Entertainment

Gail Porter enjoys a drink with a pal in London after revealing she was turned down for First Dates

She recently revealed that she ‘wasn’t chosen’ to appear on hit show First Dates and said that she’s been toying with the idea of dating apps to find love

And Gail Porter was seen making the most of Easter weekend on Saturday as she enjoyed a drink with a pal in London.

The presenter, 50, cut a casual figure for the meet-up, donning jeans and a black jacket to ensure she stayed warm while chatting on the grass.

Relaxed: Gail Porter was seen making the most of Easter weekend on Saturday as she enjoyed a drink with a pal in London

Gail styled her relaxed jeans with a  black T-shirt under her coat and a pair of white trainers.

She also accessorised her park attire with a selection of silver jewellery, including a statement necklace, and several rings.

The star happily chatted to her pal as they enjoyed a drink from plastic cups, with her friend sitting next to a plastic bag with a wine bottle poking out of the top.

Dozens of other people could be seen trying to catch a glimpse of the sunshine on Saturday, with many wrapped up in hats and coats at the park. 

Long weekend: The presenter, 50, cut a casual figure for the meet-up, donning jeans and a black jacket to ensure she stayed warm while chatting on the grass

Long weekend: The presenter, 50, cut a casual figure for the meet-up, donning jeans and a black jacket to ensure she stayed warm while chatting on the grass

Since Monday, gatherings of up to six people – or two full households – have been allowed in parks or in back gardens.

Outdoor sports facilities such as tennis and basketball courts have reopened, with organised adult and children’s sport, including grassroots football, able to return.

The Government’s ‘stay at home’ order also ended, with messaging moving to ‘stay local’, but people have been asked to continue to work from home where possible and overseas travel has remained banned.

Gail’s outing comes after she candidly reflected on her mental health battles, being homeless and losing her hair as she celebrates turning 50.

Catching up: Gail and her pal seemed to be having a wonderful time as they sipped on drinks in plastic cups and talked on the hill

Catching up: Gail and her pal seemed to be having a wonderful time as they sipped on drinks in plastic cups and talked on the hill 

The presenter also revealed that she ‘wasn’t chosen’ to appear on hit show First Dates, admitting she’s thought about signing up to dating apps.

While elsewhere in her interview with The Sun, Gail declared that she doesn’t blame TV execs for not wanting to offer her jobs following her alopecia diagnosis in 2005.

Speaking about her life, Gail said: ‘I’ve been homeless, I’ve been bankrupt, I’ve lost my hair, lost my mum and dad – I’m still here. You can’t get rid of me.’   

Currently single and looking the future, Gail said she was turned down to appear on First Dates, admitting that she and daughter Honey, 18, love the hit Channel 4 show.

She said: ‘I don’t think I was right. When they ask a bloke about their ideal woman, they probably don’t say bald or short… I always think I’m not good enough.’

Candid: It comes after Gail reflected on her mental health battles, being homeless and losing her hair as she celebrated turning 50 (pictured in 2019)

Candid: It comes after Gail reflected on her mental health battles, being homeless and losing her hair as she celebrated turning 50 (pictured in 2019)

Gail also revealed that she has been thinking about giving Tinder – which she heard about on the Crime channel – and celeb favourite Raya a try in her quest for a partner but is worried about meeting the wrong type of person. 

The star added that she’d like her future partner to have their own place as she’s not great at being around people all the time. 

Gail previously discussed dating with Closer Magazine, explaining that losing her hair to alopecia has affected her self-confidence.

She said: ‘Basically, if anyone wants to date me, that would be great. But I think I’ve given up. I guess I’m just going to die with a cat… When I lost my hair, I lost a lot of confidence – but I have a happy heart.’

The mother-of-one married Toploader guitarist Dan Hipgrave in 2001, however the couple split in 2005. Their daughter Honey was born in 2002.

Looking for love: Gail revealed that she wasn't chosen to appear on show First Dates but has been toying with the idea of joining a dating app to find love (pictured with ex-husband Dan Hipgrave and their daughter Honey in 2004)

Looking for love: Gail revealed that she wasn’t chosen to appear on show First Dates but has been toying with the idea of joining a dating app to find love (pictured with ex-husband Dan Hipgrave and their daughter Honey in 2004)

Gail, who was sectioned in 2011 and also has often spoken candidly about her mental health, admitted that some days are still tough and she can’t always be ‘strong’. 

After losing her hair in 2005 Gail saw her TV gigs dry up, however she told The Sun that she doesn’t blame anyone for not hiring her.

She explained how after being sectioned and put into a secure unit, she properly wasn’t ‘the most appealing thing’.

Gail said: ‘I was not that kind of bubbly, pretty girl that I was in the Nineties. I was a handful, probably. And probably a liability as well, so it was fair enough.’

