BBC Radio 2 presenter Reverend Kate Bottley has revealed all in an interview on The Naked Podcast.
In an exclusive chat with the BBC Radio Sheffield podcast, radio and TV presenter Rev Kate Bottley talks openly about body image and how her weight has yo-yoed over the last four years; how men sexualise women’s bodies and she had her bottom pinched whilst wearing full robes; plus the time she shared a bed with Debbie McGee.
Kate tells reporters Kat Harbourne and Jenny Eells about a moment when she was conducting a funeral service a few years ago: “I remember being at a funeral in my full robes and a bloke pinching my arse. I asked him not to do it and he said he thought I would find it funny! Even in full robes at a funeral someone can come on to you. If you’re a woman there will be someone, usually a bloke, who will find something to sexualise you for.”
In all the interviews that Kat and Jenny do for The Naked Podcast, they and their interviewee are all completely naked. During this interview, Kate confides that getting naked in front of strangers is a new thing for her while she considers sex to be a gift:
“I don’t think I have ever been naked in front of someone who wasn’t a member of my family since I was about two,” she says.
“Sex is one of the most beautiful things you can do in a loving couple. At 43 I’m getting into my stride. I’m not sure why Christians and people of faith are seen as such prudes. God knew what God was doing when God made the clitoris! It’s the only part of the body that has no function apart from pleasure.”
Kate talks openly about how she feels self-conscious about her weight, having been various dress sizes from a size 20 to a size 10 over her life, and how she would like to change people’s attitudes.
“As a woman on TV your body is owned by everybody and everybody feels at liberty to comment on what you’re wearing, what you look like, whether you’ve gained weight/lost weight.
“Recently, I was invited to the Houses of Parliament to meet Yvette Cooper MP – she wanted to meet me to talk about women of faith and what it means to be a person of faith. I had my photo taken with Yvette Cooper and I posted it on social media. I hadn’t posted a photo of myself on social media for about eight months so the last photo I had posted I was 14 stone. Within minutes I had 30 comments on my social media page, every single comment was about how much I weighed and how much weight I had lost. No-one said: ‘That’s you and Yvette Cooper, how fantastic is that?’”
Recently she has become much more comfortable about her own size and weight, concentrating on enjoying life rather than worrying what people might say about her.
“I do a lot of funerals and never in a eulogy have I mentioned what size someone is. I’ve talked about how much fun they’ve been and what they’ve achieved in their life and who they loved. People on their death bed never talk about dusting, they never talk about diets, they talk about the people who they’ve loved.”
Last year, Kate went on a medieval pilgrimage, the Camino de Santiago, with various celebrities including Debbie McGee. She reveals how she and Debbie ended up sharing a bed for one night:
“We got to our hotel and there was only one bed left. We looked at each other and she said ‘I’m game if you are!’ so we spooned.”
The pilgrimage was an adventure for Kate but left her questioning her faith: “I stopped believing in God for about three days! A pilgrimage is supposed to bring you closer to God but I was already pretty close anyway. I genuinely, for the first time in my life, became an atheist. I think having faith is an interesting thing, part of the joy of faith is the mystery that we can’t prove that God does exist. It’s called faith, you’re not supposed to be certain.”
Kate also recalls how meeting her husband led to her starting on her journey with faith: “When I was at school I saw a boy that I really liked. Asked my friend who he was and she said he was the vicar’s son. So I thought I had better start going to church then! So I went along for a snog and ended up with a dog collar and a husband! I married him. When I was 18 and had just done my A-Levels we went on holiday together. We went away as friends and came back not as friends and we’ve been together ever since.”
And Kate reveals how university life provided an unexpected opportunity to be a hooker! “I was a hooker before I was a vicar. I used to play ladies rugby before I was a vicar. I started playing rugby when I was 18, I was amazed at what my body could do. I thought I wasn’t sporty, at school I joined every time going but I was rubbish! When I went to university I started paying rugby and found a sport that I loved and could play.”
The Naked Podcast interview with Rev Kate Bottley, together with the other Naked Podcasts, is available here.