Nigella Lawson has revealed she never saw herself reaching 60 after witnessing the deaths of multiple family members under the age of 50.
The television chef, 60, said she will never take her age for granted after watching those around her die young; her mother at 48, her sister aged 32 and then her late husband John Diamond at 47.
Speaking in Good Housekeeping magazine’s December issue, the television chef said: ‘I’m not a planner – apart from when it comes to food! But to be completely honest, I’ve never been able to take for granted that I’d be alive by this age.
‘I’m not a planner – apart from when it comes to food!’: Nigella Lawson has revealed she never saw herself being 60 years old
‘My mother died at 48 and my sister at 32. And then John [Diamond, her late husband] at 47.
‘So, even if I were the sort of person who planned ahead, I don’t think I would have seen myself here… I kind of think you can’t do anything about it [ageing] so why complain?’
The television personality admitted going through the trauma of losing those close to her has changed her entire attitude towards the ageing process.
Nigella explained: ‘I also know what the alternative is, so it feels wrong when you’ve been surrounded by people who have died young to say “My hair’s awful, I’ve got to get my roots done” or “My hands look like lizards”.
‘So I don’t dwell on it. As long as you’re healthy, that really is the most important thing.’
Grateful: The food writer said she can’t take her age for granted after watching those around her die young
Her mother Vanessa Salmon died in 1985 from liver cancer and her sister Thomasina died from breast cancer eight years later in 1993.
Her first husband, journalist John Diamond, was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1997 and died in March 2001.
The pair met in 1986 when they were both writing for The Sunday Times and they married in Venice in 1992.
They had two children together; daughter Cosima, now 26, and son Bruno, now 24.
Late husband: Her first husband, journalist John Diamond (left), was diagnosed with throat cancer in 1997 and died in March 2001 (pictured in 2000)
This year, the TV chef started helping people with their evening meals on Twitter during the coronavirus lockdown, which made her feel ‘much more connected’ despite living remotely.
Nigella said that she still enjoys working, despite not knowing what the ‘famed’ work-life balance is and there being days she ‘could lie down all day’.
She said: ‘I enjoy it because I feel like myself when I’m cooking and writing. And I feel very lucky for the connection it gives me to other people.’
The chef said that her filming, which she said is the harder part, and her work is interspersed with bits of solitude, which she thinks is her work-life balance.
Nigella said: ‘It’s physically very draining standing up all day for seven weeks or so, and there isn’t really room for anything else during that time.
Family: Her mother Vanessa Salmon died in 1985 from liver cancer and her sister Thomasina died from breast cancer eight years later in 1993 (pictured in 1965)
Helping remotely: Nigella told Good Housekeeping for its December issue that she still likes working even though she doesn’t know what the ‘famed’ work-life balance is
‘It’s a bit frightening and I always think “I don’t know if I can do this again”, but then I start and I get excited again.’
At Christmas, Nigella enjoys a more relaxed schedule and loves to spend time with her children and watch films with them, as well as cooking, eating and lying about.
The TV personality said: ‘I’m also a bit clichéd and like having the fire burning and lots of tealights and fairy lights.
‘It’s about turning my home into this cocooning, magical place where it feels a bit different from the rest of the year.’
Nigella’s newest book Cook, Eat, Repeat is out on October 29, with a show of the same name coming to BBC Two and BBC iPlayer this November. The Christmas special will air in December.
- Read the full interview with Nigella Lawson in the December issue of Good Housekeeping, on sale October 28, available in all supermarkets and online at MagsDirect
Taking time out: At Christmas, Nigella enjoys a more relaxed schedule and loves to spend time with her children and watch films with them, as well as cooking, eating and lying about