Outspoken reality queen Dawn Ward to discusses her ambitions for her own reality show, the secrets to a happy marriage and her thoughts on the latest celebrity headlines.
Watch the full exclusive interview with Dawn below.
On her own reality show
I’ve always been very open about the fact that I think that the Wards would make brilliant reality television. Obviously, TV is a big passion of mine and I really do think that we’ve got a lot to offer as a family for our own show.
There’s always so much happening in the family. In the Real Housewives you only really got to see a fraction of our family life because I was one of eight cast members. The producers did show a lot of our family, but there’s so many different sides to our family and so many thing that people don’t know about us or would have seen.
There’s so much. The girls have got their own exciting lives, business for me is going brilliantly and I never really let the Real Housewives into that side of my life, the interiors business.
I think we’ve got the personality to do it. It would be my dream to be able to get to make a show with just my family and showcase the closeness, craziness, and love between all of us. Hopefully that is something that we can make into a reality very, very soon.
On the Real Housewives, my family would see me get upset or angry, in tears sometimes. The bits that were shown of my family on Housewives, we never really showed too much because I had enough on my plate with all of the other housewives and the day-to-drama off the show. My children and husband would be very guarded because they wanted to protect me. If we had our own show, you’d see the real stuff that goes on in the Ward household it would be the real deal. I think it would be brilliant.
You and your husband have been blissfully married for years. What is the secret to a happy marriage?
Always trying to look after yourself and your appearance so that you still fancy each other. You have to make the effort with each other and, I think that sometimes, especially after a long time, that is one of the things that couples can easily let slip.
Always make sure that you do things together, while giving the other person their own space.
Communication is so important. If you have a problem, air it. I don’t have time for sulking (laughs). Speak about your issues and forgive and forget.
Don’t keep any secrets from each other and share everything.
My husband is genuinely my best friend in the whole wide world. I must say that, when I’ve had a falling out with my children, especially the older ones, he always defends me, even if I’m in the wrong. In front of the kids we will show a united front, and if he thinks that I was out of order he will tell me privately.
Sometimes we joke, and I’ll say I’m going to divorce you, he’ll say: “That’s fine. You can have 50% because you spend 90% of everything we have anyway (laughs)!”
It’s about being a partnership for life. I look at my husband and think that I still fancy you but more importantly, you’re the person that I want to spend the rest of my life with. That is because of the trust and the friendship we have.
One of the big stories is in the showbiz world is the Joe Jonas and Sophie Turner divorce that is turning quite messy. Given you’re such a caring mum and Nanna, and that Sophie is a similar age to your daughters Darby and Taylor, I wondered what advice you would give the British actress with the challenges she is facing at the moment.
This is one of my biggest fears about couples breaking up when there are young children involved. I’m really very much against that, even though it’s a position that I’ve never been in.
Children should always come first, regardless of what disagreements either party has within a divorce. If you need to separate, then you need to separate.
I don’t think that any dirty washing should be aired in the media. They are both parents to the children and that will only affect the kids in later life. As a parent and after twenty-eight years of marriage, there are certain things that Ashley and I would say in front of the children and certain things that we wouldn’t.
I don’t think that something like this should be played out within the press tit-for-tat. Any disagreements should be done in private and amicably dealt with. I know that it can’t always be amicable, but that doesn’t give Joe Jonas a right to weaponize the media and to start leaking stories to the press and painting one parent as a bad person, if that if that is what has happened. I think that is the worst thing that any partner can do and when I see it happening, I lose all respect for that person. Speaking in the press is very manipulative and it’s quite transparent in terms of enabling him to try and get his own way. That’s how I see it. If he’s the one doing it and she’s not, then she’s had a good escape (by leaving him).
If you’re married to somebody and you can turn that nasty to someone later in the relationship, I don’t think that you must have ever really loved them in the first place.
Jonas and Turner's divorce turning messy
There was a debate last week on Good Morning Britain about when you reach a certain age, can you be considered a sex symbol. The two examples they offered were Joan Collins in her nineties and Gary Linekar in his sixties.
That’s a load of rubbish! You can be a sex symbol at any age. You can be a sex symbol to people within your own age group, you don’t just have to appeal to younger audiences. What a load of rubbish that is.
I’m fifty and I’m not saying that I am a sex symbol by any means, but I look at some thirty-year-olds and think that I look better than you (laughs). I’m not saying that I look better than all thirty-year-olds, I wish I did, I’m saying that age is only a number.
I also think that attraction doesn’t have to be about looks, it can be about many different things. I’ve found people attractive because of their personalities, not looks. I think that is a really big thing. Attraction comes in all shapes and sizes. If people think that you can no longer be regarded as a sex symbol because you’ve reached a certain age, that is incredibly naïve and only focuses on one element of what people find sexy and attractive. That is tunnel-vision, and I don’t agree with it.
Look at Christie Brinkley (American actress) at sixty-nine. Wow! She looks incredible. Elle Macphearson. She is still a massive symbol.
Joan Collins too. A lot of people talk about the procedures and surgery, but again, it’s not over the top. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that and, if it makes her feel more confident and happier, then that is all that matters.
You can be sexy at any age!
One of the reasons you were so popular on Real Housewives was because you always spoke your mind and defended yourself when you felt you had too. Social media can be a horrible place for people. What advice would you give to anyone dealing with trolls?
Trolls and social media is really difficult. It is something that has never really bothered me, and I’ve always been able to step back, look at the comments or articles and laugh. I have always done that from day one.
Trolls are certain individuals. They don’t have anything nice to say about anybody and their comments reflect their own unhappiness, not the individual they are attacking.
I often respond to them sometimes. I put the onus back on them occasionally and suggest that they look at themselves and their own life.
I would say, giving advice to a celebrity or someone in the public eye that is dealing with trolls: listen to your family. Even I started to get a big for my boots when I first started out on the Real Housewives, but my family brought me straight back down to earth. When the shit hits the fan, that’s when you find out who is really important to you.
I would always say, stay close to your family. Time is a healer. Be true to yourself. I always wanted to be that person that was approachable and made time for everyone, and I will always still do that, but at the same time I think you need to protect yourself and not be too trusting.
When you’ve got people that are really important to you, you remember that words are just words and they can be meaningless in the grand scheme of things.
I’ve had times on my social media where I know that I am going to get a hammering, especially after a bad episode. I would turn my comments off and then post something positive the following week. You know that next week, there will be another target for them. If it gets you down, then you shouldn’t look at it. Rachel (Lugo from Real Housewives), she was someone that would get quite upset by comments, but she learned to handle that perfectly and would just switch off from it completely. Rachel also had an amazing family and people around her to help her.