The also faced struggles in the next decade, with her becoming homeless in 2014 and sleeping on a park bench for some time.  

Gail described the six months she was without a home as ‘utter chaos’ and admitted that it was a scary situation to be in at times. 

Big show: Gail appeared on Big Brother UK vs USA in 2015, revealing that when a pal asked if she'd take part she told them she'd do anything if it meant having a 'roof over her head' again

Big show: Gail appeared on Big Brother UK vs USA in 2015, revealing that when a pal asked if she’d take part she told them she’d do anything if it meant having a ‘roof over her head’ again

The following year, Gail took part in Big Brother UK vs USA, revealing that when a pal asked if she’d appear on the show she told them she’d do anything if it meant having a ‘roof over her head’ again.

James Hill ended up winning the 16th season and Austin Armacost was the year’s runner up. Other housemates included Farrah Abraham, Sherrie Hewson, Bobby Davro and Janice Dickinson.

Gail said that she didn’t get paid much for her stint in the house, but left with enough money to put a deposit on a flat. 

And chatting about more recent struggles, Gail reflected on losing her mum Sandra to breast cancer in 2009 and the death of her father, Craig, in February 2020. 

The TV host went to Spain to identify her father, who died from a brain haemorrhage, and brought his ashes home just as the pandemic hit.    

Gail also discussed being homeless following her alopecia diagnosis while appearing on the Sacrifice and Success podcast.

Speaking at the start of March, she explained: ‘My personality took a bit of a knock. Jobs just stopped, because you don’t look the same. ‘Would you wear a wig, would you mind wearing a wig?’ No I don’t want to wear a wig. This is how it is. 

‘People go through a lot of worse things. My mum lost her hair to cancer, from chemotherapy. I just lost my hair. I’m very lucky.’  

She added: ‘I was going through a divorce, no money coming in. So eventually I had nowhere to stay. It just went from bad to worse. Things like, what do you do? Do I drink? I’ve got no clue whatsoever, I don’t take drugs so…’ 

Gail continued: ‘I had loads of great friends but it was getting embarrassing, because I’m in my forties. My daughter’s staying at her dads.

‘I’ve got no money, I’ve got no work, I’m sleeping on people’s couches. It was like the Young Ones. I didn’t think I was going to be like this at my age.

Struggles: The mother-of-one has always been candid about her mental health struggles after being sectioned in 2011 (pictured in 2000, five years before losing her blonde locks)

Struggles: The mother-of-one has always been candid about her mental health struggles after being sectioned in 2011 (pictured in 2000, five years before losing her blonde locks)

‘This is why you don’t take everything for granted. You must always remember how lucky you are and be extremely kind. ‘ 

Gail recalled that at one point, she also did not have enough credit on her phone to be able to get in contact with anyone.  

‘So there were a few times I didn’t have enough money on my phone to call anybody.

‘If I found a pound I was thinking, what do I do with a pound? I’ll see if I can find another one and get a mini bottle of wine from the local off license or those little ones. Anything for comfort. I was freezing as well, because I was outside.’  

The TV star was sectioned under the Mental Health Act in 2011 and admitted that she was motivated by her daughter to ‘save her own life’, as she later sought treatment.

She said: ‘I went to rehab for my depression, self-harming, if I didn’t have Honey I wouldn’t be here. One hundred percent. I would not be here. But I thought, I could not do that to my daughter at all.’ 

For help call Samaritans for free on 116 123 or visit www.samaritans.org 

Reflection: Gail has previously said that her TV jobs 'just stopped' after she refused to wear a wig while appearing on TV following her alopecia diagnosis in 2005

Reflection: Gail has previously said that her TV jobs ‘just stopped’ after she refused to wear a wig while appearing on TV following her alopecia diagnosis in 2005  

WHAT IS ALOPECIA?

Alopecia, which causes baldness, is thought to be an autoimmune disorder. The immune system – the body’s defense system – turns on itself.

What are the symptoms?

‘Typically, one or more small bald patches, about the size of a 50p piece, appear on the scalp. The hair can start to regrow at one site, while another bald patch develops. Hair may also begin to thin all over the head,’ says Marilyn Sherlock, chairman of the Institute of Trichologists. 

What causes it?

‘For some reason, the body’s immune system begins to attack its own hair follicles. Special white blood cells in the body, known as T-lymphocytes, cause the hair to stop growing,’ she adds.

Can worry make it worse?

Stress has been shown to prolong the problem. 

Is it an inherited condition?

There is strong evidence to suggest that alopecia, like other auto-immune diseases, runs in families. About 25 per cent of patients have a family history of the disorder. 

Who gets it?

Alopecia areata usually affects teenagers and young adults, but it can affect people of any age. It is just as common among men as women. 

Is there a cure?

There is no known cure, although there are various treatments which may be effective for some people.


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