Ulrika Jonsson: You Ask the Questions

(Such as: so, when you talked to John Major, did you get a sense that he was a goer? And did that fight with Nancy really take place?)
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The Independent Online

Ulrika Jonsson, 35, was born in Sweden and moved to Britain at the age of 12. She became famous as a TV-am weather girl and went on to present Gladiators and Dog Eat Dog as well as being a team captain on Shooting Stars. Her love life has attracted the attention of the tabloids – most sensational was the revelation last year of her affair with the England football manager, Sven Goran Eriksson. Last year, she published Honest, her autobiography. Her latest television series, a dating show called Mr Right, had an unexpected result when she herself became engaged to "Mr Right", aka Lance Gerrard-Wright. She lives in Berkshire with her two children, Cameron and Bo.

I was very impressed when you downed a pint of lager in eight seconds on Shooting Stars. Have you ever done that in the local pub?
James Borland, Twickenham

On Shooting Stars I didn't have the whole pint, because most of it was running down my chin and my front. I have done it in the local pub, much to the disapproval of the village, though I don't drink much beer any more, as it makes my stomach feel a bit peculiar. I'm a great red-wine drinker instead, but I don't down pints of that – just large goblets.

If you could shoot any star, who would it be and why?
Katy Sampson, Brighton

Vanessa Feltz. It wouldn't take much of an aim. I think she's a nasty piece of work. I haven't read her column, but I heard that she had started bringing my daughter Bo into her attack on me, and at that stage I was ready to punch her bloody lights out.

How is your daughter, Bo, getting on? I saw a picture of you both in a magazine, and she looked so sweet.
Josie Stephenson, London

She's fine, although obviously she still has a major heart defect. We don't know when her next open-heart surgery will be, but hopefully not until the beginning of next year. We have to wait for her to deteriorate but still be strong enough to have the operation. It's bloody hard; it doesn't get more serious than a sick child. When it first happens, you can't believe it – and you can't imagine how life is going to be. Bo doesn't even know how brave she is yet.

How did you know that "Mr Right" was Mr Right?
Caroline Flint, Newcastle

It's inexplicable – a feeling you get that is incomparable to anything you've had before. I've found a true friend, which – bar my first husband – hasn't happened before. He gets on brilliantly with my children. It's quite a task to take on someone else's kids, but he's done it seamlessly. In the past, my family life and my personal life stayed separate. I've never joined them up before. That is the big difference now.

You once hosted the Miss World competition. If you were Miss World, what would your ambition be? Would you declare your intention to save the world or look after fluffy animals?
Hugh Jefferson, Leamington Spa

I can't bear fluffy animals, although they have their place – perhaps in Room 101. As Miss World, I would urge women to wear less make-up and never lie about their age. I think wrinkles give more depth to a person, but I'm speaking as a soon-to-be-36-year-old, so I'm not old enough to comment properly. Attitude to age can change quickly: the first time I was in the papers, it was because I had been to the theatre with Prince Edward. They said, "Ulrika Jonsson, 18", and I was indignant because I was 19.

How often do you read the papers? What's the most inaccurate story you've read about yourself?
Sandy Jeavons, York

I never read the papers. I've been the subject of so many column inches, I now believe that what I don't know about can't hurt me. However crazy some of the stories are, they can still upset me. Because more than 90 per cent of the stuff about me is not true, my friends always phone me to check the facts. When it came out that I was going to marry Lance, I didn't get a single congratulations card, because everyone thought it was a spoof. That's how hardy my friends have become.

Do you ever feel like retreating to a small hut in Sweden with your children and placing a sign on the door saying, "Do not disturb – ever"?
Beryl Jones, Pontypool

Always. If I could afford not to work, I'd happily not do it. I'd always be doing something creative, whether working on the house or painting or writing. I don't think I would go crazy. It's something I think of more every day, and I'm getting closer and closer to it. If you're not careful, I'll leave the country.

Where is Saddam Hussein?
Andrew Callahan, Epping Forest

He's in Cookham, my village. I can't give you his exact location because he trusts me now. Trust is a big part of our relationship.

Ulrika vs Nancy: did that fight really take place? Or was it a figment of the press imagination?
Angela Molinaro, Croydon

Yes, and she kept complaining about how the baked beans got in her hair. When a woman's worrying about beans in her hair, she's not watching out for my left hook.

If you were a Gladiator, what would you be called, and what would your costume be?
Wendy Baycliff, by e-mail

My name would be Viking. I'd have one of those horned helmets and a pathetic bit of fur covering my honeymoon passage. My top would be exposed to scare off attackers.

From reading Honest, it seems as though writing it must have been cathartic for you. Was it?
Charlotte Reeder, Loughborough

Yes, very. It was hard work and it was emotional, but it helped to clear my thoughts so that I could move on. I had to set the record straight. Every woman who has come up to me had something to identify with in the book, and that's the point of doing it. You're not looking at a freaky woman who keeps having disaster after disaster – my experiences can be the natural course of the life of many women of my age. I'm not going to write another autobiography. Everyone has talked about my personal life, me included, but this is where it ends. I am 35; I have two children; I don't want to run the gauntlet of this public emotional thing.

During your interview with John Major when he was Prime Minister, did you get any sense that he was a bit of a goer?
Bruce Sanchez, Dumfries

There was a glint in his eye, but really he was quite formal. I was shocked by the revelations, but, given how similar Norma Major and Edwina Currie are, it shouldn't have been such a surprise.

In Sweden, are you exceptionally good-looking? Or do you just look good in comparison with the British?
Frank Tarrant, Bristol

I'm so much bloody plainer in Sweden. All the Swedish girls, dark or blonde, are really pretty. They have a naturalness about them that beats everything. They're good stock.

Prince Edward – was he a good snog?
Donna Moffat, Rochdale

God, it was so long ago, I can't remember. He was pretty OK, you know.

Ulrika Jonsson's autobiography, 'Honest', is published tomorrow in paperback by Pan Macmillan at £6.99