The one-time tabloid darling and Hollywood favourite has put her hedonistic lifestyle behind her and now lives the quiet life – but, Sadie Frost tells Al Gordon, she wouldn’t change a thing.
Life has altered somewhat for Sadie Frost. Once the high priestess of the Primrose Hill set, she held court over a glamorous consort of models, writers and vacuous party playthings. Her union with the then Hollywood Golden boy Jude Law solidified her place in the red tops and if she wasn’t being photographed falling fabulously drunk out of a fabulous North London social establishment with her close friend Kate Moss, Murdoch started to sweat over a loss of guaranteed revenue.
At 47, however, the youthful looking mum of four has slowed down, and feels far more at ease at this new pace. “Personally I don’t think I was that much of a party girl, but the image was there so I understand there was a perception of me,” she says. “But everyone gets older and I’m at a different place in my life now. At the end of the day I’m a working mum. I’m really happy with my life; we’re a normal family, so no different to anyone else when it comes down to it.”
Nearly a decade estranged from Law after his ill thought-out fling with the nanny, the enigmatic Frost has emerged smiling with her lot. Her acting talents, flaunted in Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula nearly twenty years ago, have recently had an airing with one-woman play Touched, which finished a well-received run in London’s Soho Theatre in June. Her fashion empire, Frost French – formed alongside socialite pal Jemima French – is enjoying sizeable profits, despite a briefly fallow period during the downturn, and she’s currently cultivating a new career as an interior designer, with her most recent efforts being a series of kitchens outfitted at a penthouse apartment block in London’s Docklands.
“Over the last few years my world has been quite varied, from acting to writing and fashion design. I like the challenge of doing lots of different things,” she explains. “So when I was approached to design the kitchens, I thought it would make an interesting challenge. I felt that I didn't want the kitchens to look intimidating, or masculine or feminine, just a neutral space, with neutral colours. Very important from the get go.”
Frost didn’t have much of a talent for interior design when she was a teenage model purchasing her first home in West Hampstead. “I paid £39,000 for the flat and lived there for a couple of years but I didn’t know anything,” she recalls. “I just went to Habitat. In the 1980s it was all grey, grey, grey.”
Having children was the stimulus for her household creative streak. “You have a baby and your house changes. You have to make the house child-friendly, decide if they are going to sleep in your bed, or if you are going to make them a beautiful new bedroom. I’ve always been incredibly broody – so I’ve always wanted to make a perfect nest for my family.”
Despite the turbulent past, Sadie seems to have cultivated a more than amicable relationship (better than when they were married, she admits) with Law, father of Rafferty (16), Iris (12) and 10-year-old Rudy, and stepfather to 22-year-old Finlay from her first marriage to Spandau Ballet’s Gary Kemp.
“We are a really strong family,” she says. “Just because he and I are not together it doesn’t mean the children have to suffer. We all go on holidays as a family and Jude and I get on very well. The children know they are the most important thing and it’s important for everyone to get on. Papers would have you believe we were at each other’s throats over the years but what you read in the papers is rarely what a person really is. I think people know that – does anyone really believe all that stuff? That said, mud sticks if you throw enough of it, so I guess I have to accept people will always form opinions no matter what I, or my family, does.”
Now living in Belsize Park, a stone’s throw away from her original Primrose Hill haunt, Frost may be juggling motherhood with her many professional endeavours, but she makes sure to always dedicate time to her role as patron of the Hepatitis C Trust and face of their Get Tested campaign.
“My father died of Hepatitis C and that’s why I’m so involved in campaigns for the Hep C charity. It’s something I’m very passionate about and whatever I can do to highlight this much-ignored disease, I do. It’s important that the myths behind Hepatitis C are exposed. It is not just a disease contracted by taking drugs, sharing needles. You can get it sharing a toothbrush. Hopefully the Get Tested campaign will help raise awareness of the disease and, in turn, raise money to help those who have it.”
It’s apparent that Sadie Frost is really rather down-to-earth: very philosophical about her life, and very practical about the direction it has taken. “I don’t believe in regrets,” she says. “I’m out of my marriages, I’ve got lots of freedom, a beautiful family and my sanity – what’s to regret? I’ve probably recovered from manic depression, or severe post-natal depression, which has weaved such a dance of destruction through my adult life... to have come through and out the other end, into the light, I feel very lucky.”
She pauses, and then adds. “I have often thought… if I could give my 20-year-old self any advice it would be not to be so impressed by everything and so easily led. I caused myself a lot of grief that, if I’d taken a step back, I would have easily avoided.”
For more info on Hepatitis C and the Get Tested! campaign, see www.hepctrust.org.uk or call the helpline on 0845 223 4424