Jenny Frost: My life, loves and loss after Atomic Kitten
Former pop star Jenny Frost tells Gabrielle Fagan about finding a new man, parenthood and the effect of her own mother’s sad death.
Jenny Frost is running around the garden of her home chasing her lively four-year-old son and looking the picture of contentment. “Life's so good that I have to pinch myself to make sure I'm not dreaming,” says the former Atomic Kitten, who's forged a successful career on TV as a presenter on shows including BBC Three's Snog Marry Avoid?
Blonde, pretty and vivacious and with two beautiful homes, one in Cheshire where she's currently living, and a seven-bedroom mansion in Ibiza, it's easy to assume that the girl from Merseyside has had an easy, carefree path to happiness.
In fact, Frost reveals her happy-ever-after ending has been hard won. Two years ago she faced a personal crisis when her mother, Rita, died and she also had to cope with a relationship break-up with DJ Dominic Thrupp, to whom she was engaged for eight years and who is the father of her son, Caspar.
“It was a very dark, difficult time for me in 2010 and probably the worst period I've ever been through,” says the 34-year-old.
“My mum dying was such a shock. She was only 60 and she got lung cancer, even though she had never smoked in her life. I don't think anything can ever prepare you for the loss of a parent.
“It completely knocked me for six because despite the fact in the past we'd clashed as mothers and daughters can, and we both had faults and flaws, since I'd had Caspar we'd become so close.
“She was a wonderful nana and our relationship was getting stronger and stronger.”
Ultimately, the grief and trauma of losing her mother proved to be a turning point for the girl who started out in girl group Precious before replacing Kerry Katona in the chart-topping band Atomic kitten from 2001 until 2008, when they split.
“It changed everything for me and made me realise that I was not living the life I wanted to lead and I had to make changes.
“I had to be brave and face the fact that the relationship with Caspar's dad had run its course, and we were both different people who had to go our separate ways.
“There was a lot of heartbreak and it was even tougher because I was making changes on Caspar's behalf as well, which was a big responsibility.”
Around the same time she also experienced another loss when her beloved pet dachshund dog died.
“It felt like one blow after another at the time. Losing him was like losing a friend, as I was devoted to him. I'm passionate about animals because as a child our home was like a menagerie with birds, cats, dogs,” says Frost, who's backing the cat pain awareness campaign Spot The Signs.
“My cat, Mishi, is 15 and I'm very conscious that you have to be on the alert to look for signs, maybe small changes in behaviour, which shows a cat may be unwell.
“Cats are particularly good at hiding symptoms or chronic conditions such as arthritis. It can mean delays in treatment and them experiencing unnecessary suffering, which is a horrible thought.”
Gradually, with the support of family and friends, Frost came to terms with her own grief and the changes in her life.
“Now I feel that by surviving that time and my mum's death, I can almost survive anything. I take comfort in the fact that I believe in angels and know my mum is watching over me,” she says.
“It's extraordinary that whenever I feel sad or down, a white feather will appear, which is known as a guardian angel's calling card.
“I've had lots of them appear at different times and I don't think there can be any other explanation other than that they are a sign from her that I'm being looked after.”
Last year, Frost, who was a co-host with Jeff Brazier on OK! TV, found new love with Spanish scuba diving school owner Vicente ‘Vinnie' Juan Spiteri, and they married in August.
“We'd known each other over the years and our paths had crossed many times, but we'd never really acknowledged each other,” she says.
“I was just plodding along and not actually looking to meet anyone. But all of a sudden, fate, which I really believe in, decreed that the time was right and we suddenly realised how right we were for each other.
“I can honestly say life couldn't be better. I'm really, really happy and it's wonderful to be married because I believe it's really unified us as a family.
“Vinnie is so gorgeous, I absolutely fancy the pants off him. Most importantly, he's also the
sweetest, most generous person you could ever meet. He never ceases to amaze me with his kindness and our life together just gets better.”
Patently, Frost also delights in motherhood and said goodbye to her former partying lifestyle for good when she became pregnant.
“It wasn't a sacrifice because I was thrilled to be pregnant and Caspar is a delight.
“He's such a funny, sweet, independent little boy and motherhood has fulfilled me more than anything else I've ever done. I'm good at it and I'm proud of that.
“Dom is still a big part of his son's life, and Caspar and Vinnie get on so well together. They're like ‘double trouble' and gang up on me and do ‘boys' things together. Hopefully, we'll have kids in the future.”
She's recently been filming a travel programme for Channel 5 and has other projects in the pipeline, and she juggles her career commitments with family life.
“It's hectic but that's the way I like it. Mum dying changed my outlook on life, and made me really appreciate all the good things I have — my health, my family and my friends, including, of course, the Kittens, Natasha [Hamilton] and Liz [McClarnon]. We're like sisters and I know we'll be friends for life.
“Now, while I plan long term for Caspar, I definitely live for the day for myself, and recognise that life is short and there is no point in delaying things.
“I believe that you can cosmically order things, which is a form of positive thinking where you focus on what you want out of life and work towards it happening.
“People can laugh at it, even Vinnie does sometimes, but it doesn't worry me. I find it helpful and just feel grateful for everything that I've been given so far and have faith in the future.”
For more information on the Spot the Signs campaign, visit facebook.com/spotcatpain