She looks as good as she sounds, the pop beauty who doesn't know tbe meaning of failure. So wby can't Kim Wilde find lasting love? In her most intimate and mature interview ever, Kim reveals why sbe'd give it all up for the rlght man - and motherhood.
Kim Wilde has been famous almost all her adult life. A sultry blonde, who has been dubbed the Bardot of Pop, and one of Britain's all-time bestselling female recording artists, she's had hits, made money, bought the fab house in the country, but one goal still eludes her - a man to call her own. Over tea and tuna sandwiches at London's Groucho Club, the 34-year-old star makes a startling revelation; "I've never had a really long-term relationship. Two years is about the longest. I've never lived with anyone, but all my boyfriends have been fantastic people who have enriched my life."
Kim had a romance with her childhood sweetheart, Johnny Hates Jazz drummer Calvin Hayes, then with car dealer Paul Holmes, followed by student Rupert Kenyon. Her last love was Chris Evans, whom she met when she was a guest presenter on the Big Breakfast last year. "It was mad, it was truly mad. But we're still friends," she says with a shout of laughter when I mention his name.
Then Kim adds: "I don't think I'm a bad judge of character. I've met some wonderful men, and I don't regret a thing. Sometimes relationships just aren't meant to last. It's not that I've met the wrong people. At the time, they were the right people, and we had something to give each other.
"They have taught me things, and I hope I've taught them things. I have great memories, and no one can take those away from me, not even their new girlfriends."
Kim pauses and smiles. "I'm pretty cool when they meet someone else, but I'm still human. I like to remain friends, though when a relationship breaks up there has to be a period when you cut off and come to terms with what's happened. It's healthy to have a broken heart for a while."
Kim remains convinced that Mr Right is out there somewhere and that he will prohably turn up when she's least expecting him. She describes herself as "ridiculously romantic" and says she is very much a believer in instant attraction.
"Every time I fall for someone, it hits me very hard. It's a very strong feeling. I'm not a person who falls in love gradually - perhaps that's where I've been going wrong! Attraction is a mystery to me. I don't know why or how it happens; I only know that it does. It's pure energy that suddenly sparks between two people. That's what I want. It feels wonderful when it happens. I really need that charge, that spark, or I can't be bothered. It's worth holding out for."
There doesn't seem to be a tried-and-tested way to Kim's heart, although she does admit she likes men who share her sense of humour. "So, if there's anyone out there with any good jokes... Seriously, though, it's not about jokes, but I do like men who can make me laugh. All my boyfriends have been very different. Just recently, I developed a crush on a young guy I met who has the most beautiful eyes and long eyelashes..."
Perhaps Kim's on the lookout for another toyboy? Rupert, her student boyfriend, was 10 years her junior.
"1 like people with a young mentality, no matter what their age," she says firmly. "It's because I'm like that myself; I'm not very good with grown-ups. I'm happiest going rollerblading with my sister Roxanne, who's 16, and my brother Marty, who's 14, or with my brother Ricky's children, who are seven and eight. My parents are young at heart, too.
"I also like men who work hard and are ambitious. Some of my happiest relationships have been with people who have nothing to do with showbusiness. I hate unkindness, meanness with money, and possessive men. I need a lot of space.
"And I can't bear faddy eaters - there's nothing worse than going out to a nice restaurant and being with someone who doesn't eat this and won't try that. I'm quite a keen cook when I get the time and I think that food, like life, is there to be explored. I went to Thailand and adored Thai food, so I learned to cook green curry. If I eat it, I want to know how to cook it!"
Kim is the f1fst to admit that the men in her life have to learn to fit in with her occasionally hectic lifestyle. "I'm too long in the tooth to compromise on the important things; a man has to take me as I am, and I comewith a lot of luggage.
"I enjoy my independence and, even though I live alone, I don't feel lonely because I have friends and family nearby. I adore animals and would love to have pets, but I'm away too much. When I was young, I had a cat which died of leukemia. I was so heartbroken, I swore I would never have another. But there's a lot of wild1ife round my house, including a moorhen on my pond and foxes and owls in the garden.
