Carol Vorderman is smiling in her sixties | Celebrity News | Show biz & TV

Carol is celebrating her 61st birthday today. (Image: Max Mumby / Indigo / Getty Images)

So what does the former Countdown star think about completing her sixth decade? Sixty may no longer be the legal retirement age for women, but some still see it as the onset of old age.

“This is all hogwash,” she snorts. “Spiritual age and biological age are much more important than chronological age.”

So what IS his spiritual age?

“I would go with 37 – and an immature 37 at that. I’m not going to tell you my biological age (she did a metabolic test, she reveals), but it’s gone down a lot this year.”

Carol won’t say exactly how she aged – a book is in the works, apparently – but insists she is “healthy”.

She says her friend, astronomer Royal Lord Rees, sent her information about levels of happiness at different ages.

“It’s high in your twenties and as you get into your late twenties and thirties it goes down quickly. Then as soon as you hit 60, it comes off the chart again, ”she says.

“In general, people my age feel good about themselves, especially women who are less constrained by society telling us where or what we should be. “

Carol Vorderman at the Pride of Britain Awards

Carol Vorderman at the Pride of Britain Awards in 2019. (Image: Karwai Tang / WireImage)

It designates her own mother, Jean Davies, who died at the age of 89 four years ago.

“When my mom was my age she was very worried about what people thought,” says Carol. “I don’t care and I never did. I don’t care what other people my friends think of me.

“When I was 39 and wore a short dress to the Baftas, it was on all the headlines the next day. The BBC did a whole Kilroy show about it: “Does a 39 year old woman have to wear a dress above the knee?” The audience was divided. Half of them believed in aging gracefully.

“But what does that really mean? It’s misogynistic language that keeps women in their place. Aging gracefully means, ‘Shut up, you’ve had your time!

“In your 30s and 40s your whole life is focused on the kids, every decision you make. Basically they come first. I think it’s hard work, obviously you love your kids, but you also worry about them.

Then comes menopause. “Your 50s can trip you up a bit like that,” she said.

Carol Vorderman with her mother Jean Davies

Carol Vorderman with her mother Jean Davies. (Image: Dave Hogan / Getty Images)

Ah yes, the “M” word. About four years ago, during a television interview with Lorraine Kelly, Carol revealed that she suffered from hormonal depression – “bioidentical hormone replacement gels” finally settled her symptoms in 36 hours – and the conversation, she says, helped break the taboo.

“Before, women had to suffer in silence. I remember welcoming Loose Women five years ago and no one was talking about it.

“Even now, one of my daughter’s best friends recently finished her training as a general practitioner and there was nothing about menopause. She trains herself but in standard training a year ago it wasn’t there.

Having been married twice, Carol has no plans to have another permanent relationship.

“Since I was 50, I have never wanted to settle down. I was very happy to be a single parent at that time. I have a lot of male and female friends.

“Would I like to get married?” Absolutely not. I was very happy in marriage for ten years, then we were no longer happy in marriage so we got divorced.

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“My conviction is that we are only here once, which makes me want to live. I am lively and energetic to the point of annoyance. I cherish all the chapters. People often say this is where you end up, but it’s not, it’s the journey.

If she has any regret – and it needs to be taken into account – Carol believes she was born 15 to 20 too early when opportunities for women were much more limited.

“I did not dream, apart from being a fighter pilot, which was not allowed. Growing Up In Poverty In A Full Rhyl On Free School Meals You Can’t Be [Microsoft pioneer] Bill Gates. “

After graduating as an engineer in Cambridge, at age 20, she put her possessions and mother in her old Datsun and moved to Leeds to start her TV career on Countdown. And where thousands of other daytime TV presenters have vanished without a trace, it has flourished.

So what was the secret of his success?

“I’m making the most of the opportunities,” she laughs. “Just do something that makes you happy. Also, I have a system that the kids and I use called “grades out of ten”. You can do it about relationships, friends, or your self-confidence, really anything.

Carol Vorderman on Countdown to 1985

Carol ran Countdown for 26 years. (Image: Avalon / Getty Images)

“You should only use it if you accept that seven or more is a win, but scoring things is psychological. You realize how good everything is. Give it a try.

Today she is looking forward to receiving a new MAN Van – a converted motorhome.

“I’m very lucky because I am able to glam up when I feel like it, as well as living this other life: paddle boarding, hiking, breakfast on the beaches of Pembrokeshire.”

It sounds idyllic, even though around this time last year, Carol admits she was exhausted and in poor health.

“I was teaching math through my website, The Maths Factor. We would normally charge a pound a week, but instead of what everyone else was doing, which increased their prices, we were free. We had half a million children enrolled in primary school.

“It was a joy but it was exhausting. It’s a great website. The kids love it and they get their lessons from Aunt Carol!

As she refuses to make firm plans until there is more certainty, adding: “Probably next year will be heavily spent on the van in Scotland and Wales.”

In closing, she directs me to the Buddhist word ‘muditā’, which means to take joy in the achievements of others – a kind of inverted schadenfreude.

“It’s when you’re really happy when someone else is doing well. I’ve lived my whole life like that.

Tomorrow, and her birthday today, will be spent with her grown children, Katie and Cameron – and she told them she doesn’t want a present… just spend Christmas together.

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