Prue Leith jokes working with husband could put 'strain on their marriage'

Prue Leith shares her biggest worry about working on TV with her husband John

Prue Leith at home in her Cotswold Kitchen with her husband John. (ITV)
Prue Leith at home in her Cotswold Kitchen with her husband John. (ITV)

Prue Leith has revealed her biggest worry about working with her husband John Playfair on her new cooking show.

In this new Reality Recall interview, the 83-year-old presenter took us behind the scenes of her TV career and her off-screen friendship with Great British Bake Off co-star Paul Hollywood as well as speaking openly about her second marriage and why she told the world about her 13-year affair with her late husband.

Speaking to Yahoo, Leith said she only has one concern about her first solo cooking show Prue Leith's Cotswold Kitchen. Cheekily, the Great British Bake Off host quipped: "As long as John doesn't become the star of the show. It will put a strain on my marriage if he does."

Prue Leith's marriage

Prue Leith and John Playfair attend the National Portrait Gallery's reopening. (Getty)
Prue Leith and John Playfair have been married since 2016. (Getty)

Falling in love again later in life has been wonderful for the star. Leith married retired clothes designer Playfair in 2016 and they have been inseparable ever since. But now they have embarked on their second show together, Leith joked she was feeling a bit "nervous" because doesn't want her "toyboy" husband to outshine her.

In jest, she elaborated: "I think he's a natural on television because he doesn't take direction. The director can't tell him to do anything. He just does what he feels like. We made a programme together before about gardening, Prue's Great Garden Plot. John was in that and he had never done telly before but he was just terrific.

"So I'm a little bit nervous. I think I'm the telly star in this family. I'm not really sure how I feel about being usurped by my toyboy husband... I'm nervous what they'll really love about the show is John and I want them to love us both!"

Paul Hollywood friendship

Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are friends away from the screen. (Getty)
Paul Hollywood and Prue Leith are friends away from the screen. (Getty)

Filming with her husband is similar to working alongside Paul Hollywood on the Great British Bake Off and the American spin-off, Leith admitted. Sometimes she said she even accidentally mixes their names up too. She said: "There's not a lot of difference filming with them both. And actually it annoys them both but I sometimes call John 'Paul' and Paul 'John' because I spend so much time with them both."

Hilariously, the Great British Bake Off star confessed Hollywood is always teasing her - and once even claimed he has to drag her away from pole-dancing in clubs at 2am. "He's a joker, just like John," she said. "Good fun to be with and he's a tease. He's created this idea that I am a complete alcoholic now."

She added: "A ring of journalists once asked us whether we went out in the evenings together and he said, 'Well, we don't do that too much because I really find it very difficult getting Prue off the pole. When she's pole dancing, she won't come home.'

"And he said it so seriously! Then I immediately said, 'That's actually bonkers. Last night I was in bed at half past nine and I was certainly not on the pole.' But some journalists wrote it down, and it is out there somewhere."

Prue's Cotswold home and reality TV

Prue Leith has invited the cameras into her Cotswold home. (ITV)
Prue Leith has invited the cameras into her Cotswold home. (ITV)

And now, Leith has dared to invite the cameras and a TV crew into her home for two weeks to film her and her husband cooking with their famous friends - including Sandi Toksvig and Alison Hammond. The couple opened the doors to their stunning Cotswolds home, which they built in the 2020 lockdown and was a passion project for them both.

"I'm very proud of the house," she said. "Because we built it during lockdown, my husband and I. It was fun building a house together from scratch, designing it, everything. And I've got the dream kitchen. It’s lovely. It was like having a party because there were lots of people there, and I cook lunch every day."

Filming at home had a lot of other perks too. She added: "What I liked tremendously is after years of Bake Off, where I have to get up at five in the morning to travel down to the location or into Pinewood. This time I would sort of just lie in bed until my makeup lady would bang on the door with a cup of tea and say, ‘Get up because it's eight o'clock.’"

Leith hasn't had the chance to watch it back yet though but she has no concerns about the final edit. "I haven't seen the final cut," she said. "Working against the clock those poor editors. But I trust them. It will be good because there was such good moments."

Prue Leith on 13-year affair secret

Plus giving fans a look into her second marriage on TV didn't worry Leith at all. She said: "I've never been anything other than indiscreet and open. A lot of people in the public eye are tremendously touchy about what's private and what's business, and they are very good at keeping the two apart. I'm not. I've never been very good about that."

It was a second chance at love for Leith after her first husband Rayne Kruger died aged 80 in 2002. Before they were married, the couple had a 13-year affair while Kruger was still married to his first wife who was a family friend.

During her showbiz career, Leith has made no secret of her personal life as she is open and unfiltered in the spotlight. "I always say to people but don't tell me a secret, I'll let it out the bag," she said. "I'm not very secretive and I'm not protective or precious about anything. So in a way, why shouldn't I answer the question. I'm asked, what is it like? It's great."

Finding fame

Prue Leith loves the attention on her. (Getty)
Prue Leith loves the attention on her. (Getty)

Fame has changed her life away from the screen. "Obviously, it does," she admitted. "I'm so much better known now it means that I can be pickier because I get offered a lot of things. Another thing that is absolutely great about being a so-called VIP or 'celeb' is that you get invited to premieres and events. So you see a lot of movies that you otherwise wouldn't do.

"So one of the nice things about being a 'celeb' or being more successful is that you meet other successful people and they're generally very interesting because people who achieve something are genuinely interesting... Fame does have its downsides too."

Mostly, though, Leith candidly confessed she loves being the queen bee with all eyes on her. "I love the attention," she said. "I like walking down the street and getting stopped for a selfie and some people who were much more private don't like it. I really enjoy it. And I'm the only person I know who likes having my photograph taken because I like it because I like the attention... There's a photographer, a makeup artist. You're the queen bee."

Now Leith can pick and choose her jobs as she pleases. She said: "I'm old enough and ugly enough and frankly, well off enough not to ever do anything I don't want to do professionally." The chef ruled out ever doing a game show and she would never go back to the Great British Menu where she was a judge for 11 years.

Prue Leith in her 80s

Prue Leith loves being in her 80s. (Getty)
Prue Leith loves being in her 80s. (Getty)

It is undeniable that her eighties is the best decade of her life so far. She admitted: "I must have said this many times in my life that this is my best time because I've always I have a naturally enthusiastic disposition."

She further explained: "But I think it is lovely because I married John six or seven years ago and he was in his seventies and I'm in my eighties, and at that time you know what you like and you're quite settled. So I was incredibly lucky to find somebody who I really agree with.

"If we go to to picture exhibition, we both want to buy the same painting, to be able to build a house together and not fall out over it, because we both like colour, we both like good design. We're both interested in antiques and in art - in modern art and old art. And he's absolutely obsessed with history and books. So you know what's not to like?"

She added: "I'm very conscious of how lucky I am. And I hope we never take it for granted because me and John do actually live the dream. We have a lovely house. We love each other and all our children are healthy. They're all doing well. We've just been that holiday in the Bahamas."

After her new cooking show runs for 10 weeks, the year ahead looks busy for Leith. She said: "I go back to do Bake Off and then Great American Bake Off and then I hope to go to travelling with my husband to Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan and places like that, which I've never been to."

She finished with: "For the autumn, there are a whole lot of potential projects in the pot. I would probably work from then until early Christmas. It will be a very busy year."

Prue Leith's Cotswold Kitchen starts at 11:40am on Saturday 24th February on ITV1 and ITVX.

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