'My kids ruined the life I had before - but I rebuilt a better one' Katherine Ryan on motherhood, mum guilt and having more children

 Katherine Ryan and family pictured in 2022.
Katherine Ryan and family pictured in 2022.

Unapologetically herself and refreshingly honest, comedian Katherine Ryan is a joy to chat to thanks to her witty banter and hilarious one-liners.

Katherine, 40, who is mum to Violet, 14, Fred, two, and one-year-old Fenna, has us in stitches multiple times during our interview as she reveals the truth about why she and her husband, Bobby Kootstra, sleep in separate bedrooms, why she’d never live in LA and the harsh realities of being a working mum

Hi Katherine, what’s new with you?

I'm going on tour in the autumn. Last tour, I brought my son, Fred. He had reflux and was up eight times in the night. I wanted to give people the same quality of show, but that’s hard on little sleep, so I'm not bringing a single baby with me on this tour. No-one crying, no breastfeeding. And I'm not getting pregnant again this year! I'm going to focus on getting back to the Katherine Ryan that I used to be and give people an incredible show.

Do you want more children in the future?

I hate the idea that I won't have another baby. I love being pregnant and giving birth, and I love my children, so having another baby sounds like a win, win. At my age there's an urgency, it's like, ‘Ok, I'm 40, what am I going to do?’ So I did have fertility tests to check how many eggs I have left. They said it looks like I still have a few years, so I've shelved the idea so that I can go on tour, perform really well and not be throwing up at the side of the stage. Halfway through the tour I might have to get pregnant again! I shouldn’t, but I want to.

What did you make of Lily Allen’s comments that her children ruined her career?

I'm in both camps. My children have enriched my life, they're such a blessing and I would never trade them for anything. But I would be lying if I said they didn't ruin the life I had before. But I rebuilt a better one and that's fine. I would be pretending if I said that I could still do all the things that I could before and I think we're selling this fantasy of what motherhood means if we aren't honest about that.

Do you get mum guilt?

I have guilt that I'm short changing the people who come to see me on tour because I might not be as rested or as sharp as I would be if I didn't have two small children at home. But equally, I have guilt that I have to leave the house and might not be able to do things with my children, or when I am with them I'm exhausted because I got home from a gig last night. There are times I'm going to miss bed and bath time, but then I'm paying for the mortgage so that's ok.

You recently revealed that you and your husband don’t sleep in the same bed and have sex twice a week…

It's strange that people attach sleep and sex. I don't think sleeping in the same bed is very intimate, especially if your husband snores! I've never found Bobby less attractive than when he's sleeping. We find time creatively that fits our schedules for intimacy - and intimacy doesn't always mean sex. We steal little date nights. But we’re realistic about the fact that we're only going to have a two-year-old and a one-year-old for a short fraction of what is hopefully a very long marriage.

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Do you think any of your kids will pursue a career in showbiz?

I think Fred is the most likely to be a performer going by his personality. He very clearly wants to be a rock star and any audience that he can, he'll round people up, get his instruments out and sing rock and roll. He's actually really talented and I'm like, ‘oh sh** I've got this really talented superstar child, what am I going to do with that?’ I think Fred will be more famous than I ever will be. I just hope he's a rock star who dates women his own age, I'm not going to be able to handle a Mick Jagger for a son!

Are there any career goals you still want to achieve?

The BAFTAs and the Oscars were wonderful, but boring. Comedy has been through an interesting evolution where people took jokes really seriously and became really offended by jokes that are meant to be lighthearted. I would love to see the resurgence of a good award show with to-the-bone roast comedy, and I am such a great candidate to do that. I don't have to do the Oscars, I think people in LA are too far up their own ass. That’s why I love Britain, British people are so funny and they're so good at taking the p*** out of themselves.

What about reality TV, would you do any shows like Celebrity Big Brother?

I saw snippets of this series and I loved the pairing of Sharon and Louis together, they just spilled as much tea as they could. I would go on Celebrity Big Brother when my kids are big enough to be apart from me. I would be a Sharon. You can't really edit me the wrong way, there's no secret side of me. The only ‘gotcha’ with me is being nicer, lots of people think I'm a monster.

Gousto ambassador Katherine Ryan is celebrating the launch of Gousto’s Bluey’s Family Dinner range The new range is available to order nationwide now at gousto.co.uk

Plus, catch up with episodes of Katherine Ryan: Parental Guidance on Watch via UKTV Play.