The survival of Sadie Frost - 'I'm not superhuman'
Having said goodbye to the years of scandal, postnatal depression, and a break-up with Jude Law, Sadie Frost has produced a new film, studied for an MA, and is up at 5am every day.
Does Sadie Frost have a portrait in her attic? Here she is, 50 years old but looking about 30; her skin is dewy, her eyes are sparkly, her body toned and taut. She is sitting in the Groucho Club in London, sipping a skinny latte, and telling me, in her husky tones, that she feels as great as I think she looks. "It's funny that you get to this age that is symbolic, that looks old, but I just don't [feel it]… I find that the odd trainer at the gym can be quite derogatory about women. They'll say, 'What does it feel like to be 50? Don't most men like younger women?' That kind of stuff.
"But do you know something? I can do everything that I did in my 20s - but better. Everything. If you're talking about running up a hill, or writing something that's meaningful, engaging in something. I'm more mindful of other people. Everything is more complete."
And sex, I ask, because, well, why ever not? "Yeah of course. I mean I can't complain about that either." Does the ex-wife of Jude Law have someone in her life now? "Not really, no." She lets out a little yelp for her PR. Would she ever entertain getting married again? (Before Law, with whom she had three children, she was married to Spandau Ballet's Gary Kemp, the father of her eldest son). "Yeah, definitely. I would. I'd love to. I really believe in relationships. But to tell you the truth I've got a really busy few months where I'm just focused on work and I'm not really… " She trails off.
And Sadie is busy. Not only does her production company, Blonde to Black Pictures, have a new film, Buttercup Bill, coming out next month, she has also just finished a Masters in Film degree. The film is a rather out-there tale about a couple who express their love through psychosexual games. ("We don't want to make safe films," explains Sadie. "We want to make films that are challenging.") Her fashion label FrostFrench may have had some tough times - going into administration in 2008 - but it now sells two lingerie ranges in Debenhams (Floozie and Iris & Edie) and there is talk of creating a classic capsule collection. She has been writing a film, a psychological drama called Blackout, and wants to write a novel. She has four children, aged between 12 and 25 (Iris, who was two when she was rushed to hospital after swallowing an Ecstasy pill she found on the floor at Soho House during a children's birthday party, is now 15; her eldest, Finlay, 25, has just been signed by a record label; Rafferty, 18, is in a band with the son of Pulp guitarist Steve Mackey; the youngest, 12-year-old Rudy, looks set to get in to acting). Surely she doesn't need to take on so much?
"I think I just like doing everything. I like going to the gym and doing pilates. I like writing. I enjoy life and really engage with it and embrace it. And I think that everybody's capable of doing whatever they want to do," she says. "People say to me, 'You're lucky because you've got the time to do it'. But I just think, 'Well, I've got the time because I get up early.'"
What couldn't we all do if, like Sadie, we had the energy to get up at 5am most mornings? On waking she swills coconut oil in her mouth - known as "pulling", it is said to remove toxins from the body. She then massages more coconut oil into her face in the shower. She goes to the gym and stands on her head every day ("It's good at making the blood flow to my face," she explains), and doesn't allow herself to do anything other than run up an escalator. Thanks to her hippy upbringing, she has never eaten meat or fish. Her parents - the late psychedelic artist David Vaughan and his 16-year-old muse Mary Davidson - broke up when she was young and afterwards they had six relationships between them; one of her stepfathers forbade the children to say "no" or "sorry", and his obsession with colour therapy meant nobody could eat anything red.
"I've always eaten vegetables," says Sadie. "I've never eaten processed foods. I've always liked broccoli and avocado. My stepfather was a gardener and would make these lentil soups. There was always really wholesome healthy food. I've never had fizzy drinks."
She doesn't deny herself what she wants, "I think that if I deny myself I am more likely to slip and be miserable, and being miserable is far more unhealthy than anything else. Like, a cheese and onion sandwich and a packet of crisps on a train is my idea of heaven. And I know the endorphins and the enjoyment I'm getting when I'm eating that are so good, that [it's better] than sitting there having a boring kale salad that I eat all the time."
