Lessons in recovering a lost friendship from Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams

From left: Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams have been friends for over 20 years – but the course of true friendship does not always run true
From left: Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams have been friends for over 20 years – but the course of true friendship does not always run true

Loose Women co-hosts Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams are thick as thieves both on- and off-screen. But their 20-year friendship has suffered its share of slings and arrows.

Speaking this week to Kate Thornton about the past turbulence in their relationship, Kaye revealed that losing Nadia’s friendship had been incredibly painful.

“[Nadia has] a very kind of powerful personality – so charismatic. You're one of those people that when you like someone, it's hugely flattering,” she told Nadia during a taping of White Wine Question Time.

“You can make people feel as if they are very important, that they are very funny, that they are very smart. You make people feel good about themselves and therefore if that is just quickly withdrawn, you know, it's a hell of a rug to be pulled from underneath your feet, you know?

“I would say [...] I felt rejected. It was like losing a lover to be honest. You thought you had this special relationship and this person thought that you were wonderful and made you feel good about yourself, and then they dump you.”

How did they find their way back to each other?

Accept that it might not be about you, but be aware when your own insecurities are making you withdraw

“I had to accept that this was Nadia’s choice,” Kaye said. “So for all I might be hurt or rejected or if I wanted to rant and rave, I could rant and rave, but ultimately, you know, we were two adult people and as this was her choice, then I had to accept that choice.”

It took years for Nadia to understand that the seed of their dispute was sown way back when they met.

“Kaye was one of the funniest people I'd ever met. She was the smartest, but she was so confident. She was so cool. She was so able,” she said, recalling meeting Kaye when she was first cast on ITV’s Loose Women alongside her.

The cast was so impressive, that Nadia was immediately intimidated. “I had terrible imposter syndrome! I was asking ITV if I could buy myself out of the contract.”

“I definitely went to a very dark place and completely removed myself. I was that person that didn't pick up the phone to anybody. Anybody that made me feel that imposter feeling and it was really awful because that's happened a couple of times with me and Kaye, and always it's because I can't live up to what it is that Kaye is.”

Nadia now realises the error in that thinking, but at the time it all seemed very real.

“I think I'd hidden away. I think I felt ashamed at the way I'd behaved and then I couldn't find my way out of that shame. I knew I was wrong. So I hid away.”

From left: Nadia Sawalha, Kate Thornton, and Kaye Adams on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time
From left: Nadia Sawalha, Kate Thornton, and Kaye Adams on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time

Find a mediator

It was several years later when Nadia came across a former producer from Loose Women and confided to him about her deep sense of sadness over losing Kaye.

“[I told him] my heart just breaks all the time. It's one of those where I can never pick up the phone to her. Never. Because we had the time where I had disappeared and then made up again. Then I disappeared again. And so he said, ‘Oh God, well I'll tell her’.

“Typical Kaye, you know, she came back and said, ‘Oh, she's one of my most favourite people in the world. Get her to call me’.

Kaye, for her part, had made peace with the loss of the friendship by this stage.

“I thought I it was gone, I have to say. I can't remember the years, but the years pass don't they? But it was a very long time that yes, I was very hurt and then, God, you got to go on with your life, haven't you? And you've got to start accepting.”

Keep a sense of humour

Nadia did find the courage to call Kaye. But their friendship was almost derailed for good before it had a chance to recover.

“We arranged to meet at a particular hotel in London, and she went to the wrong sodding hotel. So I was sat there waiting, having tea, having more time. That was the one time where I thought, ‘Right, you’ve taken the piss now. That’s enough’,” Kaye said.

Nadia received a tersely worded text from Kaye and thought “oh my God, she’s annoyed”.

“I said, but I’m sat here. Just around the corner. It took a while to work out we were just at totally the wrong hotels. Waiting, with roses in our teeth,” she laughed.

“That's what's so brilliant about friendship: for all the ups and downs of mine and Kaye’s relationship, we are better people because of our relationship.”

Here the full interview on White Wine Question Time below, or subscribe on Apple Podcasts or Spotify.

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