TV

Gabby Logan interview: "I never wanted to be famous..."

Gabby Logan on how her family fell apart after her brother's death, spotting future pundits – and the night she met her husband

When I was 16 I was completely focused on gymnastics, training and competing. It absorbed my life. I got the bit between my teeth when I was about 10, and I decided I wanted to be really good [she represented Wales at the 1990 Commonwealth Games]. I was quite focused as a young girl. Sport is so good for your hormones, I think it helped me get through puberty more easily than I might have otherwise. It’s quite a powerful thing to know your body is capable of so many things, and gymnastics keeps you in tune with your body. So that’s useful when it starts changing, to know that it is about more than just how it looks, to know it can be a very powerful thing.

Just before I went to university my brother Daniel died. He was 15. That was a massive change in my life, in my whole outlook. It was a life-changing thing for all of us. It blew the family apart. My parents were divorced within 10 years. My dad had a lot of problems. It unravelled us all and we had to work our way back together. If I’d ever wavered about going to university, I was right back on track. I wanted to achieve something. I almost felt like I was living two lives. My brother had just signed for Leeds United. He was 15, and he’d already been asked to play for Wales’ under-18s. He was really talented and he was a natural leader, very popular, obvious captain material. He was never going to pursue his dreams now, so I didn’t want to waste any opportunity to pursue mine. I arrived at university with a very mature approach to life because of what I’d gone through. I wanted to join every society, try every sport, get whatever I could out of it.

I studied law with a vague idea I might be a barrister. But I missed sport massively and I was trying to find a new way to do it. I’d go swimming and think, am I good enough to be a swimmer? Could I be a runner? When I was a gymnast I’d become exposed to media and TV and I was aware of it through my dad [Leeds/Wales footballer Terry Yorath]. I got some media work during my gap year, on a local radio station, and while I was at uni I kept working there, reading the news, at weekends. Then the Monday after I graduated I started on the Breakfast Show.

He was never going to pursue his dreams now, so I didn’t want to waste any opportunity to pursue mine

My 16-year-old self would have been absolutely beside herself to think I’d be going to rugby world cups, football world cups, and most of all doing the Olympics show on the BBC that I did in 2012. I used to sit and watch Trans World Sport on a Saturday morning and there was a female who did the voiceover – I never even saw her face – but I was so impressed by her, whoever she was. I thought she was amazing. I thought, gosh, I’d love to do that. I get letters from girls saying they want to be female broadcasters but I hope that changes and they start just saying they want to be broadcasters.

Gabby Logan with her family.

I don’t think we should expect all of our sports stars to have the personality of Michael McIntyre. But there’s a long time after you’ve finished playing your sport that you need to be a human being, so it’s good to practise. And people don’t forget. It often happens in our industry that you come across someone and you just think, they’ll make a great pundit one day. I met Tom Daley when he was just 13 and immediately I just thought he was adorable. Brilliant person, fantastic to be around. I met Andy Murray early in his career and really enjoyed spending the day with him too. I knew he would win things and be a big star. But of course you meet other people, too, the kind who just burn their bridges.

It was all very quick when I met my husband [Scottish rugby player Kenny Logan]. I think we both felt very early on in our relationship that we were going to be together for a long time. I have vivid memories of our meeting – it was 17 years ago last Saturday. We were discussing that night just last week and we can both remember it very clearly. My kids are always asking me about how we met, so we’ve talked about it a lot. As for being a mum, I don’t think I even thought about it, it’s just something I wanted to do ever since I was a kid. I always imagined myself as a mum.

Growing up with quite a famous dad, I always knew it wasn’t the be-all and end-all. I never wanted to be famous, I just wanted to have a really interesting job. Being in the media can be awkward but it’s not a major problem for me. As you get older you learn how to put things into perspective, and you probably learn to be more guarded. I was misquoted in a story about Andy Murray. I was doing a Q&A for students about broadcasting and I was asked a question about great interviews I’d done. I said how much I’d enjoyed spending time with him but the next time I met him he’d lost and he was a bit grumpy, which he had every right to be. The point was, just because you’ve had a good time with someone once, it doesn’t mean the next time you interview them they’re your best friend. But of course, The Daily Mail decided to take it a different way. But that’s the nature of some journalism these days.

Being in the media can be awkward but it’s not a major problem for me

I wouldn’t want to relive giving birth to my twins but I loved those first few weeks of having my babies home from hospital. When I actually gave birth I had a massive haemorrhage and lost half the blood in my body so I had to stay in hospital. I got a bit institutionalised. I was nervous about how I’d adapt to the outside world. But I remember arriving home and the dogs coming to meet the babies in the drive, then we all went into the house together and started life as a family. Within about an hour it felt great. Kenny was amazing. He’d just given up professional rugby so he was able to take it slowly, and we were able to really enjoy that time with them. It was really, really special. But honestly, I still feel like that now. I love waking them up in the morning. And I love going in at night, when they’re asleep and they look so cuddle-able, and giving their sweaty brows a kiss.

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