My Secret Life: Kathy Lette, 54, novelist

'I regret turning Clooney down'

My parents were… inspirational. My darling dad worked in fibre optics. His name was Mervyn. We called him Optic Merv. My lovely mum, an innovative head teacher, worked full-time with no help in the house. Basically the woman looks underdressed without a plinth.

The household I grew up in… was full of love and laughter. My dad was a famous rugby player. He was once the fastest front row forward in Australian history. All he wanted were four sons whom he could teach to scrum and run. What he got instead were four feisty daughters. Is it any wonder the poor man retreated to his garage?

When I was a child I wanted to be… taller.

You may not know it but I'm no good at… light dusting; my skirting boards have top soil. And cooking; I use my smoke alarm as a timer. Or tending herbaceous borders; my garden is the neighbourhood day spa for local foxes. I see them as free-range pets.

At night I dream of… Johnny Depp presenting me with the Nobel Prize for Literature, then whisking me away to a tropical island where he licks the roe of virgin sturgeon from my navel beneath a tropical palm.

I wish I had never worn… my heart on my sleeve. I'm too trusting and candid. But also, those leopard-skin hot pants and iridescent boob tube, aged 17.

What I see when I look in the mirror… Laughter lines. It's all there: the books, the babies, the hours of fun-loving flirtation, plus the challenges of raising a child with Asperger's – which inspired my latest novel, The Boy Who Fell to Earth.

It's not fashionable but I like… feminism. When did it become the worst F-word? Not only do women in Britain still not have equal pay, but females in the developing world are fed last, fed least and one woman dies every minute in childbirth. The fact that one in three girls around the world is denied an education; poverty, conflict and discrimination is a huge waste of potential.

I drive… many people I know up the wall. But if you're talking transport, I get around town on a bright blue bike.

My house is… in north London. It backs on to [Australian comedian] Barry Humphries' home. Whenever he arrives back from some overseas jaunt he emails me and says, "Kathy, dear, I'm poised at your rear entrance".

My greatest regret… That I didn't sleep with George Clooney when I had the chance. I was living in Hollywood writing on the sitcom The Facts of Life, which was Clooney's first TV role. "I'm a writer," I said to George at the time. "I don't go out with actors. You put other people's words in your mouth when you never know where they've been." I am still impaling myself on my pen.

A life in brief

Kathy Lette was born in Sydney, Australia in 1958. She had early success with her first novel, Puberty Blues, written when she was just 17. After several years as a columnist and sitcom writer she returned to novels and has penned 11 international bestsellers to date, including Mad Cows and her most recent novel, The Boy Who Fell to Earth. She is an ambassador for several charities including Plan UK, Women and Children First and the White Ribbon Alliance. She lives in London with her husband and two children

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: Human Resources Manager

£28000 - £35000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: A successful organisation...

Recruitment Genius: Internal Recruiter - Manufacturing

£20000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An Internal Recruiter (manufact...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager (CIPD) - Barking / East Ham - £50-55K

£50000 - £55000 per annum + 25 days holidays & benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Man...

Recruitment Genius: Operations / Project Manager

£40000 - £48000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This software company specialis...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests