Davina McCall, on why her late mother dying was 'a relief'

The television presenter recalls her difficult relationship with her mother

Davina McCall has described how it was “almost a relief” when her mother died in 2008, thus ending their difficult relationship.

Her French mother, Florence Koch, left the family and returned to Paris when McCall was three. She lived with her paternal grandparents until she was 13 when she moved in with her father.

"I never doubted for a moment that she loved me," said McCall. "It was almost a relief when she was gone and I could stop asking her to be something that she just couldn’t be. Motherhood is about being selfless, to some degree, and she just needed to be the centre of attention."

Her attempts to rebuild a relationship proved futile and her mother couldn’t bring herself to offer her daughter any affection.

"That’s all I ever wanted from my mum," McCall told The Telegraph. "To be held tight in a protective cuddle. To get out of the bath and be wrapped up in a towel, in her arms. That’s why it takes me so long to put my kids to bed every night; I need to hold them."

The 46-year-old – who has three children – still clearly remembers being let down by her mother when she was a child. She has previously said that she was left in a nightclub by her, aged 12.

"I remember once my elder sister and I were really excited about going on holiday to Spain with my mother and some of her friends, when it occurred to them that because I was only little, I would need a babysitter when they went out at night," said McCall. "So my mother decided I wasn’t coming and I had to stay at home."

The television presenter said in 2012 that she felt "relief" that she could "stop swinging from side to side", when her mother died.

"And I also think, 'Please God, when I die, don’t let it be a relief to anybody,'" she said.  "I imagined her in the hospital bed, and I imagined these shoots of light going from my palms, all over, across the world, to South Africa, to the hospital where she was at, and going straight into her heart."

"All I kept saying was, ‘I forgive you. I forgive you. I forgive you.’"

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