THERE’S not much that Ulrika Jonsson hasn’t done.
Going from a morning TV weather girl to a household name, having multiple marriages — and divorces — four children, one born with a heart defect, and high-profile flings . . . She has even taught Boris Johnson to dance at Christmas parties.
And now she will be sharing her wealth of knowledge and sassy, strong opinions with Sun readers in her new weekly column, starting next Saturday.
Speaking from her home in Oxfordshire, the 53-year-old is as sunny and bright as the weather — and has a glint in her eye.
She says: “It’s true that I really have lived quite a life already . . . but there’s plenty more to come.
“I’m excited about my future. My kids are older, I’m single and very ready to mingle.
“After the year we’ve all endured the future feels brighter and I’m ecstatic to share my views with Sun readers every Saturday.”
Flitting around her kitchen wearing jogging bottoms covered in dog hair, Ulrika is the happiest I’ve ever seen her. Having known her for more than a decade, she suddenly has the energy of a teenager — and there’s a reason for that.
With a cheeky laugh, she states: “I am having a sexual awakening.
“I’ve felt very strongly for many years that I am a sexual creature. It’s something that I say regularly to my children — much to their horror — but I repeat it.
PLENTY OF FOOLING AROUND
“They have their fingers in their ears and pretend to vomit. But it’s important for women my age not to be put in a box and told to shut up.
“Everything I have lived through has made me stronger and believe in myself more than ever.
“Having four kids of various ages, one who was born with a congenital heart defect, and having three marriages — then three divorces — means I have a huge wealth of experience on love and heartache.
“I remember once reading a comment on something I’d written about love. It said, ‘Oh, the irony that Ulrika Jonsson is giving out relationship advice’.
“I thought, ‘No, you’re wrong! I am absolutely the best person to give advice, I have lived so much and experienced everything’.”
But having loved and lost so many times, I ask the question that Ulrika hears regularly: Would you marry again?
With an eye roll, she sighs and admits: “I’m a hedonist and a spontaneous person who believes in love. While it would feel strange getting married again, I can’t ever rule it out for the future.
“I remember after my second divorce I said to a friend, ‘You have my permission to shoot me if I ever marry again’.
“She obviously didn’t own a gun as I went and did it anyway!
“My last marriage was 12 years and the first one was seven, so they lasted a decent amount of time.
“I have a lot of love to give. But the words ‘marriage’ and ‘Ulrika Jonsson’ have a bit of an image problem. They need some seriously good PR.
“And I want to do plenty of fooling around before that could happen.”
Ulrika has been open and honest about having a sexual awakening in her fifties, after admitting to only sleeping with her ex-husband Brian Monet once in more than eight years during their marriage.
I'm having a sexual awakening… and believe me, I have a lot to give
Now, having delved into the world of dating apps, she is ready to get back in the saddle.
She says: “I am on a mission to make older women loud and proud about their sex lives and feel liberated in the bedroom. Because it’s really important that they know that just because they get beyond a certain age, it doesn’t change your need for love, both emotional and physical.
“I enjoy sex, I want to have sex and I am open to experience that. And it’s difficult for women my age to say that without being seen in a certain way.
“It makes some people feel uncomfortable when I talk about sex, but so what?
“Women like me need to talk about it to stop it being a taboo.”
Ulrika was first married at the age of 22, to cameraman John Turnbull in 1990, and had son Cameron. She feels that her newfound zest for dating comes from settling down at such a young age.
“I’ve lived my life back to front, which makes it interesting.
“In my early twenties I was working non-stop and couldn’t socialise because of the early hours of morning TV.
“I was married with a child and grew up far too quickly. While most girls my age were just finished university, I had a career, a husband and child.
“I continued to have to deal with grown-up issues when Bo was born with a heart defect and I had to spend my entire time fighting to keep her alive. Now I feel I want to sieze opportunities and do things I never did then.
“I’ve had a colourful career and experienced many things.
“Boris Johnson, when he was an editor, even asked me to teach him to dance while he interviewed me. And now he’s Prime Minister! Which just shows, you never know how life will turn out.
“I have trained as a TV journalist and have interviewed many politicians, and feel strongly about getting answers and calling them out.
“When John Major was Prime Minister I interviewed him, and then Gordon Brown when he was Chancellor of the Exchequer.
“My dream interview at the moment would be Carrie Symonds, but her old man would be a good second.”
In her quest to always be open and honest about her life, Ulrika has had a huge response to her revelations from Sun readers.
She recalls: “After I revealed in The Sun that I’d only slept with my husband once in more than eight years, a man stopped me when I was walking my dogs and thanked me for speaking out about it.
“He told me he had been living in similar pain. It made him feel he was less of a freak and he was grateful that I’d started a conversation about it.”
While she is endlessly proud of her four children — Cameron, 26, Bo, 21, Martha, 16 and Malcolm, 12, — who she jokingly refers to as The Ungratefuls, Ulrika has been on the receiving end of a lot of comments about them having different dads.
From the home she shares with her two youngest children and bulldog Leo, she says: “I think people make up their minds about me before they’ve even met me, which can be tricky when I meet new people. It made me become very shy and introverted over the years.
“There’s this idea that a woman who has had children by various partners is a tart, which has always sincerely baffled me.
“I fell in love, trusted the men I was with and we both wanted a child together.
“When that relationship didn’t work out I put the work in by bringing up those children and I financially support them. I, naively, thought people might respect that.
“I’m sure if I was a man bringing up four kids, I’d be given a medal, rather than branded a 4×4.”
Now, nearing her 54th birthday, Ulrika approaches life with great excitement and humour.
She reflects: “My dad was my age when he died, so that has been a very poignant lesson for me.
“I now have more years behind me than I do in front. I want to spend them laughing and loving and not being afraid to speak my mind.
“And I can’t wait to share all of that with Sun readers.”
SHE’S A RUM ONE
WE asked Ulrika some quickfire questions that will help you get to know our great new columnist a little better . . .
Q: Favourite quote?
A: “A woman is like a tea bag – only in hot water do you realise how strong she is.”
Q: Animals or babies?
A: Gone off babies until I have grandkids. So it’s animals all the way for me.
Q: Favourite tipple?
A: Dark rum, dark rum or possibly dark rum.
Q: Beach or back garden?
A: I love my garden but I probably love the sea more – beach.
Q: Best book?
A: Unless you know me, I guess my autobiography, Honest. But because it ends when I was 35, it might now be time for Part 2.
Q: One thing on your bucket list?
A: Simply to live in a house on the coast surrounded by Bulldogs.
Q: Cheese board or chocolate cake?
A: Cheese board. Love a bit of savoury.
Q: Song that always gets you on the dance floor?
A: Anything disco, anything 90s. I’m a brilliant dancer . . . when I’m drunk.
Q: Last person you texted?
A: If I told you that I would have to kill you . . .
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