Countryfile presenter opens up about feeling free since divorce

anita rani in an embroidered dress at the 2024 bafta tv awards
Countryfile presenter opens up about divorceShane Anthony Sinclair/BAFTA - Getty Images

Countryfile presenter Anita Rani has spoken about her divorce from Bhupinder Rehal, saying she now felt “free”.

The broadcaster, who appeared on Strictly Come Dancing in 2015, split from her husband of 14 years in September, but revealed in a column for The Sunday Times that she now felt released from a long-lasting “conflict.”

“I’m in Pinzolo in the Dolomites, on my first snowboarding trip in years,” she began. “And my first as a single woman. It feels poignant, a decision to hurl myself down a mountain and feel that sense of freedom and fear I first felt 15 years ago. A metaphor.

anita rani in an embroidered dress at the 2024 bafta tv awards
Shane Anthony Sinclair/BAFTA - Getty Images

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“I am in uncharted territory, at least for my family. I have committed a cardinal sin, done something that was never to be thought of, let alone attempted: I got a divorce. So here I am at what I’m calling chapter two.

“It’s not easy to talk about and it’s private, so I won’t, but what I will tell you is how I feel about my life going forward now that I am answerable to no one. Becoming single in my mid-forties has made me re-evaluate everything.

“It has made me see how much I have been conditioned to be a dutiful woman, rather than a free woman. I was raised to be a high achiever, to make my parents and family proud, but I was also raised never to bring shame.

“This is where it gets kind of problematic, especially if you are born with a vagina. So I guess I’ve lived in extreme conflict. I’ve done my ‘duty’ but resented that I had to do it. Until now.

anita rani in a blue dress at vanity fair and the newt's rhs chelsea flower show event
Dave Benett - Getty Images

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“Now I feel as if I’m beginning to breathe for the first time, doing what I truly want to. And now hitting my mid-forties has given me a sense of urgency. So I am in the mountains, ready to throw myself off and see what happens.”

Countryfile airs on BBC One on Sundays at 6pm.

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