Lisa Snowdon shares her ordeal with domestic abuse and menopause

Lisa Snowdon shares her ordeal with domestic abuse and menopause

Watch: Lisa Snowdon on domestic violence and the ‘pain and pain’ she’s been through

Lisa Snowdon is one of Britain’s most successful media figures. She’s a host of numerous TV and radio shows, a podcast host, a former Gucci and Vogue model, a successful women’s health activist…the list goes on.

However, early in her career, the star’s life was blighted by five years of abuse at the hands of an unidentified former partner.

“It’s still hard for me to talk about it,” Snowdon, 50, told Kate Thornton on the Yahoo UK podcast. Question time on white wine. “I parked it…for a long time. He didn’t have the tools to really process what had happened.”

The abuse took place when Snowdon, now 50, was a young model still suffering from low self-esteem due to bullying. Her abuser left her with a broken arm and black eyes, and threatened to kill anyone who told her. The situation ended when she found the courage to run away from her, throwing her possession into garbage bags.

Lisa Snowdon says that

Lisa Snowdon says she “didn’t have the tools…to really process what had happened” in terms of her experience of abuse. Photographed at the Nobu Hotel in London, in 2021. (Getty Images)

Kate Thornton interviewed Lisa Snowdon for Yahoo UK's White Wine Question Time podcast.  (Question time on white wine)

Kate Thornton interviewed Lisa Snowdon for Yahoo UK’s White Wine Question Time podcast. (Question time on white wine)

It was decades later, when consoling a contestant on Britain’s Next Top Model, that the presenter decided to reveal her own story. “I could see how much pain she was in,” she said. “I just had to… show her that she is not alone and that she happened to me.”

The revelation that domestic abuse happened to public figures such as Snowdon, who once dated famous Hollywood star George Clooney, sparked a public outcry. But she refuses to stray from the subject. “You can have such brilliant breakthroughs without having these powerful conversations,” she said.

Read more: Giovanna Fletcher reflects on ‘horrible’ bullying: ‘My family moved house as a result’

Snowdon now divides his time between media and campaign work. She has worked with Refuge, which reported a 25% increase in calls to its domestic abuse helpline during the lockdown. “I just know how hard it is when… you can’t get out of it,” she told Thornton. “So I just wanted to highlight that… just offer some comfort.

Listen to the full episode to hear Lisa Snowdon discuss her experience with domestic violence, as well as her most recent menopausal struggles.

Lisa Snowdon attends a press event at Home House, London, October 2022. (Getty Images)

Lisa Snowdon attends a press event at Home House, London, October 2022. (Getty Images)

During lockdown, she also felt “brave” enough to start talking about her personal experience of menopause, including being moody, losing her hair and feeling “crazy crazy”. “It’s the loneliest and scariest place to be,” she told Thornton. “You don’t recognize yourself.”

Snowdon turned to a menopause specialist, Dr. Naomi Potter, for help. She today she co-hosts a podcast. The madness of menopause on weekdays with Dr. Potter, sharing the “tools” she herself learned and chatting about it. “I want to do it for all the women who feel like they want to take a backseat and give up and be invisible,” she said, “because that’s not acceptable to me.”

Snowdon is currently campaigning to “make changes within Parliament” for women to have access to “free” and easy HRT, and for the introduction of menopause education in schools.

“They teach us about periods, pregnancy and puberty; perimenopause was never mentioned, menopause was never mentioned,” he told Thornton. “The men in our lives also need to know about this. Men are also affected: they are our partners. They are our colleagues.”

Lisa Snowdon attends the National Television Awards at The OVO Arena Wembley, London, in October 2022. (Getty Images)

Lisa Snowdon attends the National Television Awards at The OVO Arena Wembley, London, in October 2022. (Getty Images)

With his well-being improved, Snowdon appeared in Celebrity MasterChef 2022. “I don’t think I would have been able to do it two years ago,” she said, “but I thought while I’m in this good space… do it quickly.” Having failed in the past to make it to the top in I’m a celebrity Get me out of here! Y Strictly come to danceshe was determined this time to do better.

Not that working in a hot kitchen during menopause was easy. “I’m sweating. I’m having hot flashes!” she joked. “They scream, and then you have knives and it’s really dangerous!”

Read more: Lisa Snowdon felt ‘pressure’ to strip for ‘I’m A Celebrity’ shower

While he emphasized that he “didn’t really say bad words” to kitchen master Judge Gregg Wallace asked, “Can I go ahead with this now, am I really against it?”

Snowdon’s competitive spirit and resilience paid off. She was crowned champion of Celebrity MasterChef 2022.

Today, the presenter’s difficult first experiences are behind her.

George Smart, boyfriend and current partner of Lisa Snowdon, pictured with Nihal Arthanayake (right) at the launch of 'Let's Talk: How to Have Better Conversations'.  Presented by Montblanc and Nihal Arthanayake in London, August 2022. (Getty Images)

George Smart, Snowdon’s fiancé, pictured with Nihal Arthanayake (right) at the Arthanayake launch of ‘Let’s Talk: How To Have Better Conversations’ in London, August 2022. (Getty Images)

Happily engaged to businessman George Smart, formerly his friend of 15 years, she told Thornton that she has a “fire” in her “belly” and is “just getting started”.

Through her campaign and charity work, that includes being more determined than ever to make sure she never leaves behind those who fight like she once did.

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