Arlene Phillips has revealed that she was treated like “some kind of freak” after giving birth to her second daughter aged 47.
The former Strictly Come Dancing judge said she experienced a lot of prejudice being an older mother to Abi, who was born in 1991.
The 71-year-old choreographer told Good Housekeeping: “[I was told] I was some kind of freak, that I would find it hard to bond with my baby when I could be the grandmother.
“I’m so vociferous if anybody says something to me that I find offensive. But I was so vulnerable. I let all these remarks go by with tears in my eyes.
“Nowadays, being an older mother is very common. When you let all those things go you see the absolute joy of having a baby when you’re older. You really do feel like you’ve been given a gift.”
The star also has a daughter called Alana from her first marriage to fashion designer Danny Noble. She was 27, and he was 18 at the time. Their marriage lasted seven years.
Arlene fell pregnant with her second daughter in 1991 and it came as a huge shock to her and partner Angus Ion.
She said that she thought she was heading into the menopause. “We didn’t discuss it [another child], it just wasn’t on the menu. I already had Alana, and Angus soon saw her as his own,” she told the Daily Mail in 2006.
Adding: “No one could have been more stunned. I thought I was heading for the menopause and here I was expecting a baby. It was such a blessing.”
What’s most shocking is what Arlene’s doctor said.
“He told me that at my age I should be a grandmother not a mother. That made me feel terrible,” she told the magazine.
But now, she’s less paranoid about being an older mum as “there’s less of a gap in age between women as they get older”.
During the interview, Arlene also said that she was never given a real reason for being sacked from BBC’s Strictly in 2009.
Alesha Dixon, 30, was hired to replace her, and over 1000 complaints were made as the show was accused of being sexist and ageist.
She said: “I’ve never really been given a real reason explanation [as to why I was axed]. I don’t think I will ever know the answer.”