ROCHELLE Humes may well be – in her own words – a “pregnancy pro”, but as the TV presenter prepares to welcome her third child, she is still wrapping her head around one, or rather two, big new experiences of expectant motherhood.
“These boobs have grown out of nowhere!” she laughs, glancing down.
“They’re just massive! I don’t know what to do with them. I’ve got back ache constantly and I didn’t have that before.
“With my first two pregnancies, my boobs grew, but not like this. This is a whole new thing. Even though it’s the third time, I’m definitely just getting used to this new body.”
There is one person who isn’t complaining – Rochelle’s husband Marvin, 35.
“I mean, of course he’s pleased, but he needs to calm down,” says Rochelle, giving an exaggerated roll of her eyes.
“Honestly, there’s nothing to be pleased about here! I just can’t wait for them to go back to normal.”
She stops and looks momentarily panicked. “Please god, I hope they do!”
She’s laughing, but it does seem that at 31, Rochelle is becoming more body-positive as the years go on.
“If I look back at a picture of me at 21, I’m sure I’d feel more confident if I had that body, but you just become really accepting, like: ‘This is me’,” she says.
“I’ve now made three babies and you get very, like: ‘This is what it is’. I’m not trying to be anything else any more.
"You just become at peace with everything. As soon as you get to your 30s, you get this inner comfort. You find your own voice, more than you knew you had before.
"You’re really self-assured in the sense of: ‘No, this doesn’t work for me, actually’. Nowadays, I wouldn’t feel bad saying that, whereas before, I’d think: ‘Ooh, no!’
"In your 20s you worry about offending people and what other people think.”
This is a woman who has absolutely found her groove, and one of the things she credits for that is branching out from The Saturdays in 2015 to become a television presenter.
She now co-hosts prime-time Saturday-night BBC1 game show The Hit List with Marvin, which returns in the autumn for a third series, plus she regularly guest presents ITV’s This Morning.
She also writes bestselling children’s fiction and, in February, launched her Boots-stocked children’s skincare range My Little Coco.
“I feel so much more fulfilled and it’s because everything you see me do is so considered. I make sure that everything is ‘me’.
"I always imagine myself sat on a sofa, like at This Morning, promoting it. Do I believe it? Am I excited about it? I think integrity is so important,” explains Rochelle.
When approaching retailers about stocking her range, rather than follow celebrity protocol and take along an agent for support, Rochelle just strode in with her business partner.
“I was so scared. I’d worked on it for years – these things take years of testing – and I felt like I was on Dragons’ Den. We were just two girls who wanted to make it happen. And we did!”
That must have been a proud moment.
“Oh, yeah,” she smiles. “Because it’s worlds apart from my background and what I know. Well, what I used to know.”
According to Rochelle, the seven-product range “will be expanding quite dramatically at the start of next year”, which is undoubtedly a relief in the wake of Covid-19.
She and Marvin might be worth an estimated £9million, but Rochelle insists that with five employees and a warehouse to consider, the strain lockdown heaped on her fledgling company was very real.
“It doesn’t matter what your financial buffer is. [Covid] has affected everyone across the board. We were a brand-new business and that was a really scary time.
"I was like: ‘I’ve literally put my everything into this and are we going to lose it all?’”
Teaming up with Boots – “one of the few retailers able to stay open during lockdown because it’s a pharmacy” – was Rochelle’s saving grace, and with an expanding business to keep afloat, she has no concrete plans for maternity leave once her baby – a boy – arrives in October.
“It’s a hard one. You can’t put a number on it, and what’s maternity leave when you’ve got two other kids anyway?” she says, gesturing to her daughters, Alaia-Mai, seven, and three-year-old Valentina – know as Valle – who are playing nearby during our early morning Zoom call.
Fortunately, Marvin will be at home immediately after the birth.
When Rochelle fell pregnant after “trying for a window of time”, she was shocked to discover her due date was just before the start of Marvin’s tour with reformed boyband JLS.
