The Truth about Trudie ; She's Famous as an Actor, a Producer, an Eco Warrior, a Mother and, of Course, as Mrs Sting. but Who Is the Real Trudie Styler? Liz Hoggard Finds out. Portrait by Fergus Greer

By Hoggard, Liz | The Independent (London, England), August 5, 2006 | Go to article overview
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The Truth about Trudie ; She's Famous as an Actor, a Producer, an Eco Warrior, a Mother and, of Course, as Mrs Sting. but Who Is the Real Trudie Styler? Liz Hoggard Finds out. Portrait by Fergus Greer


Hoggard, Liz, The Independent (London, England)


Trudie Styler has a bit of a diva reputation.

As the trophy wife of Sting, she has homes in Tuscany, New York, Los Angeles, London and Wiltshire. Her close friends include Elton John, Bill Clinton and Madonna (she officially introduced Guy to Madonna). For Christmas 2003, Mohammed Al-Fayed even opened Harrods early so Trudie could do her Christmas shopping without being disturbed.

So who is this witty, self-deprecating woman in front of me, confessing she hates having her photograph taken? A woman who seems rather more comfortable talking about her working-class childhood in the West Midlands, than her multi-millionaire lifestyle?

It seems there are two Trudie Stylers. One is the party queen of Manhattan. The other has spent the last 30 years establishing herself as an actor and producer. Not that the two roles are mutually exclusive. It can't hurt to have friends in high places. When it looked like Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels would go straight to video, Styler invited Tom Cruise to a screening' the film rights were snapped up within hours. And although her latest film, Alpha Male (which she acts in and produced), is a low-budget British movie, she's accompanied to the interview today by a publicist from uber-agency, Freud Communications.

Styler is aware of the irony. "When I'm in public doing the glamorous-wife-of-rock-star persona, I don't want to disappoint, but when I act I really like to leave all that behind." Because the great thing about Trudie the actress is she doesn't play diva roles. She's far more likely to be the dippy mother or the sexed-up neighbour than the leading lady.

She drew fantastic reviews as the vampish Irene in David Renwick's romantic comedy drama, Love Soup. In the Bafta-nominated film Me Without You, she stole the show as Anna Friel's suburban mother, with a predilection for valium and Walnut Whips. And in Alpha Male, she dons a dark wig to play the unmarried sister of Jennifer Ehle.

"The great thing about acting is you don't have to worry about yourself at all," Styler insists. "I tend to just get out of the way of me and let something come through." Directors are waking up to the fact Styler - always so immaculate in public - is happy to play the older woman with crow's feet and embarrassing acres of cleavage.

"Mind you, when Love Soup went out last year, I saw a few reviews that said, 'surprisingly good', so I was damned by faint praise," she laughs. "I think people are surprised because the Fourth Estate created me into Mrs Sting' you know, that whole package of turning up to events and looking kitted out on a red carpet. Though it is a bit easier now I'm in my early fifties."

We meet at the London studio of the photographer Fergus Greer. Our interview takes place in the garden as he sets up the s shoot. There is a full-height mirror at one end of the garden to make it look more spacious and there is a very funny moment as Styler and I battle it out to avoid the chair looking straight at the mirror. "Do we really need to see our reflections?" she groans endearingly.

In fact, she looks great: reed-thin (after 12 hours of Ashtanga yoga a week) in a print wrap-dress. But she also looks real. This is a woman who has lived. Her blonde hair is unfussy. There are laughter lines around her eyes. Yes, she visits cosmetic-surgeon-to- the-stars Dr Sebagh for facial injections and Botox, but that's because she suffered scarring in a childhood accident (more anon), that literally reshaped her life.

Styler doesn't always get a great press. In interview she can come across as Lady Bountiful - holding court at her 18th-century terrace house in London, or the 17th-century manor house she and Sting own in Wiltshire (which inspired her book, Cooking from Lakehouse Organic Farm, and the range of organic oils and honeys she sells at Harrods). But meet her away from the aristo trappings, and you realise the thing she is most passionate about is film.

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The Truth about Trudie ; She's Famous as an Actor, a Producer, an Eco Warrior, a Mother and, of Course, as Mrs Sting. but Who Is the Real Trudie Styler? Liz Hoggard Finds out. Portrait by Fergus Greer
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