From the heart: Kim Wilde

Kim Wilde, 44, gardener, TV presenter and former pop star, lives in Hertfordshire with actor husband Hal Fowler, 38, and children Harry, seven, and Rosie, five.

I’m a gardener who sings. I still do concerts, but it wouldn’t worry me if I never sang again – even though I’m more confident than I used to be – because it’s more of a hobby now.
I was always aware of how other female singers were held hostage by their images, they hadn’t found time to have children because of their high-maintenance careers. You work really hard when it’s going well – and you still work really hard when it’s not.
Turbulent relationships tend to go with the territory of being a pop star. I was growing up in public, trying to find out who I was. I always felt that the best way to live life was to grow things from your garden, bake bread, have some kids, look after the family. All those things came to me later in life.
Everything happened for me when I was 36. I met Hal in January that year when we were both playing in the stage musical of the Who’s Tommy. Our first date was in March, and by the summer we’d decided to marry in September. Within a year Harry was born.
I never noticed the seven-year difference between Hal and me; we’re two of a kind. We were drawn to each other because we both came from a strong family background. Married life has its ups and downs, but if you start from a really enchanted level, you always have that basic reference point. I’m glad I held out for the big romance.
My father [1950s pop star Marty Wilde] was encouraged by his manager to keep quiet about his relationship with my mum because of his fans, but he was determined to marry her. I grew up watching this love story; it’s what I wanted to emulate.
I was haunted for years by being sent to boarding school for a year when I was seven. My dad was working hard and my parents needed time together, but I really missed them. I’m a faithful person because of how I was brought up; my parents were committed to each other, and I could see how destructive any other route was.
Vanity works every time as an argument against taking drugs; they make you look terrible. I had boyfriends who took them but I was never interested. There is a lot of pressure on women in the rock business to look good. I modelled myself on Marilyn Monroe by constantly dyeing my hair; I was very influenced by the way she worked with the camera and I’ve always had a streak of her innocence.
My father had some reservations about me choosing a pop career. All of a sudden he saw his daughter pouting on telly – but then, he’d done a fair bit of pouting in his time.
There were no predators in the rock business that I couldn’t handle. Gene Simmons from Kiss sniffed around me once. I just kept moving seats. Prince Albert of Monaco sent me a message at my hotel to join him at a nightclub, but I told him to sod off. I thought he should have approached me himself.
Chris Evans and I were a bit of a flash in the pan. We had a big impact on each other, but he seems to be constantly running away from things. I’m glad I’m not running after him.
My self-administered enema [on the TV show Celebrity Detox in 2003] demystified me; that’s why I did it. There was something very liberating about it. I’m very low-maintenance, although I have a personal trainer to sort out my weak lower back – exacerbated by childbirth and gardening. But gardening is great for helping with PMT.
The pressure to prove myself as a gardener is still there to some degree. I knew some people would think I was just jumping on the bandwagon, but they underestimate me.
I’m exhibiting at Chelsea Flower Show this year, and I’m writing a book about being a first-time gardener. I’ll put myself into any arena where there’s a chance to learn something.

Kim Wilde’s first book, Gardening with Children (Collins, £ 14,99) is out now