Watch: Loose Women's Kaye Adams on refusing to get 'stuck' at 60
As the long-term anchor of ITV’s Loose Women chat show, Kaye Adams became famous for leading no-nonsense discussions on political topics and current affairs.
Her “tough” reputation has been built over four decades as a journalist.
Still only in her mid-twenties, she interviewed former prime minister Margaret Thatcher, and covered the devastation of the Lockerbie bombing.
A successful media career, presenting on TV, and live radio followed. Last year, she conquered “nerves and anxiety” to appear on BBC’s Strictly Come Dancing.
Yet there is one topic that Adams admits scares her – growing older – particularly poignant as she had her 60th birthday in December.
“You go into a greetings card shop,” she told Kate Thornton on podcast White Wine Question Time. “You're ‘flirty at 50’, you're ‘fabulous at 40’… and then it's 60.” She joked. “It's like, you know, your teeth are falling out, your t**s are on the floor, and you're farting, you know, involuntarily.”
A self-confessed “age phobic”, Adams has admitted to lying about her age in public and even to her own children.
She partly attributes this “wee [quirk]” to her own “ballsy” mother, who worked in the “roughty-tufty” haulage business, and only ever admitted to being “over 21”.
“For my mum, working in that business, in the 60s, being a woman, was hard enough,” Adams said. “Being an old woman was like, ‘Get out of town!’”
Adams believes her decision to state that she was “the best part of a decade” younger than her real age, was also driven both by her early career success and late motherhood.
“I was young to become a news reporter, I was young to interview Margaret Thatcher,” she revealed, “so I guess I must have internalised that as a badge of honour.” In addition, “I was an older mum, and I was probably conscious of that at the school gates.”
To Adam’s bemusement, her lie was uncovered by her daughter’s school friend. “This little girl was like, ‘I've checked and my mummy's checked, and we've looked on the internet,’” Adams joked.
A long-held fear that she would be “irrelevant by 60” drove Adams, with her friend Karen MacKenzie, to launch the podcast How To Be Sixty. In it they discuss all aspects of growing older with a roster of well-known guests.
As a result, Adams told Thornton she was now an “age-phobic in recovery”.
Listen to the full episode to hear Kaye Adams discuss her long-term but healthily independent relationship, her feelings about turning 60 and the life changes she's planning for her next chapter
Adams has now chosen to embrace her new decade, examining the changes she might want to make in her life. Although she continues to work full-time, including now as an occasional panelist for Loose Women, she admitted her ideal future may include working less.
“I was the kind of person through my twenties that was constantly sort of hitting targets,” she revealed. “When I'm going to have my first house, when am I going to have that car? When am I going to have that holiday? When am I going to earn this much?”
Now, Adams says, she’s considering, “Do I want to do that job just because I’m being offered that job, or are there other things that I want to do with my life?”
She continues, “I want to stop concentrating on climbing and start concentrating on growing.”
Learning to speak Spanish, cook and travel are some of the interests the presenter may pursue, she told Thornton.
“I think if I start to do a lot less work I'm going to have to find my thing, and I don’t know what it is yet.”
This change may involve “re-jigging” within her relationship with her partner Ian Campbell, an international tennis coach, who she met when “we were about 30” and described to Thornton as a “lovely, lovely man”.
The couple, she said, have always enjoyed independence from each other, “doing our own thing”, including travelling for work and keeping finances separate. Now Adams is considering, “What point do we actually come together and think, right, ‘Okay, we're gonna have to start doing stuff together now?’”
Adams says that while Campbell would “up and move to Spain in a heartbeat”, she “wouldn't want to be away from my kids – I wouldn't want to be away from my friends.”
It's perhaps not a surprising comment from a woman whose professional relationships with her on-screen TV co-hosts of Loose Women, such as Nadia Sawalha and Carol McGiffin, are so clearly also genuine friendships.
“I really do rely on my friends that I've known for decades and decades,” she told Thornton.
Her sixties may also be the time to address one regret Adams has about her career – being eliminated early from Strictly Come Dancing, due to “nerves and anxiety” that, she said, left her “paralysed”.
“If I'm really honest, I did want to see if there was something in me that I could unleash, you know, that feeling of confidence… in your body,” she revealed.
“I still feel very privileged to have been at such close quarters to [the Strictly professionals],” she said. “They express such emotion and beauty and wonderful things just through the movement of their body, and I think that would be a beautiful thing to experience.”
Adams continued – hinting perhaps, at a return to attempting to dance again – “I had hoped that I might get a little bit of that with Strictly and because of the way it panned out. I didn't, and so I guess that would be maybe my thing.”
In the meantime, she is determined to keep evolving personally into her new decade.
"I want to be in a different place in 10 years' time than where I am now. I don't want to be stuck.”