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Katie Price: ‘I don’t want sympathy for me and Harvey, I want to change perceptions’

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Katie Price, a woman who became famous glamour modelling and has had 11 boob jobs, claims that she has no idea what her bra size is these days. “You guys in the media and Google seem to know better than I do,” she tells me, with a filthy laugh. The “puppies” as she calls her…

Katie Price, a woman who became famous glamour modelling and has had 11 boob jobs, claims that she has no idea what her bra size is these days. “You guys in the media and Google seem to know better than I do,” she tells me, with a filthy laugh. The “puppies” as she calls her breasts are covered up today in a black round neck jumper and a regal red fur collar. She doesn’t miss modelling, and anyway, she says, “The market is different now — I don’t think Loaded is going to want a 42-year-old mother of five on the front anymore. I love being a mother… the next thing I want to do is have a baby — I’d better get going.”  

She says she has been down, which includes some public breakups and currently facing bankruptcy proceedings. But, “I am back now, to change everything.” In a new documentary Katie Price: Harvey and Me, on BBC1 tonight, we see what a loving and patient mother Price is. Her eldest son, Harvey, 18, is on the autistic spectrum and has Prader-Willi syndrome, a rare genetic disorder causing learning difficulties, weight gain and behavioural problems. The programme follows Price and her son as they work out what he will do when he leaves school and how much independence he will have. She meets other parents having similar experiences, including a woman whose child was sectioned, investigating every avenue to find the best option for her son.

Price was hurt when stories circulated this month that she was sending him into care. “In the show we look at residential facilities for him, which is not the same as care. He would be home in the holidays and on the weekend and we would be in touch constantly. There is no way I would be apart from him. It is draining, time consuming, you don’t get time out but I am mentally strong, I can do it.”

A highlight of the programme is when Price takes train enthusiast Harvey to the station as a birthday treat. “I don’t want to sit in a train station all day watching bloody trains,” Price tells me. “But that is what he loves so it is what I have to do.” She does an impression of a train announcer and grins — her teeth are toothpaste-advert white and straight. Price is at her manager’s house. They live near each other in Surrey and are in a bubble. In her arms, she is cradling her “other baby”, a young French Bulldog called Precious. Her daughter Princess, 14, named her. Harvey has seen the show — “he doesn’t understand it all but he loves seeing himself on screen”. His father, Dwight Yorke, is not in touch but, says Price, “the door is always open”.

“I don’t want sympathy,” continues Price, who often sounds defiant in our conversation. “I told the producer that it has to be raw and educational. I am not here to show Harvey kicking off. I wanted to tell people what it is like for someone with disabilities to make that transitional move. I want to set up a network to support other parents of disabled children — especially in lockdown, it is hard. And many don’t want to be seen in public because they are ashamed but they shouldn’t be. It’s amazing how many people stare if Harvey wets himself or something in the shops but I am used to it.

“Hopefully this documentary will change people’s perception of me. Take Children in Need. Me and Harvey live and breathe the work they do yet,” and yet she says they have never appeared on the fundraiser’s TV show. She wonders if that is because of the media perception of her. “It is bollocks.”

She doesn’t want her work to be worthy, adding that “what we need right now is a bit of lightness and fun in the media, not just doom and gloom”. She adds: “I will do anything, I’ll dress up as an eyelash. Anything.”

( BBC/Minnow Films )

Lockdown suits Price, she say. “I’m a recluse now. At the start it affected Harvey because he loves pasta and it was all sold out and he didn’t understand why. He thought I was winding him up when I said we couldn’t get it. But now he’s fine and I’ve bought him the same computer he has at school for homeschooling. I love lockdown because I don’t feel I am missing out on anything with my feet.” Price broke both her feet in July jumping over a wall on holiday in Turkey and says she is “in pain constantly, I can’t walk for more than 10 minutes”.

“It’s a life changing injury, I have to accept that,” she says, looking frustrated. “I went on my horse yesterday for the first time but rising trot killed because of the angle”. Her boyfriend, Love Island contestant Carl J Woods, whom she met in June has saved her. “I went from being a carer for my son Harvey to needing a carer, thank god I met Carl.”

