This much I know: Amanda Holden

The 41-year-old actor and presenter on running, grief counselling and planning to get a pilot's licence

My earliest memory is washing my sister when she was a few weeks old, in a yellow bowl on the landing. We're only 15 months apart – I'm not quite sure how I remember it.

I nearly lost my life while giving birth to my daughter Hollie. I had a condition, placenta accreta. The baby was stuck to my bladder. I lost a lot of blood. It took 36 people to save me – and I can't thank them enough.

I didn't really feel like I needed a life lesson – I'd been through enough [a miscarriage in 2010 and a stillbirth in 2011]. But I'm pretty no-nonsense – you know: "Get on with it!" I'm not great around downbeat people because I just think: "For God's sake, snap out of it."

I couldn't live without running. It's the hour of the day that I get to myself, and recently I've realised how healthy and strong it has made me. The doctors said my fitness levels helped me pull through, so now I definitely won't be stopping.

I'd really like to see some money ploughed into grief counselling. There are women who write to me about their experiences, and some of them don't get to see any kind of therapist for two weeks [after a stillbirth]. I'd like to do something about making it more readily available on the NHS.

A lot of people credit Simon Cowell with changing the public perception of me. He's said it: "I've made people like you!" And I'm, like: "Yes, thanks, Simon."

When you're a woman in this country and you have an affair [Holden had a fling with Neil Morrissey while married to Les Dennis] you're immediately perceived as a slag or something horrific. I don't think women seek affairs for sex – they want love and affirmation.

True love is when you would die for someone. My first marriage wasn't to that extent. I think I was still heartbroken from my first love at 17 and was protecting myself, then of course 10 years later I was healed.

I respect the fact my husband [Chris Hughes] had a normal job for 10 years [in insurance] before he went into the music industry. He knows what it's like to get on the tube at 8am and get squashed, then come home at six, iron a shirt and go to bed – and he'll remind me of that now and again.

Acting can be a bitchy profession, but I refuse to lower myself to that. In the old days I'd put my friends up for auditions. I'd say: "Sarah, I'm going for this – make sure your agent puts you up for it."

I'd like to get my pilot's licence because I'm a thrill seeker. I get on the back of a motorbike to go to work every day because it's quick and it sends adrenalin rushing through me. But I like flying anyway. To me, the best part of a holiday is the plane: I get a movie and champagne, and nobody can get hold of me.

At the moment I'm reading Pauline Prescott's biography. I used to read 12 books a holiday, but now I have a husband who is forever asking me whether I'll go on the slide with him at the water park. I mean, it's not even Lexi [her eldest daughter, six] asking.

The sixth series of Britain's Got Talent is currently on ITV1


Megan Conner

The GuardianTramp

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