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It’s been over a year since Tanya Bardsley quit The Real Housewives of Cheshire after suffering a stress-induced seizure and mental breakdown.
Now, after taking time away from the spotlight, Tanya has been reunited with her reality TV pals for a spin-off of the hit show, The Real Housewives Of Cheshire: Christmas Cruising.
The mum-of-four, who was diagnosed with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in 2020, says she loved catching up with her former castmates, but confirms she has no plans for a permanent return to the ITVBe show as she’s still recovering.
She explains, “I’m going to take my time and ease myself in. I’ll pop in now and again, but I’ve got to put being a mum first – which every mum knows can burn you out anyway, even with a normal brain.”
The star – who has sons Rocco, 13, Renz, 10, and six-year-old Ralphi with her footballer husband Phil, 37, and is mum to Gabriella, 20, from a previous relationship – is pals with fellow WAG Coleen Rooney, and recently enjoyed a night out with her and hubby Wayne.
Tanya reveals Coleen regrets having to deal with that “nonsense”, referring to the court battle with Rebekah Vardy.
She says, “It’s the last thing Coleen wanted. She wouldn’t want me talking about it, she’d prefer to spend time with the kids rather than all that nonsense.”
Here, Tanya, 41, talks about her recovery, why she’s not watching the World Cup and how she thinks there might be more ADHD in the family…
Hi, Tanya. How have you been since the breakdown?
I’m getting there. I had to fully take everything out of my life and go back to basics. Phil put me in “Phil prison” at first! I wasn’t allowed my phone because the breakdown was stress-related. I’m not medicated now because I’m scared of the tablets.
Why are you scared?
I haven’t found many women who have adapted to the ADHD medication very well. Women have lots of hormones and I don’t think they’ve made a tablet that’s right for me. And I think I’m premenopausal. I keep having mad sweats, my periods are messed up. Us women have it hard.
What’s helped you along the way in your recovery?
I’ve always done little bits of praying and meditating, I’ve always been a bit spiritual and I’m into the law of attraction. I was a single mum with nothing, so I used to pray to my angels, my higher power. But now I pray to God, my higher power… and it grounds me.
Do you pray every day?
I have to meditate every morning, and exercise. If I don’t exercise every morning, like a bootcamp, hot Pilates or weights, my head is foggy. It’s the best drug for your brain. I hate exercise – I used to hide in a bush at school when it was cross-country and PE. But I always used to win the 100 metre race and now I get it – ADHD is short bursts. With long things, I get bored. I see a personal trainer once a week, he’s the only one who doesn’t listen if I tell him to “f**k off.”
You did an ITV documentary about your ADHD journey and spoke to your local MP about trying to get people with the condition diagnosed sooner. How is that going?
We were supposed to be going to the House of Commons, but our lovely Queen died. Then, with changes with the prime ministers, everything was up in the air. But we’ll follow up with them soon, because we really do need to fight for it.
Your friend Christine McGuinness was also recently diagnosed with ADHD. Have you shared your experiences with the condition?
Yes, I knew about her diagnosis before she went public. She’s really good at keeping her routine as well, and for her babies. We’re quite similar, quite airy fairy and go with the flow.
Another recent diagnosis was former Love Island star Dr Alex George. Have you spoken to him about it?
Yes, I’m meeting up with him soon. We’re going on a walk to film one of his podcasts. I’m interested to hear his story.
And you’re not the only one in your family with the condition?
Rocco’s been diagnosed with ADHD, but there are a couple of undiagnosed ADHD [sufferers] among us, I’m sure.
Have you been watching the World Cup?
It’s on in the house, just because I’ve got little boys, but I can’t watch it. I feel like the decision from FIFA to have it there [Qatar] is disgusting. I feel for all my LGBTQ+ friends. Football is about bringing everyone together. I think it’s putting our gay friends who want to go to the football in danger. There should have been protests earlier.
Tell us about being reunited with the other Housewives…
It was absolutely amazing. I loved it all. I’ve got a fear of boats and water, which was a bit of a sticking point. I met the girls in Mexico as they were starting in San Francisco and doing three full days at sea – I couldn’t have done that. I get seasick. I’ve missed them.
Had you seen them since you left the show?
I’d only seen Lystra [Adams].
Is there much tension on this show?
A little – not with me – but there’s also belly laughter. I’d forgotten how much Ester [Dee] makes me laugh. It’s more like Carry On Cruising. The cruise is like two Trafford Centres on the sea!
You’ve said previously that you and Phil have sex every day. Is that still the case?
A little five minutes, a little quickie. It helps keep things alive, even if it’s just a cuddle or a kiss. You have to keep the core thing going, even though we’ve got minions jumping on the ceiling!
The Real Housewives Of Cheshire: Christmas Cruising, Mondays from 5 December, 9pm, ITVBe and ITVX
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