Ulrika Jonsson opens the doors of her fabulous, sleek, modern new home to HELLO! magazine and talks about a new chapter in her life.
In a candid interview the TV presenter, writer, comedy show panellist and mother-of-four opens up about the challenges and joys of the 15-month project to create her own dream, Grand Designs home in Oxfordshire.
“It was a pipe dream for ten years’ time, when the kids had flown the nest,” she told HELLO! in an exclusive interview from her beautiful house.
“But as soon as we saw the garden and its position we fell in love and couldn’t get it out of our heads and hearts.”
The 4,8000 sq ft, five-bedroomed house, where she lives with her advertising art director husband Brian of three years and their family of four children, represents a deeply symbolic move for Ulrika: it’s the first time since her first marriage 21 years ago that she has set up home with a partner.
“[This] felt like I was creating a home with somebody else, so that was a big thing, and quite fundamental,” she said.
“Now this feels like mine and Brian’s house. I could never have done a project like this with anyone else.”
In the interview Ulrika also talked about managing her debilitating back condition, which had left her in constant pain and suffering from depression, and how she and Brian both coped as a couple.
“[My back] never felt like it was going to be a deal breaker. I had a life to get on with, we had four children look after so yes, it did put a huge strain on us,” she said.
“But I think I probably carried the bulk of it psychologically as I kept thinking, ‘How is this effecting Brian?’ and Brian was like, ‘Poor her, what can I do to help?’ But I’m very lively and loud and go ‘Grrr, rrrr, rrrr’ and then move on.
It’s not like we ever walk around bearing grudges.”
Another exciting new departure for Ulrika is the publication of her debut novel next month.
“It’s been really nice to go away and do something quietly,” she says of the book, for which she drew on her, “emotional intelligence, experience and knowledge of human relationships.”
She is now bracing herself for any criticism. “I’ve been in the business for 23 years, so everything I do, somewhere along the line, gets a bit of negative critique.
“The thing is, I’ve always done the unexpected. I’ve never been scared of taking chances, of challenging myself and going out on a limb.”
See the full exclusive article and photos of their picturesque Oxfordshire countryside home in this week's HELLO! magazine out now.