"The reason I don't have a permanent man in my life at the moment is simple: I just haven't met the right person. I'm very much a one-man girl and, on reflection, I don't think I have ever been ready to be with someone full-time. Maybe I am now, though I feel I could love someone long and well. But just anyone won't do""
For now, with no special man, Kim says she's quite happy to live from day to day. "I'm a fatalist where men are concerned. My parents married young and are still very happy, and my brother has been happily married for 11 years. I don't worry about being single, I'm just glad to belong to a generation where women have choices.
"In 10 years I hope that I will have had children, but I'd only want to do that with a man. Kids do better w:ith two parents; they get twice the time and attention and twice the love, and they deserve no less.
"I'd hate to end up as some sad old celeb who'd attend the opening of an envelope. I've always got what I wanted in life, so it's just a question of when. I wouldn't marry someone just to fill up space, but I would like to share my life with someone special. I know the father of my children is out there somewhere!"
Kim moved from her London flat to a converted barn in Hertfordshire in 1992. At first, she missed the buzz and excitement of city life, but soon settled down in her new home. "I did a lot of the decorating myself. I love interior decor and choosing colours and I'm a dab hand with a paintbrush. I've done gold-leaf stencilling, wood staining and putting up shelves - and I'm pretty handy with a drill, too.
"I like being able to look after myself. In fact, the one thing I can't do is change the wheel on a car. If I got a flat tyre, I'd have to fling my hands in the air and be a real girlie, for a change."
That's Kim Wilde for you. Down to earth and friendly, she still shops at Miss Selfridge and says that her friends and family matter more to her than anything else. Her closest friends are mainly women she's known for years. "I've just been to Holland to record a TV show, and I was up half the night gossiping over a bottle of wine with my best friend, who lives in Utrecht now." That pal runs a catering business for pop tours, and Kim isn't too grand to help out if she's free. "I once ended up serving dinner to Dire Straits. They did look surprised when they saw it was me.
"There are just a small handful of people I choose to be with, I don't enter into friendship lightly, and I think it's harder to make friends as you get older anyway. To me, it's a commitment, just as marriage is. I'm a feminist, but I've never liked the anti-male sort of feminism because I adore men and work with them all the time."
One thing Kim doesn't care much about is her image. "I have fun making videos, but image isn't something I worry about. I just try to look as good as I can. Even now, I don't spend a lot on clothes. I'm happiest in jackets, shirts and trousers. I'm not at all hung-up on designer labels, although I do believe it's worth paying for good quality."
As the daughter of Fifties rocker Marty Wilde and his wife, ex-Vernons Girl Joyce, Kim was famous before she even thought of making records. She enjoys her fame, but is determined not to let it imprison her.
"I believe in keeping life as normal as possible. I've inherited that from Dad. He was always passionate about music but shunned the celebrity label. You can have fun with fame, and I do. When I'm recognised, people are really sweet and teIl me they liked a record or video. OccasionaIly someone will come up and say they've named their daughter after me; there are lots of little Kims out there.
"It would be a shame not to enjoy the good things success has brought. I toured with Michael Jackson in 1988 and couldn't help noticing I was having a much better time than he was. He didn't mix much, and seemed rather a shy, lonely person."
It was backstage on the Michael Jackson tour that Kim was introduced to the Prince and Princess of Wales. She was not impressed with the heir to the throne. "He's a bozo; the one good thing about him is that he's a keen gardener. I don't blame Princess Diana for getting fed up with him. She's living a nightmare now; I don't know how she copes.
"In my teens and twenties, I spent ages thinking, 'I'll be happy when I've done this or got that', but I eventually realised that's no way to live. It was a hard habit to break, though - much harder than giving up cigarettes and booze," says Kim, who had a weight problem a few years ago, brought on by drink and depression.
"It was my Dad who got me out of that by telling me not to feel sorry for myself. I still get some blue moments, but I know wallowing does no good and that being negative won't change a thing. I have so much - a career I love, a wonderful home and family. I just count rny blessings."
Kim, who's just released her 10th album, Now and Forever, and single, Breakin' away, dismisses rumours that a film career may figure in her future. "I'd like to have more time for the rest of my life", she says. And maybe for finding that Mr Right.