising it. She credits her 36-year-old husband with renewing her faith in marriage which was severely dented following her parents' 2006 break-up after 33 years together, followed a year later by the end of her own brief first marriage when she was 26.
"I had given up on marriage, but David has totally restored my faith in it," she says smiling.
"I think the older you get, you know who you are, what you want, what's important and you can recognise the real thing. It's not like being in your twenties when you're uncertain about yourself, where you're going and have insecurities. By your mid-thirties everything's become a little bit clearer."
Her husband's love and support has had another unexpected spin-off - a soaring of her confidence. A few months ago, with his encouragement, she drove again for the first time at Silverstone, where seven years ago a crash damaged her confidence so badly she abandoned racing competitively.
"I had a massive crash and spun the car at 100-odd miles an hour. I smashed into the pit wall, ricocheted off and smashed into the other side. Although I escaped with bad bruising, I lost my nerve after that," she says ruefully.
"When I got the chance this summer to take a car out on the same track, it was really scary. I'm a lot slower and warier now on a track but I still love it. David was there when I did it and I think when you have a soul mate, it gives you confidence. Coping with those sort of challenges is far easier when you have stability and happiness at home."
Juggling family life and her career in television - she's competed in Strictly Come Dancing and reached the final in Celebrity MasterChef in 2014 - isn't easy, but Kidd's track record makes it apparent she clearly relishes any opportunity to test herself.
"It can be difficult to get the balance between being a mother, wife, lover, career woman and I know I'm not alone in finding it tricky. I think you just have to be aware of what you have to do and what your priorities are and keep trying to get it right," she says.
"I absolutely love being a mother. Indio is a clever, funny little boy and every day is such a treat with him. David's a wonderful stepdad to him - I couldn't have asked for him to be better and fingers crossed we will have children together. We're just going to wait and see what happens. But we're very happy as we are and it's important we have time for ourselves as a couple."
Kidd reflects that she's learnt over the years not to be as trusting of people as she was when young.
"I had a wonderful, loving, lovely childhood and that made me very open and trusting, but I discovered people can use and abuse that," she says. "It takes time to become a little more knowing and aware and I had to do that as I grew up in the media spotlight for much of my life.
"I have no regrets as all the experiences of my life have made me who I am today. Living with regret is a waste of precious time. Life is so harmonious but exciting as well and I have so much to look forward to."