Kimberly Wyatt: ‘I felt so awful that I was convinced I’d cancer... so when I found out I that was pregnant it was a huge relief’
The former Pussycat Dolls star talks to Gabrielle Fagan about her 'surprise' pregnancy, being a good role model and why husband Max is an amazing father
Earlier this year, between February and April, Kimberly Wyatt felt so unwell that she started to worry she had cancer. "I felt so awful day and night, couldn't face food, was sometimes sick, and became convinced I was seriously ill," explains the former Pussycat Doll (37).
"It was pretty bad and I thought it might be my turn for cancer. There's a statistic that around one in two people get cancer at some point their lives, which is unreal."
Her worry partly stems from personal experience of family and friends suffering with the disease.
"I've been hit by it (cancer) so much that it clearly does weigh in the back of my mind, although I didn't really realise that until I recently felt so ill," admits Wyatt, who's been settled in the UK since quitting the American girl band after seven years in 2010.
"My auntie fought breast cancer twice, my uncle had throat cancer and my brother's father died of brain cancer.
"Looking after him every day after school for 18 months when I was only a teenager was my first experience of the disease and pretty horrific," she explains, as she chats at her Surrey home. "A dance partner got testicular cancer and currently I have friends suffering cancer. It's given me the perspective that while you can look after your health as much as possible, you can't always control what happens to it."
Thankfully for Wyatt - an ambassador for Tesco Dance Beats, a dance themed fundraising effort to help support the work of Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK - her fears turned to joy when her husband, model Max Rogers, suggested she take a pregnancy test. It revealed she was, in fact, pregnant with their third child, due in October.
"It was a relief and a huge surprise, although a beautiful one," says Wyatt, who already has two daughters - Willow (4), and Maple, who's nearly two - with Rogers, her husband of five years. "I still feel nauseated but as long as I keep busy and distract myself, it's more bearable than it was.
"I honestly never thought of pregnancy, because we were going to wait around eight years until we had a third child and were a bit further along in life, but life had other ideas for us," she adds. "Three is definitely the maximum for us. I'm taking every precaution I possibly can to make sure that this is it!
"With three little ones under five, it's going to be full on in our house - the challenge of a lifetime," she adds, now glowing.
Wyatt, who was born in Warrensburg, Missouri, still cherishes her career but family is at the centre of her world.
"I'll never give up dance and love working but my biggest aspiration is to be a good mum and a good role model to my children," she says with feeling. "I want to show my girls you can follow your heart in a career, but I always try to make sure the balance of our lives is right and they come first.
"Max and I totally co-parent and kind of tag-team as we're both in showbusiness. It's been tough recently dealing with the pregnancy, the kids and working, but we try to make time for each other and ensure we're on the same page about our goals," adds Wyatt, who won Celebrity MasterChef in 2015.
"We'd love to live completely sustainably, we're trying to grow our own food and I love cooking balanced healthy meals. Max and I make a good team. I realise he can't make me happy. I have to make myself happy and he has to make himself happy and we strive to do that so together we can create the life we've dreamed of. He's an amazing father and when I watch him with the kids and see the relationship they have, it melts my heart."
Willow, her eldest, is already following in her dance footsteps. "She loves being on stage and performing and we just went to her first performance in a ballet show. It was brilliant," Wyatt says proudly.
"We're quite similar in that we're both very shy in social situations. I have social anxiety and struggle in big crowds of people but we both come to life when we perform."
Dance is at the core of Wyatt's well-being, and she aims to dance her way through her pregnancy. "It's my passion and has been since I was a child. Being a dancer is who I am - that's my soul - and if I'm not dancing, I don't feel myself.
"I feel trapped, get really sluggish and don't have the zest for life that I need," says Wyatt who has a dance studio at her home, runs her own dance classes called Bring Your Heels, and is relishing her first acting role as a judge in CBBC comedy talent show, Almost Never.
"I genuinely love using my passion for dance to inspire and help other people find their potential, enjoy the health benefits dance can bring and feel the joy of it.
"It was wonderful to do that for Tesco's Dance Beats campaign and work with Oti Mabuse, Aston Merrygold and Una Healy."
Keeping a journal helps her deal with anxiety, stress and negativity, she says, and she connects with nature by taking walks with her family.
A regular visitor to her home is best friend and former bandmate Ashley Roberts. "The kids call her auntie Ash and it's always lovely to see her," she says.
Down-to-earth, warm and open, Wyatt believes life is all about balance - something she's tried hard to make a priority.
"I think the balance in my life is better than it has ever been," she adds.
"I feel really grounded, love my home, family and friends and think I've done really well. I've got big dreams and I'm always reaching for the stars, but I also like to give back to others and make a difference.
"I want my girls to learn there's no such word as 'can't'.
"Instead I say, 'Never say can't, always say I'll try and do my best.' That's what I try to live by."
Kimberly Wyatt is an ambassador for Tesco Dance Beats, a dance themed fundraising effort which has broken a Guinness World Record to help tackle the nation's biggest health challenges and support the work of Cancer Research UK, British Heart Foundation and Diabetes UK. Find out more by visiting tesco.com/dancebeats and following the #TescoDanceBeats hashtag. Text DANCE to 70507 to give £5 [16+ only]
'I felt so awful that I was convinced I'd cancer... so when I found out I that was pregnant it was a huge relief'