Saira Khan says toxic Loose Women never thanked her for opening up on abuse and arranged marriage
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Saira Khan is known for always speaking her mind – it’s what made the businesswoman-turned-TV presenter a brilliant Loose Women panellist. And talking to OK! about her shock exit, the straight-talking star doesn’t hold back about her reasons for leaving.
“You’re on there discussing a subject with your friends in a very innocent way but the amount of trolling you get online is horrendous,” Saira explains. “It just becomes toxic for women. It’s a show for women but I don’t feel like it empowered me.”
Since leaving the show in January, the 51-year-old has been focusing on her beauty business, her health and her family life with husband Steve Hyde and their kids Zac, 13, and Amara, 10. She’s also on a mission to empower women and isn’t afraid to chat about once-taboo subjects – including female incontinence, which is something she has experience of.
Here, Saira talks life post-Loose Women, taking control of her health and finally feeling great…
Hi, Saira. How are you?
I’m great. It’s a bit manic during the school holidays but my kids are of that age where they can look after themselves. Amara is really into doing cartwheels and handstands. Zac is really into his 80s music and his sport. We’ve shown him that Harry Enfield sketch where he turns into Kevin [the teenager], because he can be a bit like that. I’ve got to keep reminding myself, it’s hormones – this is normal!
It’s been seven months since you left Loose Women – what made you want to leave?
It was a mixture of things. Firstly, I’d outgrown the programme. There were some women that I just thought, “I’ve got to just tolerate you to do the job and in real life you wouldn’t be my friend.” They’d say the same about me. Plus, I shared a lot about myself on that show – my abuse, adoption, arranged marriage and a lot of relationship stuff. You don’t get a lot of thanks for that. My family hasn’t asked to be related to someone famous but I felt like I was putting them into a precarious situation.
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Do you think it was the right decision?
Yes. When you turn up to a job where your heart’s not in it, you come home and you just feel s**t about yourself and about what you’ve said. The only thing you can do is make a change. It wasn’t easy walking away from a good job, wardrobe, friends and money, but when you’re there discussing a subject with your friends in a very innocent way, the amount of trolling you get online is horrendous. It just becomes toxic for women. It’s a show for women but I don’t feel like it empowered me.
Do you get less trolling now?
Yes, 100%. I feel much more confident. I feel like on my
social media platforms they know me, they get me. I’m glowing because I’ve removed myself from the situation that I didn’t want to be in. If you can’t do that by the age of 50, then that’s nobody else’s fault but your own. Those women on the telly, they’re happy and that’s perfect for them, but it became too toxic for me and I had to remove myself.
Do you keep in touch with any of your former colleagues?
I’m really close to Coleen Nolan, Ruth Langsford, Linda Robson and Christine Lampard. Out of everyone, they’re the people I’d invite round to my home and the ones I’ve got a relationship with.
How did leaving affect your career?
It was a really scary decision. People don’t come knocking on your door straight away! But what’s important is that I feel like I’m in control of my life and my decisions. I may not have as much money as I did but that doesn’t matter. I’ve got my skincare business, I’m working with brands I’ve always wanted to work with on my social media platform and I’ve been doing some filming for other shows. I’d love to do Strictly and the jungle too.
You recently had treatment for incontinence. Tell us about it…
Going through the menopause, having a baby and having a Caesarean, your body changes. You get to that stage where you sneeze and a little bit of wee comes out. The women before us never talked about it but I really want women to know it’s normal. But instead of being embarrassed or just living with the stress, you can do something about it.
What did the treatment involve?
The Emsella Chair has a magnetic field which really works your pelvic floor. It goes beyond that brain signal, so they really get to the core, and they tighten it up more than you could ever do on your own. You do two sessions a week for three weeks. It’s not painful. I didn’t even realize how much my sessions were working until I sneezed recently on holiday. I remember saying to the whole family, ‘Oh my god, guys, I’ve just sneezed and I didn’t have to cross my legs!’
You’re not afraid to post a bikini shot – do you feel confident?
I feel better now than I did in my thirties. I’ve got the time to work on myself now I haven’t got toddlers – I go to the gym and focus on my health and eating right. I’ve had Invisalign and a bit of Botox. I’ve got a skincare routine, incontinence treatment, a hydrafacial and I’ve had my hair coloured. Yeah, I look the dog’s b******s right now!
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Saira's treatment took place at ERA Clinics in Thame.
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