Sarah Beeny reflects on marriage ‘ups and downs’ after cancer treatment

English broadcaster underwent chemotherapy and a double mastectomy following breast cancer diagnosis last year

Maanya Sachdeva
Thursday 26 October 2023 13:59 BST
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Sarah Beeny reflects on marriage difficulties after cancer treatment

TV presenter Sarah Beeny had reflected on the challenges she and her artist husband Graham Swift faced in the aftermath of her extensive cancer treatment, adding “he has had to work at” their 21-year marriage.

Beeny, 51, was diagnosed with breast cancer in August 2022, with the Property Ladder host documenting her recovery in the Channel 4 series Sarah Beeny vs Cancer. She also explored how breast cancer treatments in the UK have evolved since her mother Ann died of the same disease at the age of 39 – when Beeny was 10 years old.

The English businesswoman revealed she was cancer-free during an appearance on ITV’s Lorraine in April. At the time, Beeny said: “I feel very fortunate that I had the diagnosis that I did, and that I live in 2023 and that I’m the age that I am. So many things I’m fortunate for, so I feel very blessed.”

In a new interview on The Mid•Point podcast, the property expert opened up about the “ups and downs” of her marriage in the wake of her cancer diagnosis, divulging that she and Swift decided to “stay together” for the sake of their four children at one point.

Referring to their long-term relationship, host Gabby Logan asked Beeny: “Here you are in midlife, still in what looks like the first throes of love. How do you do it?”

“No, we’re hanging on in there by our fingernails!” she replied. “Graham always said, ‘The day we have to work at our marriage, I’m going to leave.’ And I was like, ‘Really?’ But I think he has had to work at it, to be honest.”

Admitting she has been a “bit horrible” over the last two years, Beeny described one moment in which Swift told her they would have to choose between “staying together happily or unhappily” since neither of them were prepared to have their children for half the time.

The couple have four sons together, including 18-year-old Billy, 16-year-old Charlie, 14-year-old Raffey and 12-year-old Laurie.

Beeny and Swift have been married for 21 years and share four sons together

Beeny told Logan: “I was being particularly horrible and he said, “You know the thing is Sarah, you’re not prepared to leave and have your children half the time, and neither am I, so we’re going to stay together. And we’re going to stay together happily or unhappily, so which would you like it to be?’”

“And I was like, ‘Oh that is quite dark, isn’t it?’” Beeny recalled her reaction at the time. “He said, ‘You wanna be happy or unhappy, because either way we’re still going to live together,’ so I was like, ‘OK we’ll do happy then, shall we?’ [and] he was like, ‘What a good idea. Maybe you should be a bit nicer?’”

The presenter, whose broadcasting career began in 2001 at Channel 4, went on to share advice that her brother, Diccon, had given her when Beeny complained about difficulties in the marriage.

“I get it Sarah, it must be horrendous being married to him. The only thing I think that could be worse is being married to you. So I suggest you go and make up!” Beeny recalled their conversation.

Since making her TV debut, Beeny has fronted multiple home improvement and property shows, including Renovate Don’t Relocate and How to Live Mortage Free with Sarah Beeny.

Elsewhere, the TV star told Logan she had dedicated only one chapter in her new book, The Simple Life: How I Found Home, to chronicling her cancer journey because she did not want the illness to be the “defining thing” of her life.

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