She shot to fame on TOWIE in 2010 – the hit show known for its fake tans, false eyelashes and backcombed hair.
So it comes as no surprise when Lauren Goodger’s mum, Cheryl, sits down for her turn in the make-up chair for our photo shoot, Lauren bellows, “You need more make-up on, Mum! Stick some lashes and mascara on her, tons of bronzer too so she doesn’t look washed out – oh, and make sure she’s wearing a bright lipstick!”
Cheryl, 60, takes no notice and admits she’s the polar opposite of her camera-confident daughter. “Lauren is a different kettle of fish to me,” she laughs. “I don’t have the confidence that she does. They asked me to be on TOWIE with her years ago, but I couldn’t think of anything worse!”
As they laugh and cuddle up in front of the camera, Lauren, who is mum to eight-month-old daughter, Larose, with ex-partner Charles Drury and is expecting their second baby girl together in July, admits it’s taken some time to feel this close to her mum.
“We’ve never had a big falling out, but we’ve never been close,” Lauren, 35, explains. “We’re not like typical mums and daughters who go for lunches together. There have been times when we’ve had months without speaking. We’ll disappear, do our own thing, and eventually come back to one another. We don’t live in each other’s pockets but we’re in a good place.”
Lauren readily admits her “unconventional” childhood played a part in the pair’s distant relationship over the years. Cheryl, who already had her elder son, Tony, and daughter, Nicola, made the heartbreaking decision to send Lauren, then aged four, to live with her dad after her mental health plummeted and she could no longer cope with all three kids. Though Lauren returned to live with her mum aged 12, she admits she felt “rejected” growing up.
“My childhood wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t normal,” she explains. “My mum was already a single mum with two kids before I came along, and it was a lot for her because of her depression. She was too ill to care for me, so she gave me away to Dad, who took me on. I went back to live with her in my teenage years, but I became independent quickly. At 16, I lived my own life, got myself a job in the City and moved in with my boyfriend and didn’t really lean on my family. But now, mum and I are closer than ever.”
She adds, “I’ve gone through big moments of my life without Mum around, but I don’t know any different than to get through things on my own. My childhood brings on a little bit of insecurity because there’s a little bit of rejection playing in my mind. You don’t realise it’s affected you until you look into it, but I don’t have any regrets in how I was raised. Mum did the best she could.”
While Lauren maintains she understood her mum’s decision, Cheryl admits she “regrets it every day.” She candidly explains, “There’s nothing worse than giving your child away, and I wished I hadn’t. I had immediate regret. At the time I thought it was the best thing, I knew Lauren’s dad could give her a better life. I said, ‘OK, as long as I can see her regularly’. But Lauren was busy with her dad and stepmum, going on holidays, doing dance and drama classes at the weekends, I barely saw her. I just wanted to kidnap her and have her back with me.”
Cheryl admits she still finds it hard to let go of the guilt that Lauren missed out on growing up with the rest of her siblings. She says, “Despite what I went through, Lauren was the one who suffered for it because she wanted to be with her siblings. Although she won’t say, it must have hurt her that when she went to live with her dad, I went on to have another daughter, Rianna, eight years later.
“Looking back, I should’ve been in hospital for postnatal depression, but they didn’t recognise it like they do now. I was like a zombie after she was born, and don’t remember those early years. I would have such bad anxiety attacks, phoning the ambulance at 7am saying, ‘I’m going to die.’ I never opened up about it, but mental health is spoken about more now, and all my kids, including Lauren, understand what I’ve gone through.”
Since giving birth to Larose in July, Lauren says the pair have grown closer and she’s grateful to have her mum in her life. “Having Larose and this baby has brought me and mum together again for sure. She’s a good woman, even though she’s always got opinions on my love life,” she laughs. “I’m proud of her for being open about her depression. Larose loves her and belly laughs when she’s around, and that’s the most important thing to me.”
