Sadie Frost: ‘You either become a wise woman who is strong – or burnt-out, alcoholic, crazy’

Actor Sadie Frost relaxing at a wellness retreat: she describes herself as being ‘the happiest she's ever been’
Loving life: Sadie Frost, 58, says she is now where she belongs - Amchara Health Retreat
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

The day before I met Sadie Frost she was in Paris and nearly didn’t make it home. She’s perfectly discreet about why she was there, but as global news outlets report that her dear friend Kate Moss was throwing a 50th birthday “soirée” in “the French capital” the night before, one can guess. Too much of a good time, you wonder? No, no, no – Frost rarely drinks alcohol and was in bed by midnight. She mislaid her passport. “There were tears; I was not calm,” she says. Fortunately, though, as a frequent traveller, she has a second passport, which a colleague obligingly brought to Paris.

What’s striking about Frost – producer, actor, fashion designer and author – is how different she is to the way she’s often portrayed. Yes, it’s decades on from her “party girl” image as part of the glamorous Primrose Hill set, but, “people make things up and they stick,” she says. “And then you get labelled with something. Even now.”

Sadie Frost with her friend Kate Moss at London Fashion Week in 2005
Friends reunited: Frost with Kate Moss at a London Fashion Week event in 2005 - Getty Images

The fact is, she was raising four children under the harsh glare of the paparazzi. “Nobody is one thing. I think I am, hopefully, down to earth, and I am sensitive.” No wonder she used to have panic attacks and anxiety. “I didn’t want to leave the house,” she admits.

Frost still looks kooky and cool with her glittery silver nail polish, fabulous rocky rings, and Cherry, her little black dachshund, sitting beside her. But she’s grounded, confident, and – shortly before the passport drama – thought to herself, “I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.”

It’s taken work, no one’s pretending that midlife is a breeze. These days we talk openly about the menopause, but she says, “It was always a taboo subject, something I was uncomfortable with and didn’t want to face or discuss. And then suddenly it hits you like a brick. And you’re like, ‘I wasn’t ready for this!’ Nobody really warns you.”

For Frost, who is 58, the mental-health aspect was most challenging. “There’s been lots of challenges over the past few years – the children leaving home, me getting older,” she says. She also started seeing her own mortality: “Wow, I was a young woman, I had kids, now 30 years later, how did this happen?

“It’s difficult,” she adds. “You do feel more alone. I’ve been single the past three years.” It was a conscious decision. “I’ve always been in relationships, and I’ve felt like I didn’t want a relationship.” She pauses. “That’s quite a hard choice as well, you’re like, ‘Wow, all of my life I’ve been in a relationship with somebody’, [and now] I’m literally living with a cat and a dog.”

In midlife Frost understood that she had a choice. “You either become a wise woman,” she says, “really sort your s--t out, and become someone who’s inspirational, wise and powerful and strong – or you can become frazzled, burnt-out, alcoholic, crazy.” I start to laugh, but realise that she’s only half-joking. “I don’t want to be an insecure neurotic,” she says.

Frost with her ex husband Jude Law in 1998
Part of the Primrose Hill set: Frost with her ex husband Jude Law in 1998 - Getty Images

Frost describes a feeling of “this wall hitting me”. The key, she says, is to “accept it, and work on yourself to get through it”. Like when she didn’t want to leave the house but had to take her children to school. Then you become more powerful. “You can radiate strength and spread wisdom and good feeling,” she says.

Frost, who did an MA in film production, is currently completing a documentary on Twiggy. Having practised yoga since she was 15, she is also qualified to teach kundalini and now jivamukti (vinyasa-based in style, with a spiritual element, including meditation and chanting). Working in the wellness sphere too provides the perfect balance. Frost mentions its authenticity and lack of toxicity more than once. I wonder whether this career has helped her to separate her real, private self from all the stuff written about her. “I think that’s exactly it,” she says. “Drawing a line under it. It is a kind of rebirth.”

Case in point: Frost was never a big drinker. “I’ve never drunk in the day, I never could – it has to be dark and I can maybe have a glass with dinner.” She says she has a healthy relationship with alcohol and the only drink she likes is red wine.
Though, she adds, smiling: “We all have to look at it and rein it in; if you’ve got lots of events, you have to go, ‘Well, actually, I’ve maybe drunk too many units this week.’” But Frost isn’t one to go out “for a drink”. “Every now and then I’ll have a knees-up,” she says. “But I’m very aware that I don’t want to feel bad the next day. I’m normally in bed by 10.”

Frost with Cherry, her beloved little black dachshund
Just the two of us: Frost with Cherry, her beloved black dachshund - Amchara Health Retreat

She has recently partnered with her favourite wellness retreat, Amchara, on the Mediterranean island of Gozo in Malta, where she will be leading a four-day yoga programme this summer, along with her sister Holly Davidson, a personal trainer. Frost herself has been going to “beautiful” Amchara to relax and reboot since 2015, and loves its lack of pretension, “it’s like friends sitting round the kitchen table together,” she explains.