Since then, Covid-19 has forced the concert dates back to next summer and although Marvin is, she reports, “devastated”, Rochelle is relieved he will now be at home during those first precious weeks.
Their baby boy will, she says: “add a different mix into the house.” But the combination of lockdown, moving house – in July they swapped their £1.7million Essex pad for a new abode in London – and “life”, means Rochelle has barely paused for breath during this pregnancy.
“The other day the doctor called and said: ‘Hi, Rochelle, you were booked in for a scan today’. I’d totally forgotten!” she says, looking apologetic.
'JUST CRACK ON'
“You’re so busy with these two other humans and you know what you’re doing – you’re such a pro at this point.
"It’s so bad, with the third child, unless you’re worried about something, you just crack on.”
Adorably, Rochelle’s eldest has been particularly attentive to her mum, offering foot rubs.
“It’s very cute,” says Rochelle, adding that Marvin has been more laissez-faire than in previous years.
It’s like one team, one dream, you’ve got each other’s best interests at heart
“I think [men are] the most attentive on the first and then it falls off slightly!”
Her Capital FM DJ husband of eight years has, however, been particularly invested in one key element of the plans – choosing a name for their much longed-for son.
“Marv has been very opinionated this time,” says Rochelle.
“Normally, he’ll say: ‘That’s really pretty, I like that name,’ but as it’s a boy, he’s like: ‘No, no, absolutely not! I don’t like that.’
"I was more like that with the girls’ names, so I’m quite chilled this time.”
Working alongside Marvin on beat-the-intro-style game show The Hit List, which they created themselves and developed with production company Tuesday’s Child, means that as well as a successful marriage, they now also have a tight professional partnership.
A week earlier, the couple spent five days away in Glasgow filming, roping in grandparents, including Rochelle’s mum Roz, a retired paramedic who raised her daughter single-handedly after her Jamaican father Mark Piper left when she was three, to share childcare in “shifts”.
“It’s like one team, one dream, you’ve got each other’s best interests at heart,” says Rochelle of working with Marvin.
She stresses they never set out to be a husband and wife telly duo and whenever they join forces – including on This Morning and Children In Need – it’s always “by chance”.
Incidentally, she thoroughly recommends it.
“I really like it. It feels less like work when you’re together and this time, while I was pregnant, I could say: ‘I’m really struggling today, I need five minutes,’ and he’d be like: ‘Can we just break for five?’”
Surely, though, mixing home and work life can be risky?
“Oh, on the flip side, for sure. If you’ve had words that morning then you’re on the way to work, that’s it, you’re together,” concedes Rochelle.
She shrieks when we ask if she and Marvin are as perfect as they always appear in public – the sort of couple perpetually in the honeymoon period.
Or do they, like the best of us, sometimes fall out?
“Everyone needs a breather sometimes,” she admits.
“On the whole – I’m not going to try and paint it any other way – we are happy, we’re lucky and we know that.
"Of course, there are days when he forgets to put the bins out and that annoys me, [but] we really value each other and, ultimately, we are best mates as well as partners.
“Yes, sometimes I do that thing where I pull up on the drive and wait in my car for a bit. I’m saying: 'I’m going in in a minute!’ but that’s not down to him.
"That’s just down to as soon as I get through the door, I’ll hear: ‘So, babe, what we going to do for dinner’, then: ‘Mummy, mummy!’
I have such fond memories and I adore the girls. We’re all still friends
“Sometimes I think: ‘What happened to just us two, having these getaways, being in clubs and not waking up until three in the afternoon?’” she laughs.
Rochelle is equally nostalgic about her seven years in The Saturdays.
Although the girls – Rochelle, Una Healy, Frankie Bridge, Mollie King and Vanessa White – went on a break in 2015 and have never officially split, when asked if the band are unlikely to reform, Rochelle doesn’t try to deny it.
