Now I'm the wrong side of 30, I can't expect to be called a sex kitten. But it is nice when I am

Date
Published in
Daily Mail (UK)
Written by
Lester Middlehurst

Kim Wilde has just got up. Her hair is a mess, she isn't wearing a trace of make-up and her famous lipstick-saturated pout is a pale reflection of its usual self.

Add the fact that she's recovering from a mild attack of food poisoning and you have to forgive the erstwhile sexy, voluptuous pop star and actress for not looking quite as she normally does. Not that she could care less. 'I look dreadful when I've just got out of bed', she admits. 'People always associate that 'just got out of bed' look with something sexy and simmering when, in reality, it's the exact opposite. But these days, people just have to take me as they find me. This is how I look most of the time. Although, if I feel like making th effort, I can still look pretty foxy. Not least of all for my husband-to-be. I do like to look good fr him, although he does love me without my make-up.'

Herein lies the clue to Kim's new-found laissez-faire attitude to herself and life in general. There was a time when she wouldn't have been seen dead without her lipstick on. Then she fell in love. It is not the first time. She has never been short of male company, even if her choice of men has been somewhat dubious. Well, she did go out with Chris Evans for six weeks - but then, everybody is allowed at least one lapse of taste. But this is the first time she has loved a man enough to marry him and want to have his children.

'I've never even been engaged before and I haven't ever really lived with anywone. I've stayed with people but I've never shared my finances or the paying of bills with anybody before. I have never made those physical commitments as well as emotional ones.'

The man responisible for this change is actor Hal Fowler. the couple met in January when they began rehearsals for the rock musical Tommy, at the Shaftesbury Theatre, London, in which Kim plays Tommy's mother and Hal plays Cousin Kevin. And on September 1 they are getting married. 'I've loved a number of men in all kinds of different ways before, but never like this. I have never loved anybody enough to feel that I wanted to marry them. Hal is the only one. It has happened very quickly. We met in January, got engaged six weeks ago and we're getting married in a couple of weeks. But I don't feel as if I'm rushing into something.'

Only a short while before she met Hal, Kim had reluctantly resigned herself to the fact that, at 35, it seemed unlikely that she would get married and have children. 'I had become quite cynical about relationships', she says. 'I was quite sad that I hadn't found anybody that I wanted to spend the rest of my life with - and that would have been the only condition under which I would have wanted to have children. I had made a clear decision in my head that I wasn't going to have children unless I could find somebody who was prepared to bring them up with me. I'm not very good at accepting second best in any apect of my life, and to have had children in a relationship outside marriage that could have broken uyp at any time just wasn't acceptable. I've seen the misery that's been caused to children when relationships have broken up. So I had decided that if it was not my destiny to find my life soulmate, then I wouldn't have children. So you can imagine how absolutely consumed with joy I am to have found Hal. He's even more desperate to have children than I am. I'm looking forward to starting a family as soon as we possibly can.'

'When I began Tommy in January, the last thing I intended to do was to get involved with anyone in the company. Falling in love with Hal was something I fought against, initially. I really put up all the barriers. But he persisted and in the end it was his honesty and the fact that he loved me so much that broke down the barriers. I know that we'll be laughing together and still loving each other the way we do now when we are well into our ripe old 80s.'

Having found her life partner, Kim had no reservations about agreeing to marry him when he hired a private plane, whisked her off to Calais for the day and prposed to her six weeks ago. 'I have always felt that if you have made a commitment to someone, then marriage is the perfect way to cement that commitment. We are going to be married in the church in the village where we live in Hertfordshire. I lvoe the idea of Hal and me walking into the church and making a solemn oath in front of all our friends and family, in the name of something tha tis much greater than all of us. Since I moved there six years ago, I have heard the church bells ringing every Sunday and I always wondered if, one day, they would ring for me. Now they will.'

She can, perhaps, be forgiven for going into gush mode over her forthcoming nuptials. It is obvious that she has never been happier. A state that, for her, seemed unattainable six years ago. By the time she was 30, Kim had already experienced most of the highs and lows fame can bring. As the eldest daughter of pop star Marty Wilde, her arrival on the showbiz scene was heralded by the headline 'Marty's latest hit'. When she was 20 she had her first hit record, Kids in America, and lived the rest of her 20s in a whirl of pop stardom and showbusiness glitz. Then depression set in. She piled on weight and seemed to lose interest in life.

'Everything seemed to come to a head when I was 30. It was like having a wake-up call from my subconscious. I realised I had been living in an emotional stupor for a while and I wasn't happy with myself, my career or anything about my life. Nothing was adding up. I had channelled all my energies into my career since I was 20 but none of it seemed to matter any more. I realised that, to everybody else, it looked as if I was having a great time; but I was ashamed of myself. With all the attention you get, it's hardly surprising that you can become self-obsessed. My life was unbalanced. I needed to create a world for Kim Smith - my real name - that was separate from Kim Wilde's world. The two had always been married together until then.'

So Kim did what all girls do when the going gets tough. She went home to mother. Well, almost. She bought a property down the road from her parents and set about putting her life back in order. Six years later her confidence has returned. Even without a scrap of make-up, she looks slimmer and fitter and more contented than she has for several years, though more girl-next-door tha nthe sex kitten she is often described as. 'I think both descriptions of me are true. I'm still flattered when I read about myself in the Press and they've used words like sexy, pouting or stunning to describe me. I get a bit depressed when it just says 'Kim, 30, pop star'.

'Of course, now that I'm the wrong side of 30 I can't expect 'sexy and voluptuous' all the time, but it's nice when it happens. 'I think I've definitely improved with age. For me, getting older has been a bit of a relief. Most of the puppy fat has disappeared and what's left makes me look younger. When I was about nine or ten I looked quite cute but as soon as I hit puberty I went right downhill. I became the spottiest, biggest-bottomed, greasiest-haired girl in school. It was the time of platform shoes, which made me tower about everybody else and look as if I had size 14 feet. My feet are still a bit of a sore point. They are quite a nice shape but they're sadly neglected. I'm quite happy with my legs, although I seem to have inherited my father's legs and I'd have preferred my mother's. I like my waist because it's always been rather small. No matter how big my bottom gets, my waist stays small and I have a nice flat stomach, so I've always maneged to look feminine even when I've piled on the weight. I like my bust.'

'My lips are a great bonus. They were the bane of my life when I was a kid because people used to do Mick Jagger impersonations of me behind my back. But as I've got older, I've realised that a large mouth is an aethetically pleasing thing.'

It is clear that Kim Wilde has finally found space in her life for Kim Smith. Or Kim Fowler, as she will soon be known. 'I can't wait to be Mrs Fowler and I can't wait to be a mother. I'm really looking forward to making my family take priority. The career will just have to fit in where it can. I think that, over the next ten years, I shall gradually step out of the limelight, so that by the time I'm 45 I shall be right out of it. I just want to have a simple life with Hal and he feels the same way. I think he'd be just as happy driving a tractor round a field as he is in a West End show. My life has been turned upside down by meeting him. I never dreamed I could be this happy.'