Former GMTV star Anthea Turner and Mark Armstrong began dating in July 2019. They got engaged after just two months and moved in together six months on at the start of lockdown
Anthea Turner has been through the wringer when it comes to love, but she knew fiance Mark Armstrong was the man for her as soon as they met.
Anthea, who’s been married twice, began dating Mark in July 2019 after she got chatting to him at a London nightclub.
They got engaged after just two months and moved in together six months on at the start of lockdown.
Anthea says: “We honestly knew straightaway it was something serious and that there was a great connection. It was all a bit quick and a bit crazy but sometimes those crazy moves work out.
“Nobody tried to talk me out of it. I think everybody could see I was so happy and this person had made such an impression on me.
“It’s very different having a relationship when you’re older. You’re not thinking about buying a house or having children together. Instead you look at the best and happiest way to spend your remaining years on the planet.”
The former GMTV presenter is now 61 and businessman Mark is 56, and she says the past two years have made her realise it is never too late to find love.
She says: “Let me be that standard bearer. You can fall in love when you’re 59, 60 or any age – love doesn’t have a sell-by date. You’re looking for different things, but you’re still looking for sparkle and fun.
“Mark is the person I want to hang out with the most. I’m not an island; I love to be with somebody. You don’t have to be doing anything in particular, it’s just nice that the other person’s in the house. And it’s the boring things: ‘What shall we have for tea?’
“It’s very easy to think those little things don’t matter, but they really do.
“We always say that our best time is faffing around in the kitchen around 6.30pm. Mark is from Italy and we have different approaches to cooking, but we come together and we make nice food and we chit-chat.
“When you grow older you savour all the good things, because none of us know what’s going to happen.”
While Anthea has clearly found her soul mate, she admits she is equally besotted with Mark’s French bulldog, Soho.
She says: “Since Blue Peter I’ve rarely been without a dog and I now live with Soho, who came with Mark. We soon became the best of friends and now we get to work together too.”
Anthea recently hosted the Naturo Repaw Room, an event run by pet food brand Naturo, with experts on hand to restore items chewed by pets. She says: “We’ve all had cushions, chairs and shoes wrecked by our lovely pets.
“People brought along things that had been destroyed and had them put back together again.”
Anthea rose to fame in the 80s as a host on Top of The Pops and became a Blue Peter presenter in 1992. Also in the 90s she hosted the National Lottery draw and travel show Wish You Were Here…? as well as GMTV.
With her ever-ready smile and infectious enthusiasm she became the second-highest-paid female TV presenter after Cilla Black.
Universal Pictorial Press)
She married her manager Peter Powell in 1990 but they divorced eight years later. She then moved in with businessman Grant Bovey, becoming a devoted stepmum to his three daughters Amelia, Claudia and Lily when they married in 2000. They separated in 2013 after Grant admitted to an affair, but Anthea is still on good terms with both her exes.
She says: “It wasn’t that those marriages didn’t work; they were right at the time. Peter and I talk all the time – we have a friendship which has survived to this day. And I have a good relationship with Grant. We have a lot of history and there was time within those years together where it worked.
“There are also three children who are still very much part of my life. If there’s an event – a birthday or Christmas – we all do something. Lily is getting married next year so we still need to come together. It takes hard work, believe me. Don’t think I haven’t hit my pillow at bedtime, or gritted my teeth, but there’s a bigger picture.
“Sometimes you put your differences and any previous arguments to one side and come together.”
In recent years she has competed on Dancing on Ice, The Jump, Celebrity Antiques Road Trip and Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins. She also took part in a Strictly Come Dancing challenge for Children in Need in 2017 with pro dancer Brendan Cole.
She has just filmed The Real Dirty Dancing, an E4 show hosted by Keith Lemon and Ashley Roberts in which 10 celebrities take on dance routines based on the film. In one episode Anthea and former TOWIE star James Argent attempt to recreate the film’s famous lift in a Norfolk lake.
She says: “Women in their 60s are not overly represented on television but I always work. I really believe taking yourself out of your comfort zone will keep you young-spirited.”
Now she has written a book called How To Age Well: The Secrets. Anthea, who could pass for 20 years younger, says: “I think we owe it to ourselves to stay in good shape. I put on weight in lockdown, enough to make putting a pair of jeans on quite testing, so I dropped down the food a bit until I could get back into them.”
And she maintains her trademark optimism about the future both personally and professionally.
She and Mark had planned to wed in Italy next year but the pandemic has made it difficult to plan.
“So we’ve decided to wait until everything has sorted itself out and we have been looking around at places in the UK too,” she says.
“As for work, I’d like to think I can still keep doing that for many years to come. I’m not a great one for planning but I’ve always had a belief that something always drops out of the sky.”
Anthea Turner, alongside Naturo natural pet food, hosted The Naturo Repaw Room. naturopetfoods.com