“Yeah, whenever the girls and I talk it’s more: ‘How are you? How’s the kids?’ We’re all in such different places in our lives.
"I would never talk on behalf of anybody else, but in terms of where my head is, that’s a really nice chapter of my life that is, you know…”
She pauses and doesn’t end the sentence with “over”, preferring instead to focus on the positives.
“I have such fond memories and I adore the girls. We’re all still friends. There were no dramas with us.”
Which perhaps bodes well for a reunion one day, if times get tough in a decade or two.
“Oh god,” Rochelle guffaws. “I wouldn’t do it to my kids!”
Her children certainly inspire her professionally.
Last February, she published The Mega Magic Hair Swap!, a picture book she penned to help youngsters accept, love and celebrate themselves after Alaia declared she didn’t like her curly hair because all princesses had straight locks.
Rochelle, who has since released a follow-up children’s book, says that when she secured her publishing deal in early 2018, her goal was to achieve diversity in children’s books and she feels positive that following the recent Black Lives Matter movement, her message is finally being heard.
“Obviously, it’s come off the back of a really tragic incident, but the positive and the light in that is everyone is now listening, which wasn’t the case before and that’s really refreshing,” she says.
Last month, in Channel 4’s anti-racism special The Talk, Rochelle was filmed in tears explaining how white members of her own family treated her differently when she was young.
She also revealed that she once attempted to scrub off her skin after experiencing racial abuse.
“My goal is that it’s different for our kids and my kids’ kids and I think we’re moving in a positive direction now,” she continues.
“Look, there’s so much work to be done. I’m not saying it’s all as it should be because it’s really not but we’re definitely moving and people are caring and wanting to be part of that change.”
During the Black Lives Matter protests, Rochelle and Marvin explained things to Alaia “in a way suitable for a seven year old” but are mindful of protecting her innocence.
“I want her to be armed with the information but not pre-empt that people might think of her differently,” says Rochelle, who in January reconsidered her strict stance about not including the children on social media for the very same reason – she didn’t want them “singled out” for being different from their friends.
She and Marvin now post occasional, always adorable snaps of their girls to Instagram.
They appear to want for nothing. Do they understand the value of money?
“No, they definitely know the value,” insists Rochelle. “They help me around the house and if it’s: ‘Mummy, I want one of these’, I’ll say: ‘Well, your birthday’s this far away’.
"Then before Christmas and every birthday, we sort out the toys they no longer use or want and take them to Haven House Children’s Hospice.
"They’re lucky that we’ve had good careers and have worked hard, but I want them to really understand that it doesn’t just happen. You don’t just get lucky.”
So is that it for the soon-to-be family of five? Or will her beautiful maternity wardrobe be getting one last outing?
“We said we thought that was it after two because we were really complete, so I don’t know. I always feel like any decision is too final with family because I’m such a family person. I would never say: ‘This is it!’,” says Rochelle.
“Everything’s in god’s hands. What’s supposed to be is supposed to be.”
- The Mega Magic Teacher Swap! by Rochelle Humes (£6.99, Studio Press) is out now
In the make-up chair with Rochelle
What was your lockdown skin routine?
For work, I wear make-up so much and I’m constantly having my hair dried, so I really got into having nice face and hair treatments every day, such as masks.
Clarins HydraQuench Cream-Mask smells gorgeous.
What’s your regular make-up routine?
I love glowy skin, so I start with Pat McGrath Labs Sublime Perfection Foundation, then a good highlighter such as Becca Shimmering Skin Perfector Poured Crème Highlighter.
I like warm, neutral tones. I use Lancôme Hypnôse Mascara.
I like a bushy brow so I brush my eyebrows up then use Brow Fix by EyebrowQueen and they stay in place all day.
How do you take care of your skin?
I love a jade roller. I’ll watch telly and do it for ages.
It’s supposed to lift the face, but I like it because it feels like a nice massage.
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