As she reflects on her mum’s mental health, Lauren, who has been open about experiencing anxiety before, says motherhood has been a blessing for her own health. She says, “Larose has taken my anxiety away. She’s given me a focus and I finally feel fulfilled. My life has completely changed since she’s been in it.”
Cheryl admits she’s noticed a change in Lauren and is proud of the way she’s taken to motherhood. She says, “When my other kids had children, I’d go into their homes and take over, but Lauren knows exactly what she’s doing and is very maternal, all she’s ever wanted is to be a mum. She’s more mature and responsible, and I’m proud of her. If anything, I don’t like the fact I’m not needed much.”
And though Lauren’s endured a rocky few months, discovering she was pregnant again just 10 weeks after giving birth to Larose, then splitting with Charles in November amid cheating allegations, she insists she’s not disheartened that life hasn’t turned out quite as she envisaged. Instead, she’s embracing the fact she’ll have a chaotic few years ahead as a single mum.
She says, “Lots of people said to me with the second pregnancy, ‘Don’t do it’ but I stuck with it. Charlie and I broke up, I wasn’t long pregnant so I didn’t have to go ahead, but I wanted a sibling for Larose, and it’s nice both kids will have the same father. Sometimes I feel terrified at the thought of two under one, but I made the choice to be a mother and I’m cracking on. Plus, I’ve got Mum around for help.”
And while she admits she’s on “good terms” with 24-year old ex Charles “for the sake of Larose,” Lauren remains determined to find The One. “I still want the fairy-tale ending and to get married – and I will,” she says defiantly. “I’m confident I’ll have more kids. I know I’ll be a single mum with two babies and that’s a big commitment for someone to take on. I wouldn’t mind being with someone who has kids of their own either.
“If anything, I think men will want me more. They look at you as a mum and see that you’re grounded and have your s--t together. I’m not looking right now, but I’m not worried about meeting someone later down the line.”
While Cheryl admits she hasn’t always been a fan of Lauren’s previous partners, aside from her ex-Mark Wright who she says was “always lovely,” she’s keen for Lauren to settle down with a “mature” man now.
“I want her to be stronger with men, she’s too soft,” she says. “I loved Charlie because he’s sweet, but she needs someone who’s going to take care of her and give her security.” She laughs before adding, “I think she needs an older man around 60, but she’ll probably be like me and won’t get married,” at which Lauren jokes, “Oh, thanks!”
Cheryl adds, “She’s very insecure really and desperately wants to be loved but goes for the wrong kind of love when she deserves better.”
And as Lauren prepares for her future, she admits that she “can’t wait” to slim down after giving birth. “I feel terrible at the moment, I’ve been pregnant for two years,” she says. “This time round my bump is smaller, but I feel bigger generally. I don’t know if it’s water retention or if my body is saying ‘f---ing hell, here we go again!’ I love showing off my bump but I’m looking forward to getting my old body back again.”
The star readily admits her regret over going under the knife to have her 34E implants in 2017, and has been open about having Botox and lip and cheek fillers in the past too. Lauren is a qualified aesthetician and plans to take up other courses in the same field.
She adds, “I used to have such a good body when I was younger. I’d come out of the shower and walk past my mum and she’d say, ‘I made that body!’ I do feel sexy, but I regret having my boobs done.”
Much like her outspoken daughter, Cheryl admits she isn’t afraid to tell Lauren what she thinks about her appearance on occasion. “Lauren is stunning, but I hate all that surgery when it’s not needed, I don’t think she needed any,” she says. “When she was 16, people used to say to me, ‘Gosh, your daughter’s beautiful’. She still is, but she started mucking about with herself and didn’t need her boobs done; they were perfect. I do think she has a mental health issue because she sees something that other people don’t. But she’s a grown woman and she can do what she wants with her body.” She adds, “I always say to her, ‘What are those lips about?’ She’ll reply, ‘Let me put some filler in you, Mum!’ – that’s what we’re like when we’re together, always poking fun at one another!”