Interview: Anita Roddick - the Queen of GREEN; Anita Roddick, Self-Styled Queen of Green and Award-Winning Businesswoman, Is Never Short of Words When It Comes to Talking about the Body Shop, the Environment, Human Rights or Global Warming. She Talks to HANNA STEPHENSON

By Stephenson, Hanna | The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland), September 27, 2000 | Go to article overview

Interview: Anita Roddick - the Queen of GREEN; Anita Roddick, Self-Styled Queen of Green and Award-Winning Businesswoman, Is Never Short of Words When It Comes to Talking about the Body Shop, the Environment, Human Rights or Global Warming. She Talks to HANNA STEPHENSON


Stephenson, Hanna, The News Letter (Belfast, Northern Ireland)


Anita Roddick is happy to tub-thump on social causes and is an open book about her family, her upbringing and her off-the-wall outlook on life.

But the 57-year-old entrepreneur is stopped in her tracks, when asked about recent revelations concerning her husband's alleged affair with a much younger woman.

Earlier this month, it was reported that Gordon Roddick, to whom she has been married for 30 years, admitted the affair but said it was over and his marriage was fine.

His wife looks furious when asked if she has seen the newspaper article. "You bet I saw it. It was just outrageous. I'm not going to say anything because if I say it I'll get sued."

Is it untrue, then?

"I'm not going to comment. I'm here to talk about this (her new book),"she says. "Why have that shoved at me?"

She was 26 when she met Gordon, who had trained as a farmer but was trying to earn a living writing children's stories. Her main concern at the time was to have children.

"I'd left this appalling relationship - I'd been living with someone in Africa for three years - and thought, I'm going to fall in love with the first penniless poet, which I did.

"Gordon was romantic, he was a poet and he travelled exactly the same places I travelled and he was just an amazing guy.

"I said, `I'm looking to have a child', and he thought he'd died and gone to heaven. But it took me about three months to get pregnant and then I fell in love with him.

"In the 60s we weren't into conventional marriages. We got married after Justine (their eldest daughter) was born and when I was pregnant with Sam (their second daughter).

"We got married in Reno, not in a marriage parlour, we couldn't afford it. We got married in one of those banks where you pay 25 dollars and they marry you."

Shortly after Samantha was born, Gordon and Anita bought a run-down Victorian house in Littlehampton, refurbished it and turned it into a hotel. Once that was running smoothly, they borrowed pounds 10,000 from the bank and bought a nearby restaurant - which was again a success.

But after three years, they were both exhausted and Gordon decided to go on a horseback expedition from Buenos Aires to New York.

With two young children to look after, how did Anita feel about that?

"I was thrilled. It was so amazing. …

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Interview: Anita Roddick - the Queen of GREEN; Anita Roddick, Self-Styled Queen of Green and Award-Winning Businesswoman, Is Never Short of Words When It Comes to Talking about the Body Shop, the Environment, Human Rights or Global Warming. She Talks to HANNA STEPHENSON
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