Lisa Faulkner seemed to have the perfect life back in the early 2000s. She was starring in various hit TV dramas at the time, including Spooks, and married her first husband, fellow actor Chris Coghill, in a beautiful ceremony in 2005.
But, in reality, Lisa desperately wanted to become a mother and was struggling with ‘lots and lots of failed IVF’ which left her feeling ‘always stressed and in this angst’ before she eventually adopted her daughter Billie, now 14, in 2008.
Lisa told our sister publication Woman, ‘You get to a certain age when everyone around you seems to be having babies and it becomes a very lonely place.
‘If you’re dating someone, you’re constantly asked, “When are you getting married?” Once you’re married, you’re asked, “Are you having kids?” – and even once you have kids, you’re asked if you’re having any more. It’s always about the next step and it’s even worse being in the public eye.’
Lisa also admitted that her ‘low mood’ began when she was just 16, when she lost her mother, and she had to keep her anxiety in check. She said, ‘Since then, I’ve had to keep talking to people [about how I feel] to make sure I don’t sink very low.
‘For me, wellness and mental health means a lot of self-care. We all struggle at times in our lives when we have to deal with anxiety and stress and feeling below par. To me, I have to keep that in touch.’
Finding love again
Although Lisa credits walking as one of the ways she keeps herself feeling positive, it’s her husband John Torode – who she married in October last year – who supports her when she’s feeling down.
In fact, the MasterChef judge is the person who initially encouraged her to sit down and write her book, Meant To Be, all about Lisa’s IVF struggles and adopting Billie.
‘When I told John about my idea of writing the book, he said, “You’ve got to do this”,’ Lisa explained.
‘He’s been so supportive, because, of course, I’ve been sitting there in the kitchen tapping away on my computer and things have been coming back to me and I’ve been reading diaries and crying.
‘He always supports me and always believes in me – more than I believe in myself sometimes.’
The support is clearly mutual with the couple, as John called Lisa ‘his rock’ in a romantic Instagram post on her 48th birthday in February.
He wrote, ‘Lisa, you are my rock, my friend, my love, you are funny, kind and loving, caring, joyous and beautiful, inside and out. Love you. Happy happy birthday.’
One blended family
While Lisa already had daughter Billie when she and John started dating in October 2012, he had four children – Lulu and Jonah with his ex-wife, Jessica, and Casper and Marselle from another previous relationship.
For Lisa, being together with their blended family in one house over breakfast is what keeps her going.
She told Woman, ‘We’re now just one big blended family, who all laugh a lot together and all love each other. When all the children are in the house with us, it’s the best feeling.
‘My favourite time is when it’s breakfast and you’ve got one person boiling an egg, another making pancakes and someone else putting sausages in the oven and all the jars of jam and chocolate spread are out on the table. It’s what
I like to call ‘happy chaos’ – I love it. John has four wonderful children and I’m blessed with them all.’