OH, Katie. You didn’t like it when I wrote in this column a couple of months ago, expressing concern about your addiction to plastic surgery – especially as you’re a beautiful woman without it.

Your fans raged at me in your defence (and my fans raged at you as you immediately issued an insulting rebuff about me looking “ropy”).

Your army of fans are admirable but their vitriol was deeply misplaced.

If you love and care for someone, honesty is the kindest thing you can show them.

But you have felt, to me, like someone who is deeply resistant to it.

Now you have admitted taking drugs and pleaded guilty to drink-driving while banned and without insurance. Is this the moment of honesty you need?

You’ve faced many low points in your life before and have valiantly found your way back up and out of whatever predicament has come your way — even the ones you have invited.

I speak as someone who takes full responsibility for the negative aspects of my life I have allowed to happen, or ones I didn’t stop, and definitely those I may have have inadvertently encouraged.

Being a victim is a label I shun and I think you do, too. But sometimes we are victims of ourselves, and I wonder if that does not apply to you, too, Katie.

Strong, feisty, wilful, determined, independent. Words that describe you well and qualities I have, over the years, admired.

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However, underlying all those fabulous adjectives is a woman who doesn’t appear to stop to deal with things thoroughly.

And who could blame you, you’ve faced some grim situations: Sexual abuse; abandonment when pregnant; a beautiful son who is compromised by health and behavioural conditions; drug dependency, and failed relationships and marriages.

In fact, some of that could be a description of me and my life. And I’ll admit I didn’t always stop to deal properly with certain things along the way.

But I think what I was willing to accept was humility — that I wasn’t always capable of dusting myself off and carrying on. Sometimes, I accepted defeat.

You, Katie, don’t. You get up every single time. The same stubbornness that has brought you the successes and the excesses of life has also held you back from listening to yourself and taking serious stock.

You have been so intent on succeeding, you haven’t wanted to appear dejected or unwanted or failing, and I can understand that.

I also know it’s from the falls and the failures in life that we learn the most. No one learns from succeeding all the time.

I suspect you fear reality and honesty. You kick off as soon as someone points out a vulnerability or the slightest gap in your watertight determination and consistency.

You don’t like to be questioned. You pretend you do. You pretend to wear honesty as a badge on your ample chest but the way I see it, it’s selective honesty.

One thing that sticks out in my mind is when your marriage to Kieran fell apart because you discovered to your (and everyone’s) horror that he had cheated on you with one of your close friends.

You made it your mission to get him back. And you did. For you, it was all about the winning.

Whereas my approach would have been to question if this man was really worthy of having me after such deceit.

My pain and hurt would probably not have allowed him back in my life.

But it would never occur to me that it was a contest, a competition, and that I needed to be perceived the winner of such a lousy prize (sorry, Kieran, I don’t know you and I mean you no ill). And what happened? He went on to cheat again.

I don’t hold you responsible for that but I wonder if the outcome would have been different if you had properly analysed what you deserved, and of what you were worthy.

After every “defeat” — whether it be bankruptcy or relationship breakdown — you are insistent on showing your winning character.

You have to be seen to be winning and succeeding at everything, and it must leave you exhausted.

Sometimes, when accepting defeat, when accepting you aren’t right, you need assistance.

This is the very best and kindest thing we can do for ourselves.

You have sought validation from millions of fans. You have it. You don’t need to constantly prove yourself.

What you do need now is to listen. Listen to your inner voice and to those who want to help you.

Because asking for help is not a weakness. It’s a sign of great strength.

Amanda the flock star mum

TO many, the name Amanda Owen may mean very little. But to me, she’s something of a heroine.

If you haven’t heard of her, seen her TV programme or read her books, she is a formidable woman who has made a life for herself as the “Yorkshire Shepherdess”.

She lives a simple, traditional life up north with her husband and their NINE children (yes, that’s nine).

They inhabit one of the most remote areas of the country, experiencing a way of life that has probably in large part disappeared, tending sheep, horses, cattle, pigs and dogs.

So to hear that trolls have accused her of not bringing up her children “in the real world” and that “they will never be able to cope with real life” would be laughable if it wasn’t quite so insulting.

I was brought up in Sweden, in a time before remote controls, mobile phones and computers, when nature was your best companion.

I was raised to respect the natural world. It was my playground but I understood that I was a mere visitor, owned nothing and had no rights to it.
It was what I had hoped for my children.

But time waits for no one and, despite me placing myself in the countryside, my offspring, like so many of their generation, were fed largely a diet of comfort, amenity and parental service.

I think this was, largely, a mistake. I wanted to facilitate life for them. I wanted to make their journey as smooth and pain-free as possible. Over the years, it became clear that I was NOT “Fun Mum”.

Amanda Owen’s nine children are likely to be far better equipped for real life – running up and down the Yorkshire Dales, connecting with nature and being off the beaten track – than any child who is bloated on TikTok, takeaways and weekends packed with organised activities.

Her children will have real-life skills, transferable to any aspect of life, I would argue.

I think we should stop swaddling our children, stop putting them on pedestals and instil in them greater independence and autonomy.

No matter how extreme it might sound, I wish I had been more Amanda Owen.

It is very possible my kids wish that, too.

A real screen talent

DAME Eileen Atkins, 87, says there are still plenty of roles for mature and senior females on screen.

They’ve just got to be willing to “look lousy”.

Hooray for this gem from Eileen. It made me think of the glorious but difficult Nomadland, featuring Frances McDormand.

It was a heavy film about homelessness. I’m ashamed to say that, along with my popcorn, I brought my unconscious bias straight into the cinema by initially wincing at the first sight of Frances.

With no make-up – just a woman in her sixties – she looked pale, lifeless, worn down, tired, miserable and old.

For a while, I kept waiting for the transformation. You know, the bit when we might see a naturally ageing woman transformed into a younger version of herself. Where were the full lips, the smooth complexion, the colour in her cheeks, the long, lush hair and the slim figure?

Then I stopped and realised how conditioned I’d become by Hollywood to expect to see younger women or older women looking excellent for their age.

I’d maybe seen the odd younger woman having reached rock bottom, but never an older woman looking naturally old. And that’s why the film and Frances won my heart.

Would I have been brave enough to be seen on the big screen au naturel, with wrinkles and a big midriff in tow? I doubt it. But I’m really hoping that changes.

Vic needs to spice up her diet

I KNOW over the years Victoria Beckham has had to face much public scrutiny and speculation about her size and weight.

I don’t wish to add to her woes but to hear the ex-Spice Girl talk in a podcast about how she is sure she’s every restaurant’s worst nightmare as she likes simple meals – salt on toast or steamed vegetables – made me want to weep into my fry-up.

Many of us have complicated relationships and associations with food, often originating from comments about our size or what we’ve experienced in childhood. But food is one of the greatest joys in life.

And to hear that someone in Victoria’s position, who can afford the best food, best produce and best chefs, limits herself to salt on toast feels like a tragic waste.

I might be considered “too skinny” by some but I spend my time around food and my days thinking about what I’m going to eat.

I just can’t get my head around the concept of not yearning for deliciousness or dreaming of enticing meals.

The fact Mrs Beckham insists on wholegrain toast, I guess, shows she’s not entirely devoid of a bit of adventure.

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