She says she likes a glass of red wine, but insists that if she were to have a glass of white wine she would be on the floor. Has she ever been into drugs? "I think for me, I've always been aware that drugs aren't a good thing. My father was a drug-taker. I'm a really sensitive person. I know that I have to be really careful."
She is aware that drugs are "around everybody. It seems to be more than ever, and all different generations and classes. It seems to be acceptable everywhere. I don't judge if people like smoking weed or whatever. It's not ever been my thing."
There was a time though, back at the turn of the millennium, when you were barely able to open a paper without seeing a picture of Frost falling out of a nightclub or reading about the outrageous antics she got up to as a founding member of the infamous Primrose Hill set. There were tales of lesbian romps with her best friend Kate Moss, not to mention the alleged wife-swapping between her, Law, Pearl Lowe and Danny Goffey (none of the parties ever commented on them and there is nothing to suggest they were anything more than just tales). In 2003, Frost was admitted to hospital with postnatal depression. Soon after, Law - whom she had married in 1997 after meeting him on the set of Shopping - left her for Sienna Miller. "I think that through times of difficulty, like losing a parent or postnatal depression or divorce, of course I veered off the rails. I'm not superhuman. But there's part of me that always wants to get back to who I am, to what makes me feel good."
Sadie is guarded. And no wonder, given a lifetime in the spotlight - she was a child actor, she met Kemp when she was just 16, she is friends with some of the most famous people in Britain. But she says she's not even sure she can remember much of those years. "Don't forget, I've been pregnant four times. So that's nine or 10 months a time, and then you've got all the breastfeeding. So that's, what, six years of my life? All the sickness and the hormones. Up and down. Six years of my life I was engulfed in motherhood and hormones and all kinds of heavy stuff. There are definitely a couple of years, just through being so frantic with motherhood, that I can't even remember."
How did she get through it? "I think I'm one of those people who naturally fights against depression. I never lie in bed all day eating chocolate and watching daytime TV. I've always been one of those people whose inkling when they're feeling a bit down is to get up and go somewhere inspiring, get to the gym.
"I trained as a dancer from 11, so exercise has always been a big thing. There are those times when you go out and it's fashion week and I'm having a great time like everyone else, but I'm always back to my routine. That's the thing that gets me back, the health and fitness."
Sadie celebrated turning 50 by taking a group of girlfriends to a detox centre in Turkey. One of those friends was Kate Moss, who was famously escorted off the plane on the way back for calling a crew member a "basic bitch". Was she on the plane? "I was, but that's all I'm saying." There were reports that Frost had initially wanted to go on a silent retreat, but "that was always a bit of a joke. That's very much a Sadie sense of humour [thing]. It was the thought of having to celebrate a big birthday, and I just wanted to opt out." She got ill the week of her birthday. "It was some kind of virus, but maybe my body was just saying 'this is going to happen…' And I don't know, was it an emotional thing? Is it because I do the meditation? Was it me having to symbolically come to terms with the fact that suddenly things could just give up? And I did become very reflective because I could only sleep." She left her London birthday bash at midnight. "I couldn't speak. It was a party for me but also for everyone else. I had to regulate my energy, and be really level-headed and calm."
Frost says that all of her friends are similarly healthy. "Rosemary Ferguson [the former model] is now a nutritionist. Jemima [French, her partner in FrostFrench] is off studying biochemistry or something. It becomes a collective, like everybody is into the same thing, doing a bit of yoga or meditation. I've surrounded myself with people who are like-minded." Even Kate? "Yeah, well, all my friends want the same thing. They all want to be happy, peaceful, feel contentment and love and be able to love. All my girlfriends are very healthy. Kate's very healthy. We're all so educated with it now, aren't we?"
We talk a bit about her plans for the future. "I don't know what's going to happen next. I don't know if I want to live in London for ever. I think when the kids get to a certain age I'd like to go and be a yogi somewhere, like Goa. I can see myself doing the alternative thing." She's probably got at least another 50 years in her anyway. "I think it helps if you've got a youthful personality. If you keep saying" - and here she puts on her best elderly and infirm voice - 'I can't do this. I can't get off this chair. My eyes are going'. Then your world is going to get smaller and smaller. No." She pauses and takes a sip of her latte. "I am going to run up that hill."
Buttercup Bill is due for cinema release and on demand from September 4
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