women

My Mother My Inspiration (Part 1)

- 7 Kinds Of Fruit That Pregnant Women Shouldn’t Eat
- How to have natural miscarriage
- Foods That Cause Miscarriage
- Signs Proving You Have Boy Pregnancy

Four famous mothers and daughters talk to Lorraine Conway about the fun, the food – and the fiery moments – in their relationships.

Actress Minnie Driver, 42, lives in Los Angeles with her son Henry, three.

 

Description: Minnie Driver With Makeup

“I was 14 when Mum told me that we were Dad’s secret family”

I grew up with the impression Mum had lived several lives before I came along. She’d been a couture model, but she is also a natural lover and would take my elder sister Kate and me for long country walks, pointing out plants and flowers. Her own mum died when she was 16, and I can’t imagine how hard that must have been. She and her sisters moved into a flat in London and started working. When Mum describes that period she makes it sound fun and never dwells on the sadness. She and my aunts are incredibly resilient as a result.

I was 14 when Mum told me that we were Dad’s secret family. She explained that Dad had a wife and daughter who didn’t know about us. I was shocked, but the sky didn’t fall in. She and Dad had separated when I was nine, and while he had never lived with us, he was very much in our lives. It seems unconventional now, but as a child you don’t question these things. They were dedicated parents who worked hard to give us a happy childhood. And I was a very young 14 year old; still bumbling around climbing trees. I didn’t really try to make sense of it until I was 16, when I went through a phase of feeling angry and blaming my parents. Then in my early twenties, I started to understand how complicated relationships can be. Dad died in 2009 and I still miss him.

I miss Mum when I’m in LA, but she writes such good emails. She describes dinners she’s attended or plays that she’s seen. She tells me which film is worth seeing and which is “a snooze”. She’s so interested in people – she’ll discover a person’s life story while standing next to them in the local shop and then she’ll write me a letter about it – it’s wonderful.

I learned from Mum that I don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy. But I still aspire to be madly in love. Mum is happy with her work and friends, and doesn’t need a relationship, but I’m very romantic and believe in happy endings. I’ve never said who Henry’s dad is, but I have a lovely boyfriend now. I’d love another baby, but I’m letting things unfold slowly.

Mum started an interior design business when she was 50 – that is so inspiring. She has always been very self-sufficient and has an amazing ability to reinvent herself. She makes me feel good about getting older. She cycles to work every day and has made a successful business out of something started at her kitchen table, and she’s a brilliant grandmother.

Interior designer and former model Gaynor Churchward, 74, lives in London.

 

Description: model Gaynor Churchward

“It was hard to stay angry with Minnie because she always made me laugh”

Trying to control Minnie was like trying to dam a big river. I’ll never forget her throwing her shoes out of the car window and shouting. “I’m being abducted” because she didn’t want to go back to school. I’m sure I was furious, but it was hard to stay angry with Minnie because she always made me laugh.

I love visiting Minnie in LA – and it’s always interesting to see a star like Julia Roberts out of context in a café. Minnie, Henry and I will stroll along the beach and enjoy the sunshine. Henry has become a big strong boy and I struggle to keep up with him! I don’t know how much motherhood has changed Minnie – she’s just Minnie with a child, but she’s a very attentive, loving mother.

I’m still surprise by Minnie. I was on my way to a funeral recently and walking along in front of me were two staggeringly chic women. I drew up next to them and realised it was my daughters, Kate and Minnie. Sometimes I forget my little girls have turned into these wonderful women.

Choreographer Arlene Phillips, 68, lives in London with her parents Angus lon.

 

Description: Choreographer Arlene Phillips

“We’re both fiery, which can lead to explosive rows”

When I discovered I was pregnant with Alana I felt a weird mix of emotions. I was thrilled – I was 36 and I’d almost written off becoming a mother – but I was single, and I’d signed a contract to choreograph a film. Somehow, I made it work, and I was on a mission to get Alana learning from an early age. Now I regret it as she was much more interested in getting lost in her imagination.

When she started school we clashed dramatically. Maybe because I was trying to push her in the wrong direction. Things like getting her to do homework would explode into full-blown rows. We both have a fiery side, and I’d become so irritated by her defiance I’d argue back. Now, I think, why didn’t stop and take a breath? Arguments still flare up, but we’ve learned to step back when things get heated.

I had a different approach to raising Abi, who is 11 years younger than Alana. I was much softer and didn’t push her in the same way I did Alana. She is a florist now, and seems to float through life, whereas Alana bounces.

Alana and I have two relationships. She’s a make-up artist and does my make-up. But once work finishes I’m her mum and tell her off for spending a fortune on a handbag!

Midnight Tango is at the Aldwych Theatre, London, until 31 March; midnighttango.co.uk.

Alana Phillips, 32, lives in London.

My childhood was spent travelling with Mum’s work. People were scared of her; she was seen as the dreaded Arlene! To me, she was Mum, but I could see that choreographing such big shows was a big deal. In Japan they expected Mr Phillips – they couldn’t believe a woman was boss!

I was bound to feel pressure to succeed – but that pressure never came from her. Mum discouraged me from going into musical theatre, but I ignored her, and trained as a singer and dancer. But I did take her advice to have a back-up plan – I trained as a make-up artist – and I’m so glad I did, because I’ve found a career I love.


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