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Davina McCall reveals how she got her confidence back after 'crippling' menopause crisis

She looks amazing!

Laura Benjamin
Laura BenjaminNews Director
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As one of our most popular television presenters, Davina McCall is often approached by adoring members of the public.

PHOTOS: Davina McCall's £3.4million family home is stunning

And it's no wonder; her bubbly personality is infectious and very much in evidence on this exclusive HELLO! magazine shoot, as the former Big Brother host charms everyone on set.

But in recent years, fans of the Long Lost Family host don't come up to her on the street to discuss her latest hit show - but instead to thank her for educating the nation's women about the menopause.

As she strikes a pose for the cameras, and displays the confidence that she once thought was lost to her as she began to suffer perimenopausal symptoms, Davina tells us: "There's not one single day when somebody doesn't talk to me about it. I was on the tube yesterday and people were just coming and sitting down next to me to talk about it. One woman come up to me say: 'I just wanted to say thank you so much for doing what you do."

In recent years, the 54-year-old has become something of a menopause ambassador, openly talking about her experiences and filming two well- received documentaries about it.

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MORE: Holly Willoughby sends her support to Davina McCall amid health struggles

She has campaigned in Parliament for better support and advice for women going through the change and last week released her debut book entitled 'Menopausing – the Positive Roadmap to your Second Spring,' which was written with Dr Naomi Potter, which immediately shot onto the best-seller list.

"I wanted to try and create a book that was very easy to digest," she says. "Obviously the menopause is a medical thing, but it's also a very emotional and emotive one. And it's something that many of us know nothing about. This book is partly about reclaiming ourselves and about rediscovering how to do that. How do you stop being invisible and step into the light?"

Davina shares many of her own experiences in the book while others do the same, so readers can recognise everyone goes through their own experiences.


The TV presenter looked amazing in a Nadine Merabi lace white jumpsuit

"There's so many things that I've learned writing this book but also, it's a little bit irreverent because I do feel like women our age get the right to be a bit naughty because we've lived life and we've done a lot."

The tome also offers advice from Dr Nighat Arif, a menopause health and wellness expert, and skincare expert Caroline Hirons, as well as some tips on menopausal hair from Davina's boyfriend, hairdresser Michael Douglas.

"It's so funny because he's with me, obviously, and he's become a massive expert. He's worked with a trichologist and everything to really learn about what happens to your hair and menopause."

MORE: 'I tried a Davina McCall-approved wellness holiday - here's what it was like'

Davina's journey has come full circle in the last ten years, which is when she first started experiencing symptoms that, at first, left her feeling incredibly confused and anxious.

"I think it's a very lonely place to be - it certainly was for me. I felt like I was invisible and I didn’t know where to turn or who to talk to. I decided I really wanted to try and do something about it or take something to help. And I felt enormous shame and embarrassment about that. It seemed to be something that was a bit of a dirty secret."

PHOTO: Davina McCall works out in gorgeous backless sweatshirt

READ: Davina McCall shares mindblowing health warning on Instagram

One of the hardest times came when she struggled with her confidence in front of the camera.

"I felt like I knew how to do my job and then all of a sudden these things started happening. The most crippling for me was lack of sleep, which gave me horrific brain fog. And my eyes were struggling a bit with the autocue. That's where the confidence crisis came because I thought 'What's happening to me?' I didn't feel ill, I just really didn't feel myself. And then I thought maybe it was some kind of neurological thing; I questioned whether I had some kind of dementia or Alzheimer's."

After doing her research and seeing a sympathetic doctor, Davina started taking HRT but she emphasises that what works for one woman may not work for another.

She does, however, know there is what can help everyone: exercise. The famously fit star clearly knows the benefits of this herself, having always admitted that working out keeps both her body and mind functioning better.

"I cannot stress the importance of finding some kind of exercise that you enjoy. When you are peri-menopausal, you're exhausted. You really don't want to do some kind of class with a bunch of gym bunnies. But it can be whatever you want it to be; it can be getting off the tube two stops early and walking that bit extra."

davina on sofa

Davina looked amazing as she posed in yellow

After fronting two documentaries for Channel 4 – Sex, Myths and the Menopause was broadcast in 2021 and Sex, Mind and the Menopause aired in May – she is hopeful she can record some more shows on the subject.

It's a popular topic to cover; HELLO! recently signed the Menopause Workplace Pledge, which encourages employers to fully support women in the workplace.

"We've been talking about how to cover men's stories and what they go through. It's not just our issue - we need support all around. I think there's sometimes a danger of 'manbashing' by saying: 'If it was a man's problem, something would be done about it'. But I know lots of men who are desperate to help and who love their partner and don't know how to support them."

Given her passion and expertise for the topic, it’s perhaps no surprise that Davina’s children Holly, 20, Tilly, 18, and 15-year-old Chester, with her ex-husband Matthew Robertson, are also well-versed in menopausal matters.

"It’s important that all three of them know as much as they can. Poor things - I'm forever gassing on about something that I've learned from somebody and so they really are very well informed. That something that I am overjoyed about because it will definitely happen to the girls and to a friend of Chester's or a work colleague of Chester's ..."

Clearly close to her brood, she recently took the summer off so they could spend quality time together.

"All my kids were together, possibly for the last summer. My daughter will be doing placements in hospital next summer and Tilly's off to Australia in October so it was really nice. I work very, very hard but I am lucky that I can sometimes take time off."

And work hard she does. Davina is currently on our screens in The Masked Dancer as part of the judging panel alongside Peter Crouch, Oti Mabuse and Jonathan Ross.

"I love that show so much, we literally laugh all the time. I love Jonathan, I've known him forever and Oti is like champagne; she's so bubbly and happy and joyful to be around. Peter is an absolute godsend and he attacks the whole challenge in such a brilliant way."

She has also just started filming another series of Long Lost Family while also prepping for the next batch of The Masked Singer episodes.

One show she won’t be a part of, though, is the new revival of Big Brother; a reboot will air next year on ITV2, five years after the original hit show last aired.

Davina won't be returning as host but tells us the ground-breaking show will always be very special to her.

"For 11 years I never missed an episode of Big Brother. I just love that show! And my dream would be that it would continue to be the type of programme that it was. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do. I'm really pleased it's been brought back."

With her infectious smile and seemingly boundless energy, she hugs us all goodbye on the shoot and then she's off - a perfect advertisement for midlife, an inspiration to us all. 

Menopausing: The Positive Roadmap to Your Second Spring by Davina McCall and Dr Naomi Potter is out now, priced £22, published by HQ.

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