She’s always had to take her health seriously – as a child she was diagnosed with bronchiectasis, a serious lung condition, and a yogi friend of her mother recommended yoga to improve her breathing. Frost was also raised vegetarian in an era where it was considered to be an oddity and was rarely catered for. “At school dinner I’d have a mashed potato sandwich,” she says.

There were consequences: she was diagnosed with “quite severe” osteoporosis in her 30s – “I’ve been in and out of hospital for the bone density on my back.” She says she now has to “work hard” on her body. As well as yoga and Pilates, she does weights to maintain her bone density. And she eats well – having healthy stews and broths and incorporating tofu and beans in her diet.

Frost with her sister Holly Davidson practising a warrior yoga pose
Strike a pose: Frost and her sister Holly Davidson will be leading a yoga programme at wellness retreat Amchara in Gozo - Andrew Crowley for the Telegraph

Though in the enviable position of being able to still wear clothes she bought “20, 30 years ago”, Frost adds that she has “definitely noticed I put on weight the day I turned 50. I put on 9lb; it literally went like that!” She has made some mild concessions: “before I could eat a lot of bread, now I wouldn’t eat so much”. If she fancies pizza or chips, however, she’ll have them. “I’m healthy some of the time. I just don’t like to be controlled by my food,” she says.

Like many of us in midlife, her sleep isn’t fabulous. “I’ve always had insomnia – since I had children and was breastfeeding, I got into that two-hour cycle,” she says. “I’d always wake up and I never went back to not waking up every two hours.” At its worst, she’d only sleep for a couple of hours the whole night, and eventually sought help at a sleep clinic. Thankfully, she can now get back to sleep, but she still wakes up most days between 5am and 6am. “I’ve learnt to embrace it,” she says.

As part of her yoga practice and mental-health toolkit, she meditates daily. Woo-woo? Not at all, Frost insists, it’s grounded in science, has been shown to have cognitive benefits, and is not about blocking out your thoughts. “Some people think you’re dismissing what is real life,” she says. “I think it’s about embracing real life.” If she is overwhelmed or finds herself asking, “Why is my life like this?”, she’ll do a gratitude meditation. “It really does calm everything down, your whole perspective – everything shifts. And then you can be calm, then you can breathe properly, you feel different and energised and you can solve problems; you’re just a stronger person,” she says.

It’s been particularly helpful with her dyslexia and ADHD. “As a kid I couldn’t concentrate, I was clumsy, I was a chatterbox. Now it makes sense, I could never sit still, I could never focus,” says Frost. As an adult, it made her prone to “overthinking” – and overdoing – “but actually there’s no peace of mind in that, there’s just chaos. So what the meditation does is slow down my thinking and I’ve been able to process my thoughts a lot better,” she says.

Frost is clearly content. She’s primarily based in north-west London – “it’s where I feel happiest” – after a brief move to Wiltshire a few years ago. “I spent a good year in the country on my own but even though I got so much from it, and my dream was to live in a thatched cottage, I realised that actually isolation for me isn’t a good thing,” she says.

Nowadays, Frost believes she is where she belongs. “I’ve got everything I need there: my yoga, Pilates, and all my old friends. I feel safe,” she says. Indeed, after our chat she’s off to a Pilates class with a friend. (Cherry too, though she’s more of a downward-dog type.) At this time of life especially, Frost says, “Friendship’s great – you go through a lot the same time as your friends. That brings you closer.”

Frost with three of her children, from right to left, Finlay, Rafferty and Rudy, in 2021
My boys: Frost with three of her children, from right to left, Finlay, Rafferty and Rudy in 2021 - Ian West/PA Wire

Her adult children, too, are understanding and supportive, and she’s close to all four (Finlay, from her marriage to Gary Kemp, and Rafferty, Iris, and Rudy, from her marriage to Jude Law) and they all love yoga. She says happily – slightly blowing my mind – “My eldest [Finlay], he’s 33 and hopefully I’ll be a grandma this year.” Her youngest [Rudy] meanwhile, is at university. “They’re all doing their own thing, but they all keep coming back.” Rafferty lives in LA, but is visiting and she can’t wait, as she hasn’t seen him for six months. “He’s got a TV show with Apple TV+ coming out, Masters of the Air.” Oh, that little thing.

Frost’s evident fulfilment has been hard won. As she says, it’s acceptance and grit that give us “that robustness and that toughness” as we age. Women in their 50s and 60s, “they’ve got all that experience, that wisdom, they’ve got the strength,” she says. “It’s such an empowering thing, so lovely to see.” It really is.

Broaden your horizons with award-winning British journalism. Try The Telegraph free for 3 months with unlimited access to our award-winning website, exclusive app, money-saving offers and more.