Caprice: "Becoming a mother has saved me from myself"
One-time wild-child Caprice tells Barry Egan how her parents' divorce when she was four affected her relationships in later life. She also talks about her drink-driving scandal and how she's stopped drinking vodka like it was water
This lady was not for turning. January, 2005, in the Big Brother house: Caprice's progress was blocked dramatically by Bez, the slightly potty one from Happy Mondays. The one-time Miss Teen California - despite being lathered in unflattering gunk and wearing a bikini - stood her ground and roared at him in her best Valley girl drawl: "Get your ass outta my face."
When Germaine Greer came out of the BB house she had this to say about her blonde housemate: "Beneath a soft and yielding exterior lies stern self-discipline and a will of iron."
Her two favourite books are de rigueur for supermodels on a spiritual search: Many Lives, Many Masters, by Brian Weiss and The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success, by Deepak Chopra.
Caprice talks like a raw extract from the two aforesaid tomes when she says she believes that on her "journey" - possibly her favourite word - "you can achieve anything you want in life", but you have to be prepared to work your derriere off, and "have love and passion for what you do, don't be greedy, look after the people that look after you and never give up".
She has never been one to give up, even when doing so might have seemed the only course open to her. One of the reviews of her new autobiography Caprice: My Boys, My Body, My Business, noted that this book will inspire many women who have given up hope of motherhood.
The 44-year-old talks with undiluted love about her sons Jax and Jett with her partner Ty Comfort. One was born via a surrogate and the other carried by herself, and they were delivered just weeks apart in September, 2013, after a miscarriage and three failed IVF attempts.
She told Hello magazine after the birth of her "miracle" children: "Our gestational carrier is part of my family now and I'm forever grateful for the kindness and selflessness she has shown us. Like every career woman, I worked so hard at being successful, I left it a little late. But then to fall pregnant after our gestational carrier did was a miracle."
She takes out her phone and plays me a video of one of her children singing Let It Go from Disney's Frozen in the kitchen at home in London. "Hang on! Wait for the encore! Isn't that just adorable?" she coos, before going into a long homage to her two angels and her other half, Mr Comfort.
"Things just change. I have calmed down and I love it. It's nice because I think I'm taken a lot more seriously now. My whole image has now changed dramatically. I think it is a much more of a grown-up, credible image, because I have grown up. Finally. At 44."
When I last spoke to Caprice in 2010, she said she was on a search for love - not a husband. She hasn't changed her mind about wedlock. "I told you before. I would never, I am not interested in marriage."
"You couldn't pay me - maybe a billion - to go back," Caprice says, referring to her wild late-twenties right through to her mid-thirties. "I was pretty reckless when I got my DUI [driving under the influence]."
Caprice was arrested on December 10, 2005, for being one-and-a-half times the legal drink-drive limit. The following year, the star was disqualified from driving for 12 months after being found guilty of drink-driving in London. She admitted drinking but blamed medication she was taking for a urinary infection.
Caprice says now that it was a blessing in the end. She adds that she could have killed herself - "or worse, I could have killed someone else".
"Thank God, I got pulled over, and I got punished for it. I learned my lesson. That's for sure," she says.
Was she drinking like that to block out something in her head?
"No. I was just having fun. I would only drink when I was with all the girls. We'd go out and have a party and then I'd go home."
Was there an underlying depression?
"No. I think it was when the media stopped supporting me and I lost two of my stockists of my lingerie and my business was affected - that's when I kind of went to my low point. So it wasn't before," she clarifies.
"Remember, I made my first million at 25. I'm from nothing. I'm a grafter. And I went nuts. I just thought: 'Holy smokes. I've got all this crazy fame, and a lot of money. This is unreal.' And I went crazy. And then when this happened [DUI] to me, it jolted me. I went through a bit of a depression after that."
Romantic relationships seemed to be an issue for you, I suggest.
"Because I didn't want to get serious. I wanted to focus on my work. I was having so much fun. But I didn't believe in cheating as well. So, whenever I wanted to go out with somebody else I would break up.
"My mom is tough. She said: 'Get off your ass and change. Be responsible. Change your friends. Change your lifestyle. Enough of being a wild child. I am not going to sit here and appease you like all your friends.'"
It took Caprice "about a year" to do it properly.
"I think the universe was trying to tell me this for so long and I just wasn't listening," Caprice continues. "Then I turned things around. I stopped drinking vodka like it was water and went out with much more age-appropriate men."
