Anthea Turner says TV work dried up when she hit 60 because production companies couldn't get insurance to cover her

LAST year, I was in talks about a TV project when they came to a crashing halt because the production company couldn’t get insurance to cover me, simply because I’d turned 60.

Meanwhile, my car insurance had gone down. Was I really now in the Driving Miss Daisy zone just 24 hours after supposedly being wild at the wheel?

When I was young, I never thought about ageing. Growing old was something that happened to other people.

After going through the menopause at 52, I couldn’t hide from the fact that I had more miles behind me than in front, but my fingers remained wedged firmly in my ears.

How could I worry about getting older when age-defying women like J.Lo, Halle Berry and Salma Hayek were sparking conversation about 50 being the new 30?

In May last year, in the midst of a global pandemic, I entered my 60s. On my birthday, I felt elated and full of joy, but when the celebrations subsided, becoming a sexagenarian hit me like a thunderbolt. I thought: “Hold on a second, I’m 60!”

I didn’t look any different to the day before, when I was still in my 50s and I didn’t feel any different, either – no less relevant, capable or self-confident. However, around me I began noticing ageist attitudes. I’d overhear comments like: “Yeah, they’re pretty old. They’re in their 60s.”

I was determined that ageing was not going to steal my exuberance. My grandparents lived well into their 90s, and my mum Jean and dad Brian are 90 and 88, respectively, so I’ve hopefully got 30 more years left to enjoy.

I haven’t had surgery on my face, but I had a boob job years ago – and you can’t beat Botox for holding back the years

During my 20s, nutrition and health weren’t a huge consideration. I ate what I wanted, spent a lot of time jumping up and down in high-leg leotards, and if I ever put on weight, I just cut back for a couple of days. Nowadays, I’ve mostly eliminated processed foods from my diet, I have a collagen drink each night to keep my joints supple, vitamin D to support my immune system, and when I wake up, I have prebiotic powder mixed into a probiotic kefir drink to help keep my gut healthy and protect against age-related inflammation, which can lead to major health problems.

I wear SPF50 on my neck, face and the backs of my hands.

I’ve also had a few age spots zapped from my arm using Intense Pulsed Light (IPL). I haven’t had surgery on my face, but I had a boob job years ago – and you can’t beat Botox for holding back the years. But keep it soft – I don’t want the tight-faced look that some people end up with. I do Pilates and occasionally run for an hour, but it’s what I do daily that keeps me toned. When I walk, I throw my shoulders back to engage my core and tighten my stomach muscles. Sometimes I walk my dog wearing 2kg ankle weights. To me, exercise is not a chore!

I believe that ageing well is a mindset. I get confidence from wearing clothes that suit my body shape, stepping out of my comfort zone – taking part in Channel 4’s Celebrity SAS: Who Dares Wins, for example! – and by being able to process my emotions.

My friend, Loose Women panellist Jane Moore, once said to me: “Never have ‘bitter and twisted’ tattooed across your forehead,” and she’s right. I’ve had plenty of therapy over the years, particularly after my second divorce [from Grant Bovey, 60, in 2015] which has helped me gain perspective, better understand myself and move on [she’s now engaged to Mark Armstrong, 56] without animosity and with kindness in my heart.

I don’t feel that different from the person I was in my 20s. Core me is the same, but life has influenced me and made me wiser. The Japanese say when a woman reaches her 60s, she’s entering her “kanreki” or “second spring”. I’m holding on to that.

  • How to Age Well: The Secrets by Anthea Turner (£12.99, Splendid Publications) is out now.

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