Despite Woods’ Love Island links, Price is disparaging about the new generation of models and influencers. “I do think girls these days are having far too much done to their faces early on,” she says. “I only started in my forties — obviously I was younger when I did my boobs. All the girls are looking the same — filler, lips, that alien look.”

What does she think about influencers breaking lockdown restrictions to go to Dubai? “Do you want to know the truth?” she looks at me, limbering up for a speech. “I am sick to death of reading celebrities complaining that they can’t go to Dubai. Is that really what you are worried about? So many people are losing their families to Covid and you just want to go flaunt yourself in your f**king bikini. It’s so selfish. I could fly Harvey abroad away from it all but I am here.”

She continues, at full pelt. “I am quite a rebellious person and even I am respecting lockdown. I have had the police turn up at my house because I’ve put old pictures up on social media and people have thought I have been out. The police have come six times and I say, ‘well you can see I am here’ and they are embarrassed but they have to do their jobs because the infection rate is going up so quickly. I have Harvey to protect and I haven’t seen my mum because of Covid so I hate it when people think it’s funny to f**k off and have a holiday. It is bollocks that they say they are there to work. What do they f**king do? Go on Instagram? Bollocks. They don’t even know what work is. I don’t even know how many Love Islanders there are anymore.”  

Her manager tries to steer her off this topic: “Yes that is a bit silly but that links in to your work on social media doesn’t it?”“Oh talking about influencers is a nice bit of gossip,” Price retorts.

Princess, whose father is Peter Andre, wants to follow her mother into performing: “She wants to do more YouTube, she loves it.” What would Price say if her daughter wanted  a boob job? “She doesn’t, she says ‘Mum, I would never do that’,” says Price. “It’s her choice. I have to support my kids whatever they want to do. I wouldn’t rule out plastic surgery for me though later on.”

She has no regrets about her time on page three and says she wasn’t mistreated. “Lots of things have happened in my life, there has been enough to deal with. I am quite a lucky person really. Now there are more important things for me to do than be seen in a bikini but if I hadn’t done this I wouldn’t have been in this position.”

She would like to write more books — she is a prolific author, who has written fiction for children and adults and six memoirs. When her sixth came out in 2017 she was upset that Random House wouldn’t let her come out of a giant vagina for the launch (she was ahead of Gwyneth Paltrow there). She also did some nurse training and now she wants to retrain as a paramedic, “even if I do it once a week, I am interested in medicine. I love watching that programme Hospital.”  

For now, though, she says she spends her days in chaotic domesticity, “clearing up the kids’ mess”. “And getting them to have a bath — they moan but feel better afterwards.” In the evening, she watches TV with Carl — documentaries and true crime. “TV is not what it used to be,” she laments. “You see a film that sounds good on Netflix but it’s subtitled. I don’t want to watch a film that’s subtitled.”

Despite the pain of her injuries, she is in a good place compared to last year. “I went to The Priory, the press said it was my addictions but it was just mental health. When people have mental health [problems] it is so good to talk to people and not keep it inside. With Covid there is lots of mental health. Harvey’s got his own little mental health [problems]. At the end of the day I’ve learned there’s no point worrying about what might happen because everything is resolvable but when you have mental health [problems] you can’t see that.”

Price would “love to” go into politics, advocating for those with disabilities. “I would clamp down on trolling — if Facebook, Instagram and TikTok put safety measures in place it would protect vulnerable people.” With an apologetic face she says that she “loves Boris Johnson I’m afraid”. “We went away for a weekend together and have had meetings. I feel like at the moment it’s a stressful time and he can’t win.” She makes a disgusted face and I wonder if I have offended her. “The dog’s farted,” she says. The phone rings and it is about Harvey so Price waves goodbye. I hope she does dress up as an eyelash but I suspect she won’t have the time.

Katie Price: Harvey and Me is on BBC One tonight at 8.30pm

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