Endless WhatsApps, laughs and ‘messy’ nights out – What it’s really like to be a Loose Woman
6th March 2022

In another world, journalist Jane Moore and TV star and campaigner Katie Piper might never have met, let alone become friends.

But, as the pair tell us during our exclusive International Women’s Day shoot, that’s the real beauty of Loose Women.

Silencing rumours of behind- the-scenes tension once and for all, Katie, 38, who joined the panel in August, reveals, “Everyone’s different in their own way, and that’s what makes the show fresh each time.”

“There’s nobody you dread working with as everyone’s there in their own right and brings something unique.”

Jane, 59, who helped launch the ITV show alongside Nadia Sawalha and Kaye Adams in 1999, is still enjoying the ride 23 years on.

She says, “It’s like female friendship in general – it just evolves. When women get together, they might talk about their marriage, their kids, or something in the news, but each time their perspective might have changed.”

The two are among a number of familiar faces who grace our screens every weekday lunchtime in a line-up that includes Charlene White, Nadia, Coleen Nolan, Denise Welch, Christine Lampard and Frankie Bridge.

Katie and Jane’s friendship doesn’t end when the cameras stop rolling. “We have a WhatsApp group and even when you’re not on the show, it’s going off,” Katie says, as mum-of-three Jane agrees.

Here, Jane and Katie, who has two daughters, Belle, seven, and Penelope, four, with husband Richard, talk about the show’s strong sisterhood, their “messy nights” out, and keeping each other’s secrets…

Hi ladies. It’s International Women’s Day this week. What does it mean to be part of a female-centred show?

Katie: It’s brilliant that Loose Women celebrates diverse women from all walks of life. You go to work and learn something new every single show. The programmes I’d made before were documentaries where I’d been out on the road on my own, so filming live for an hour with a group of women is a different dynamic for me and I’ve really enjoyed it.

Jane: We get so many people stopping us when we’re out and about and saying, “I’ve been going through a tough time and the show really saved me” – particularly through the pandemic. I also think it’s important because I’ve done a lot of political debate shows that are male dominated, and I think we’ve heard enough of the male view. It’s nice to hear a female perspective from time to time.

Katie, you’ve recently joined. Were you nervous about sharing aspects of your personal life so publicly?

Katie: I was thrilled to be asked. I’d been a guest, so I knew that the women were welcoming and that there’s a real sense of sisterhood. We do talk about personal experience and you know that when you sign up. But there’s no pressure. That’s another great thing about the show – it’s not scripted and you’re encouraged to bring your own experiences and opinions. I like that side of it.

As one of the original Loose Women, Jane, what keeps the show fresh for you?

Jane: One thing that’s changed – and they do keep haunting me, Kaye and Nadia, with this – is they say, “Let’s have a look at what you said 20 years ago…” Then you see yourself saying, “Well, if my boyfriend cheated on me, that’d be it, he’d be out of the door.” And now I’m a bit like, “Well, maybe one strike and then you’re out…” But who can say they haven’t changed from their twenties? We’ve evolved along with the viewers.

Do you count yourselves as friends as well as colleagues?

Katie: Yes, it’s been really nice. We all do other projects outside of the show, so when Judi Love was on MasterChef, we were all messaging saying, “I love what she’s cooking.” Or when Brenda Edwards has been on tour with Hairspray The Musical, we’ve all got tickets to go. It’s a genuine camaraderie.

Who are you closest to?

Katie: I’ve been on a real rotation, so I’ve worked with every single Loose Woman. Linda Robson and Gloria Hunniford are legends that I grew up watching on television. Then people with a journalistic background, like Janet Street-Porter and Charlene White, who are super interesting. Nadia Sawalha’s a natural mum, Judi Love’s absolutely hilarious… But everyone’s different in their own way.

We’ve seen how you all step up and support each other when things occur behind the scenes. How important is that to you?

Jane: Very important, just like in a normal friendship. If everybody’s doing ok, then you see each other at the show and catch up. But if somebody goes through a difficult time – whatever that difficult time may be – that’s when you see the real power of female friendship. We’ve also got quite a big pool of women now, and a lot of us are working mothers, or we’ve got elderly parents and we’re living a real life, which means that sometimes you have to take the day off at very short notice and step in for one another.

Can you give us an example of when the others have been supportive?

Jane: Gosh, many times over the years. That goes for all of us. For example, we all knew about Christine Lampard’s last pregnancy when she was about 10 weeks, and it stayed within the four walls until she decided she wanted to announce it. And we knew about Coleen Nolan breaking up with her husband. But it’s always done with the utmost nod to when that particular person feels ready to say something.

We see you engaged in fiery debates. Are those forgotten when the cameras stop?

Jane: Absolutely. In the ad breaks, we’ll say, “That was a bit fiery, wasn’t it?” I have an issue when people say, “Jane Moore and Nadia Sawalha cat fight on Loose Women.” Please, come on, we’re past that. They never do it about two blokes on a news programme and it's so lame. Let’s move on, we’re not in the 1950s any more. But we take it in our stride and get on with it.

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Do your families mind when you tell stories about them?

Katie: I’ve told the odd anecdote about my childhood, or my mum and dad, but I try to respect them when I do. My mum loves to put the show on and watch, and my dad watches, too, so I think they actually enjoy it.

Jane: I’m particularly careful about my kids because they’re of an age now where they would kill me if I said something. We always text our kids and say, “Is it ok if I say this?” They don’t choose to be in the public eye so I’ve always been very mindful of their privacy. But my older daughter was impressed recently because I got to meet Brian Cox from Succession. We’ve also had Ariana Grande on and I quite often get messages for them, so it works quite well that way.

Who would you like to see as a guest panellist?

Jane: Adele, although we might need a four-second delay! And Victoria Beckham. I’ve met her many times and she’s a real woman’s woman. She’s a fantastic night out – great fun. Really irreverent and can tell a great story. She’s fabulous.

We’ve heard about the Loose Women nights out. What really happens when you party together?

Jane: A lot of the time, it’s organic. Someone might say, “What are you doing now? Let’s go out.” Then it becomes a really messy evening. Or we might be really sensible and just go for a quick drink. But we’ve had some really fun nights out.

Katie: The one night out I’ve had was the National Television Awards. But I’m afraid there’s no gossip from me, I leave at 9pm to go home because I’ve got a four-year-old and I get up at 5.30am. So I’m not a big partygoer or drinker.

What’s been the best one so far, Jane?

Jane: We had a great one recently on a cinema boat around Paddington Basin. Kaye drove – and practically drove into all of the other boats – and then at the end you watch a movie. Christine came and she arrived looking pristine, as did Frankie Bridge – and then it was torrential rain. We were drenched, but we ordered another bottle of wine and laughed our way through it.

Loose Women is part of ITV Daytime’s celebration of International Women's Day. Watch Loose Women weekdays from 12.30pm on ITV

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