Zoe Ball’s happy new life: ‘I might be a mum again soon’

Zoe Ball tells Closer about her quiet life in the countryside with boyfriend Michael Reed, why she decided to stop using Botox and how her ‘fat pants’ are a godsend

by Olivia Buxton |

She’s been in the spotlight for almost 30 years, and had a roller-coaster time in the public eye, going from a notorious party girl to now living a quiet, settled life in the countryside.

And Zoe Ball – who lives with boyfriend Michael Reed in her Sussex pad – reveals her country living has ignited a love for gardening and nature

When Closer caught up with mum-of-two Zoe, 51, at the RHS Chelsea Flower show, she admitted, “I love gardening! I’m still learning all the time, I don’t think you can ever stop learning about gardening. Michael is really good at it. He recently built a duck house in our garden, but no ducks would settle so we ended up buying some. It’s lovely! They’re called Candice-Marie, Keith and Daffy Duck. They might have ducklings – you never know, I might be a mum again soon! I will let you know how that goes.”

Zoe rose to fame in the late ’90s and early 2000s as a radio presenter on Radio 1 and a TV presenter, hosting Top Of The Pops, The Priory and the BRIT Awards in 2002. She earned a reputation as a party girl, admitting she was once so out of it during a live radio show that “she could barely speak”.

She married Norman Cook – aka Fatboy Slim – in 1999, and while the pair lived a party lifestyle together, things came to a head in 2009 when Norman went to rehab, and Zoe vowed to cut down on booze herself.

But six years later, she and Norman – who share son Woody, 21, and daughter Nelly, 12 – announced they were amicably splitting in 2016 after 18 years of marriage, saying at the time, “After many exciting adventures together over the last 18 years, we have come to the end of our rainbow.”

Tragedy struck the following year when Zoe’s new boyfriend Billy Yates, who she began dating after splitting from Norman, took his own life. And around that time, Zoe decided to quit booze for good, so she wouldn’t lean on it during her grief.

Zoe is now with boyfriend of five years Michael Reed, and has said she loves her settled, quieter life. She said during lockdown, “I personally love the fact I can’t go out any more. I was doing it for 30 years!”

But despite her wild past in the public eye, Zoe says she’s encouraging her son Woody to follow in her footsteps into the showbiz world and fulfil his dream of becoming an international DJ like his dad.

Zoe says, “I’m so proud of Woody! He just gets on with his DJ-ing and really enjoys what he does. He has a real eclectic music taste in music – he’s always going through my vinyl! And he’s doing clubs and events now, which is great. He’s loving it.

“He’s always been super bright – I remember there was a point I couldn’t help him with his homework because it was beyond my capability! But I’m very proud of him. Being a mum is one of the best things I’ve ever done. It’s not easy though – you’re constantly learning.”

Zoe Ball and son Woody (right)
Zoe Ball says son Woody wants to follow (dance?) in his father's footsteps ©Instagram

Zoe is also refreshingly honest about her attitude to ageing and says she’s dabbled with Botox over the years. She says, “I’ve tried a few things including Botox, but I didn’t like how it made me feel and I hated that frozen look so I won’t be having any more injectables.

“I also find it hard to keep the weight off now. I can’t get below a certain weight. I am 5ft 10 and weigh 11st. I eat a huge amount of food and your metabolism slows down as you get older. I have got more fat on my hips and tummy too. Thank God for ‘fat pants’ so I can tuck my belly into them!”

Being an ever-present mum, Zoe has managed to successfully juggle her career with parenting duties. After taking part in series three of Strictly in 2005 with Ian Waite, she took over hosting Strictly’s sister show, It Takes Two from Claudia Winkleman in 2011 before finally leaving after 10 years in 2021.

Set to turn 52 in December, she admits that she’d struggle to keep up with the moves if she tried performing on the show these days.

“I’m glad I did it years ago when I was more flexible,” she confesses. “I’m not sure my body would cope now. My advice for this year’s contestants is to throw yourself into it, relish every moment, believe in your partner and try not to worry about the people at home watching!”

Get the best celeb stories each week in Closer magazine.

Strictly Come Dancing, Love Island and soap stars reveal their worst ever date

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us