How age-inappropriate was she in her love life?
"I wasn't that bad. The worst I did was 10 years younger. And that was only once. Normally it was between three to six years younger. And all short."
They were literally toy boys.
"They were proper toy boys," she laughs. "Conversation was just not on the agenda. It was quite superficial. So I went from toy boys to Ty - a man six years older than me."
Long before Ty rode to her rescue, the tabloids had something of a field day, linking her over the years with everyone from Tony Adams to Prince Andrew.
Far more damaging than any tabloid stories was perhaps the fact that her parents divorced when Caprice was four. Asked did that effect her psychologically in terms of how she viewed normal relationships, she answers: "Of course it did. I saw what hell ... it was just a nasty divorce. I just thought, 'this marriage thing is totally overrated'. It was awful. But you can't blame your parents."
As she writes in her new memoir: "Everything changed for me in 1989 when I won Miss Teen California, and my world kind of tipped on its axis." Immediately approached to go into modelling, Caprice did her first major calendar shoot in 1990. Not long after, she was on the cover of Vogue Mexico and landed a big gig in a lingerie campaign for Calvin Klein. When she arrived in London in the summer of 1995 to work for Select Models, she says she knew her destiny lay in London. It was here Caprice Bourret became simply Caprice.
She turned herself into a brand. The once shy Californian girl would go on to become unimaginably wealthy as the CEO of all her 'by Caprice' products.
Does she have any sort of relationship now with her father? She shakes her head.
She has a fantastic, loving relationship with her mother, though. "My mother is my best friend. She's a power house."
Caprice can remember when she arrived in London from California in 1996 and created a global stir in a diaphanous Gianni Versace dress at the National Television Awards. The tabloids, hungry for a new Elizabeth Hurley, went hog mad. The Observer noted, unkindly, even erroneously, that Caprice Bourret embodies "the late-postmodern age of British celebrity culture. She is not simply famous for being famous. She is famous for being famous for being famous." She was on the cover of every publication: Vogue, Maxim, Sports Illustrated, GQ. She seemed to be photographed out every night with a succession of boyfriends. You wondered how she had time for sleep.
Caprice's life these days involves "not a lot of sleep" because of her children.
"It's busy. I'd say in the last four years, work has gone on the back burner. Now I've got the flame going again, the ambition going again. I want to do things that I've never done before to have a proper future for the kids [both two now] because it is so expensive. The price of schools is shocking for me."
Unsurprisingly, motherhood has changed Caprice's life.
"You don't think about yourself any more. Everything is about the children. I was very much about me-me-me. I was a f***ing wild child."
How she looks back on that person is, she says, without regret. Be that as it may, Caprice adds that if she were to go back in time she would do things differently.
"I would have stopped being so wild at a younger age. I know that is what youth is about, but I took it to the extreme. I took [being a wild child] to 35 years old. I never got into the drugs but I drank vodka like it was water. I just didn't care what anyone thought. I just wanted to go nuts.
"I thank God, because now I go to sleep at 9.30pm and there isn't any place in the world I'd rather be than right next to my children. I don't watch anything but Curious George and Peppa Pig. And I love 'em!" she hoots.
"And with work, you take much more calculated risks and you think in a much smarter way," she says of her latest brand By Caprice Home. "It's beddings, bed spreads, pillows."
I joke that the advertising campaign should be something like Sleep With Caprice.
"I might nick that from you," she laughs. "It has been all going really well. With me now, it is all about working even harder."
She said she "went nuts". I ask her how she put her life back together.
"It's just really when you have children. Actually, it was about a year before, because that's when I was trying to have kids, and I went through quite a lot; through that whole process."
The culmination of that process was when she met her multi-millionaire investor beau Ty in the summer of 2011. After all the toads she'd kissed, what made Ty special?
"You are going to think I'm mad, but this is a bit of a mad idea."
The idea centres around Caprice writing down as many adjectives as possible for her perfect man - for the record, there were 78 adjectives. It included everything from 'good looking' to 'accepting' and 'hard-working'.
Once the list was compiled, Caprice then put her precious piece of paper under her pillow "and meditated over it". She did that for approximately a year-and-a-half.
"And then, Ty popped up. Ty was every single adjective on the list but one."
By Caprice Lingerie and By Caprice Home collections are available now from Littlewoods Ireland. Caprice's autobiography My Boys, My Body My Business is out now. Available at Amazon