‘Wayne and I come from working-class families, so I want our boys to realise they have to work for what they want in life’
Saturdays star Frankie Bridge tells Gabrielle Fagan about her busy life as a mother and why she still hankers after the limelight
Frankie Bridge found fame with S Club Juniors in 2001, and from 2007 toured the world with The Saturdays — the girlband who had 13 top 10 hits and four top 10 albums. When the band took a break in 2014, she took part in BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing, reached the final, and married retired England footballer Wayne Bridge. The couple have two sons, Parker (4) and two-year-old Carter
The 28-year-old, who recently hosted ITV gameshow Cannonball with Freddie Flintoff, is frank about life, love and happiness.
For someone in the public eye, keeping in shape is important to the mother-of-two, but she has a healthy perspective on body image.
“I exercise for around an hour every day and see a trainer three times a week,” she says. “I do a mix of the running machine, the bike, the cross trainer, weights, Pilates and boxing.
“Most people who go on Instagram wish that they could be those women with so-called perfect bodies. Anyone who says they don’t is a massive liar.
“But as I’ve got older, I’ve stopped wishing for an unachievable body shape and have come to accept that I might be curvier than one person, but less curvy than another. Now I don’t compare myself with others.
“It’s hard to accept, but once you’ve done it, life’s easier and, because of that, I’m happier in my skin. I realise my exercise needs to suit my body and shape, so I train specifically for it.”
In 2012, Frankie spoke openly about the depression she had suffered on and off for seven years. So how does she look after her wellbeing now?
“I’m much more aware of how I feel nowadays and how to look after myself if I’m feeling a little bit overwhelmed or under the weather,” she says. “I know I need to get more sleep, get a night out with friends, chill with the family or just take a break and get the balance back.
“For me, being busy is good. I love working, being with Wayne and with the boys or seeing friends, so I prioritise what works for me.
“Regular exercise and eating healthily is essential, although if I’m out I’ll have a cheat day and indulge in yummy treats like pizza, doughnuts and chocolate.”
Frankie stresses that Wayne plays an important part in her happiness.
“He’s at the heart of it — I feel very lucky to have Wayne,” she says. “He’s an amazing hands-on dad and so supportive of me.
“If Wayne sees that I’ve been at home too long and I’m getting a bit restless, he’ll say, ‘You need to go back to work now’. We train together now. He’s still as passionate about health and sport as when he was playing and loves putting me through my paces
“I think it’s massively important for us to get time together. If you’re a happy couple, your kids are happy and then you’ve got a happier home. We have romantic nights out regularly, but neither of us mind the other going out separately with friends.”
Life with two young children is obviously busy, but would she like to add to her family? “Not at the moment, but never say never. I’m only 28, so there’s plenty of time left. I love being a young mum and I’ve got my hands full because the boys are very lively — a proper little double act.
“They really stick together, and Parker tells us off if we try to tell Carter off, which is funny. They’re quite different from each other. Parker’s shy and thoughtful, like me, whereas Carter’s more confident, a bit of a wind-up merchant and plunges in all-guns-blazing, just like Wayne!”
The family have a comfortable lifestyle, but Frankie is clear that there are important life lessons they would like to pass on to their children.
“Wayne and I come from working-class families and we’ve both worked hard from a really young age, so I want our boys to realise that whatever they want — money, a job, or a relationship — they have to work for it and that you don’t deserve to get anything for nothing,” she says.
“I want to encourage them to stay true to themselves and not worry about what other people think. I was very sensitive and wish I hadn’t cared so much about other people’s opinions when I was younger. Just being themselves as much as possible and being confident is what I want for them.”
Having spent a large part of her life — some 15 years — performing with S Club Juniors and The Saturdays, Frankie admits she misses the buzz of going on stage before a live audience and reveals that she still has one big ambition.
“I do miss performing — it’s a big part of who I am, although I felt I stepped back into that when I did Strictly Come Dancing,” she says. “Now though, I love being able to pick and choose more of what I do, whereas in The Saturdays it was manic as our schedule was 24/7 and 365 days a year.
“Presenting Cannonball with Freddie (Flintoff) was really fun and I’d also love to try musical theatre in the future.”
Frankie is aware that her looks — particularly her hairstyle — will always command attention from her many fans and she is keen to change to her style on a regular basis.
“I love my short hair — I feel more ‘me’ — but I think it’s good to keep refreshing your look, whether it’s a dramatic hair cut or just a simple change in how you put it up or using extensions for length,” she explains.
“I love dressing up when I go out, but when I’m at home classic jeans and jumper are my go-to outfit as they’re practical — especially when you’re chasing after two boys!”