Could it be that bright and bubbly Myleene Klass is even more bright and bubbly than usual? There have been rumours that she and long-term partner Gray are planning another baby – they already have a daughter, Ava, three. A couple of days after our interview, she posts an ecstatic message on Twitter,
“Woo Hoo! I’m pregnant! So happy! x.”
New baby hopes aside, 32-year-old Myleene has lots to celebrate. While many an ex-popstar has faded into obscurity, Myleene’s star is burning bright. Since leaving Hear’Say, the pop group formed from the winners of reality series Popstars in 2001, she’s recorded her own classical album, Moving On (she’s a trained pianist), been in the jungle in a white bikini on I’m A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!, modelled alongside Twiggy and Erin O’Connor for M&S, had a baby and written a book about her pregnancy. She has appeared on countless television shows, from the BBC’s The One Show, to Channel Four’s 10 Years Younger and CNN’s movie show The Screening Room. She even hosts a radio show on Classic FM.
When we meet, Myleene seems to be going for the geek chic look. She’s sporting a pair of round, black-rimmed specs, ankle-twistingly high brown Mary Jane heels and a brown duffel coat – evidently the perfect disguise for a burgeoning bump. She’s clearly a lady with an eye for style. On top of all that piano-plonking, posing and presenting, she’s found the time to launch her own fashion label, Baby K, for Mothercare. Myleene got together with Mothercare in 2008, after being unimpressed by what the high street had to offer. “I felt there was a real lack of stylish clothes out there,” she says. “Everything was just so pink and girly. I wanted to buy a nice leather jacket for Ava, but all I could find was a really nasty one made out of that horrible pleather, or one that cost £300.”
Her fifth Baby K range has been selling like hot cakes. The autumn/winter collection features tunic dresses embellished with enormous flowers, harem pants and puffball coats, stripey jumpers and smart blazers. Everything a style-savvy preschooler (or their parent) could desire. Myleene plays a big role in developing the collection, from sketching out designs, to travelling to New York and Hong Kong to source fabrics. “I know a lot of people probably think I just stamp my name on the clothes, but that’s not true,” she says, a tad defensively. “It’s a real labour of love.”
You get the impression that Myleene is a bit of a grafter. At age four, she started learning the piano and the violin. “I loved doing my practice. I did go through a stage when I was about 12 when
I wanted to hang out with my mates instead of doing my scales.
My dad was like, ‘Fine, go and have fun then’ and he locked up the piano. I really missed it, and I soon realised it’s not that much fun hanging around on the street corner or sitting in a cold bus shelter.”
Born to an Austrian father and a Filipina mother, Myleene grew up in Gorleston, Norfolk. She is the oldest of three children, her younger brother Don is an actor, while her sister Jessie is a television producer. As a child, she felt different from everyone else. “I was a mixed-race girl growing up in Norfolk with a name like Windolene, of course I stood out,” she says. “I was also pretty shy. One of my reports said that if I wasn’t on the register, then no one would know I was in the room. I just didn’t open my mouth.”
These days, a mute Myleene is hard to imagine. During our interview, she chatters away happily. When meeting big stars, among them Brad Pitt, George Clooney and Juliette Binoche, she claims she doesn’t get nervous. “I’m just really excited to meet them,” she says. “When I met José Carreras, one of the Three Tenors, I was so excited, I accidentally threw my earpiece at him.”
Perhaps surviving the odd on-screen disaster helps her to take things in her stride. “I was presenting the US version of I’m A Celebrity… and a bug flew into the lights, then fell into my hair and started sizzling away in my hair spray,” she says. “My absolute worst moment was falling over in front of the Queen at The Royal Variety Performance. I couldn’t wear my costume for the dress rehearsal, as it was having white peacock feathers glued onto it. Then, when I was going on stage, someone told me peacock feathers were unlucky. I thought ‘Great, tell me that now.’ While I was spinning around, I lost momentum and fell over. I cried so much afterwards, but it taught me a lesson – the sun still shines the next day. People don’t care that much. They’re more interested in their own lives.”
Family support also helps. “Every Sunday, my siblings and I go to my parents’ home in north London. We are a very normal family. We have our arguments, but we are also protective of one another, especially when it comes to situations we think the other might need help with. And of course, my brother and sister spoil Ava rotten.”
Myleene now lives in Cuffley, Hertfordshire. “I’m a city girl, really,” she says, “But I had to make a compromise as my partner Gray is such an outdoorsy type. We have lots of animals that come in our garden – foxes, badgers, muntjac deer. It’s like living on a nature reserve. Every day, come hail or shine, Gray will take Ava for a walk in the woods after dinner. They go on these massive three-
mile treks – Ava will walk the first couple of miles and then he’ll carry her the last mile. If they’re only going a mile or so, I’ll come along too. After all, no one’s going to carry me home if I get tired.”
Some might say that Myleene and Gray make an unlikely pair. They met during the Hear’Say days. She was a middle-class girl who had studied at the Royal Academy of Music, he was the band’s bodyguard who, as a teenager, had fled heroin possession charges in his native Dublin. After meeting Myleene, he returned to face the music, escaping a sentence and receiving a fine instead. The couple have been together ten years. “I’m fiercely independent. I make my own money, I can buy my own house and my own car,” says Myleene. But I think when you don’t rely on someone you can make an even stronger choice. I’m with Gray because I want to be, not because I need to be.”
Naturally, their household is a musical one. “We listen to an eclectic mix, from Grieg to Gaga. What I’m listening to really affects my mood. Gray and I don’t argue about much, but we do argue about music. He can put on the most awful dance music on a Sunday morning and I find I don’t even want to get out of bed.”
As far as introducing music to Ava goes, Myleene is keen not to be pushy. “We’ll sit at the piano together and I’ll show her the bass and say, ‘Here come the monsters’ and press the treble keys and say, ‘Here come the fairies’. But as soon as I see her losing interest, I let her go and play with her toys. I worked as a music teacher to get myself through college and I came across so many pushy parents that it’s the last thing I want to be. Children who are pressured so much just end up hating their instrument.”
For one so young, Ava is quite a globetrotter, accompanying Myleene on numerous trips abroad. “We’ve just clocked up our 53rd country,” says Myleene. “I asked her the other day where she’d left her manners and she said, “In India”. I love the fact that she gets to experience so much: she sees monkeys in Costa Rica rather than in the zoo and gets to build sandcastles on the beaches of Dubai.”
Myleene is clearly a protective parent. Back in January, she made headlines for wielding a knife when she spotted two burglars lurking outside her house. “I just couldn’t control myself,” she says.
“All I could think about was protecting Ava, who was asleep upstairs.”
And as Ava gets older, and the family expands, Myleene is aware her hectic lifestyle may have to change. But she wants to keep pursuing her ambitions. “The way I see it, I’ve got the same dreams and aspirations. There are just more little passengers on board”