Caprice: 'I promised if I survived my brain tumour op I would change my lifestyle... and I have'
Former model Caprice tells Gabrielle Fagan how her medical ordeal inspired some big changes, and why she feels happier and more successful than ever
Supermodel-turned-entrepreneur Caprice Bourret seemingly had the world at her feet - until, in 2017, in a shattering blow she discovered she had a brain tumour. The mother-of-two (she and her partner, Ty Comfort, welcomed sons Jax and Jett three weeks apart in 2013 - one was carried by a surrogate, while Caprice discovered she was pregnant at the same time) was devastated to learn that the headaches she'd suffered while competing in Channel 4's reality winter sports show, The Jump, were being caused by a brain tumour.
Although not cancerous, she needed risky surgery to remove it. Afterwards, California-born Caprice admitted: "I was so happy that I woke up, because you just don't know. And when you wake up, you don't know if you're going to be the same."
Fully recovered, Caprice (47) is now enjoying further success (a new homeware range, By Caprice Home for Dunelm, plus a starring role in In2ruders on Amazon Prime) and reveals that two years on, the "terrifying" medical experience has changed her life - for the better.
Here, she tells us more...
How has having a brain tumour affected you?
"I don't think I've still fully processed what I went through. To say it was terrifying is an understatement. But I actually look on that happening as a totally 100% positive thing. I needed a wake-up call - sometimes the universe sends you a sign - and it's been a huge awakening.
"I promised myself if I survived, I'd change my lifestyle completely, and I have. Before, I owned my own business and was a workaholic, working 13-hour days and more. Now I've licensed it out and have way more time with my children. I'm actually making more money and have just launched my latest wonderful home range, By Caprice Home for Dunelm.
"My whole approach to life has altered - I'm so much more positive. Before, nothing was ever my fault, I always looked for someone or something to blame, but now I've taken responsibility for everything in my life. So if bad or indifferent things happen, I simply resolve to change them for the better."
What got you through that tough time?
"My partner Ty was my rock. We were so close anyway, but going through that has given us a very special connection. He was the only person I told when I got my diagnosis and before the operation, because I didn't want to share it with anyone else until I'd gone through it and come out the other side.
"Having the brain tumour has made me a hypochondriac though. I go to the doctors for a check-up about every three to six months and have scans. Even my doctor has started saying it's unnecessary and he's told me I'll live 'til I'm 95. But every headache still makes me think, 'Oh my God, has it come back?' - even though I've been told there's no likelihood of a recurrence.
"You just jump to conclusions and make up doom-laden blockbusters in your head. That will probably never go away, but in a way it's quite good because it's made me more careful about looking after myself and not taking my health for granted."
What does motherhood mean to you?
"Motherhood got me through that medical trauma. My boys gave me a purpose to say: 'I'm going to fight this and be fine'. I just kept telling myself I needed to survive without any ill effects - partial paralysis was mentioned at one point - because I needed all my health and strength to look after my two beautiful little boys.
"I amazed the doctors with the speed of my recovery and was working two weeks after the operation. Being a parent is one of the most unselfish things you do in life and it's given me the biggest joy and made me the happiest I've ever been.
"I was as tough as nails before I had them, but I've become a much better, nicer person. I'm much more vulnerable though, because I worry so much about them and keeping them safe. Actually, it's a constant battle not to over-stress about them, but I'm working on it."
How are you enjoying acting again?
"I feel it's a privilege. I've been taking acting classes three times a week for a year now because I take it really seriously.
"The last role I had was in Baywatch in 2001, so I've really missed TV. I'm ruthless and murder someone in In2ruders, so it was a role I could really get stuck into!"
Do you miss your life as a supermodel?
"I had a ball and I partied like a rock star in those days. It was all about my ego - me, me, me - and you become obsessed with that. I literally believed my own hype and the ego gets bigger and bigger the more famous you get.
"If I wasn't flying first-class, I'd throw a strop. I was so spoilt. With hindsight, you realise it's all so superficial and bulls***.
"I was a wild child and before I met Ty, I loved my toy boys. I kissed so many goddamn toads before him.
"So occasionally, I miss the glamorous lifestyle and the parties but I'd never swap my life now for that old one - I'm so happy and fulfilled now.
"When I retired and went into business, so many people put me down and thought, 'Model, no brains, she might have the looks but she'll never do it'. I was determined to prove them all wrong."
By Caprice Home is available from Dunelm.com. Caprice stars in In2ruders, available now on Amazon Prime