Made in Chelsea star Binky Felstead opens up about THAT shock split from co-star Josh 'JP' Patterson and says 'we can't stick together just because we have a baby'
First came the loss of her beloved west London flat, which was devastated by floods after a freak storm in May, leaving her effectively homeless while the damage was repaired.
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Then, after battling for much of this year to save their relationship, she and partner Josh “JP” Patterson admitted defeat and decided to go their separate ways, three years after they first got together.
Binky, 28, has spent the few months they’ve been apart slowly coming to terms with the new normal while throwing herself into work and making sure their daughter India, now 17 months, is disrupted as little as possible.
“It has its ups and downs, and I have my low days,” she says, in her first in-depth interview about the split.
“It was literally a mutual decision. Things hadn’t been right for a while, but we’d kind of painted over it. I think doing that was unfair on India as well as ourselves. We can’t stick together just because we have a baby.”
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Binky (real name Alexandra) and property developer Josh, 29, who met when they were both starring on MIC, always had an on/off relationship – he was the immature goofball scared of commitment, whereas she was level-headed and keen to settle down. They were officially “off” when she discovered she was eight weeks pregnant with India.
Both of them were blindsided by the news, but they decided to give things a go. And for a while, it worked.
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“You know, [our relationship] was always a bit up and down,” says Binky. “But India was an amazing surprise and we thought we would give it our best shot.
“And we have had really happy times, just like any couple. But we’re still quite young – Josh had never had a girlfriend before – and we’ve been in the public eye, which isn’t easy anyway when you’re in a relationship. And then to have a baby on top of everything else…”
In the end, she says, something had to give. Their joint statement spoke of them realising that they were “on very different paths”, which seemed to imply that Josh’s commitment issues were perhaps never truly resolved.
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Binky explains: “He’s doing lots of things for charities at the moment, which means he’s away a lot, and I’m working really hard as well and we were just clashing.
"But we really respect each other – he’s an amazing father and it has been an amicable break-up. We’re getting through it together.
“I’m very lucky because it must be really hard for single parents who don’t get on with their ex-partners. We have this relationship and India is the main priority for both of us, we don’t want anything to affect her.”
She admits, though, that the thought of moving on is daunting, and she is unsure how she will feel if Josh starts dating somebody else, which she expects will happen sooner rather than later.
“He will find someone very quickly, and that kind of scares me. The scariest thing for me is thinking about being on my own, and how am I going to meet someone again when I have a baby? Because who wants to think about being on their own?
“But you have to think positive. My mum always says: ‘You can’t be afraid of what’s to come. You need to be excited about the future.’”
Not that she’s in the right frame of mind to even contemplate dating again any time soon.
“Of course, hopefully one day, but I’m not there yet. I’m not even thinking about that. As long as Josh and I are in a good place together that’s all that matters, because that’s what’s perfect for India.”
They do seem to be in a good place, at the moment anyway. “Josh and I are still in each other’s lives, and I speak to him every day,” says Binky.
“He sees India as much as he likes – he had her when I was on a work trip this week, and we’ll talk about Christmas. I’m sure in the future we’ll spend Christmas Day together. This Christmas might be a bit hard as my family and his family are in different countries, but he’ll be around and we will work it out.
“I have the most incredible, strong friends who have been so supportive. And my family, obviously. His family have been amazing, too. I went to his mum’s house over the weekend with him, and all his cousins who I’ve never met before were there and they all met India. So, yeah, we still have weekends together occasionally and even though we’re not a couple, we talk like nothing’s changed.”
We gave it our best shot… But we can't stick together just because we have a baby
Binky has been staying with one of India’s godfathers since the flood, but now that the restoration work on her maisonette is complete, she’s decided to sell up and start a new chapter somewhere else.
“The flood has actually been a blessing in disguise,” she says. “I want to have a fresh start, so the flat is back on the market and I’m looking to get a bigger place for India.
“I don’t want to go back there now – obviously it has Josh’s and my memories in it. They are quite happy memories, but I just want to start again in a place with lots of rooms for family and friends to come and stay and make it into a proper home.”
It’s helped through all the emotional upheaval that India is such a gem of a baby. The last time we met, she was just a few weeks old and Binky was bliss personified, looking like she was sailing through those notoriously difficult early days of motherhood.
She smiles, remembering that time, and says that yes, it actually has been a pretty smooth journey so far. She loves being a mum and has found it all relatively easy, although she rarely admits to this for fear of coming across as smug.
She thinks it’s almost become de rigueur for women to rail about how stressful babies can be – but her delivery was straightforward, India has always slept well and they both found breastfeeding a breeze.
“I feel like you can never say how much you enjoy being a parent now. Obviously it’s good that people feel able to express themselves if they’re not having a great time, but I’ve been told by [MIC star] Ollie Locke that several people have come up to him and said: ‘That Binky is so smug on Instagram with her beautiful, happy daughter!’
“I just thought: ‘F**k!’ You really can’t win. Maybe I should say I feel s**t and hate everything? You’re damned if you do and damned if you don’t.
“Of course there have been challenges. India had separation anxiety and at one stage I couldn’t have a bath without her screaming. And I’m not perfect, but I’ve always been very maternal and I can honestly look back and say I had a really lovely first year with her. I really enjoyed it… so why do I feel guilty for saying that?”
People think I'm smug on Instagram with my beautiful daughter
There are hints that things might be about to get a bit trickier now that India’s a toddler, though, not least because she’s showing signs of having inherited some of her headstrong mother’s more challenging traits.
“She’s definitely got my personality,” Binky says with a grimace. “My mum was like: ‘Uh oh, you’re going to get everything back that you gave me!’
“But my life hasn’t completely changed. I’m still only 28, I see my friends and it’s amazing having the first baby because everyone is so excited for you. They all come round wanting to play and help. That’s never died down.”
However, some of her friendships have fallen by the wayside.
“You lose a lot of friends because you’re not in the pub with them all the time and they don’t think you’re fun any more. But I’ve realised it’s the s**t friends you lose. They were never really good friends in the first place.
“And I do get out. I love going to the gym – it sorts my head out in the morning. I’ve also always worked and got back into it quickly. I very rarely sat down, I just kept going.”
The gym sessions have had results – and then some. Binky is fit and lean, boasting a six-pack that’s all the more impressive given there was a baby in there less than 18 months ago.
“This is definitely the strongest I have ever been,” she says. “I’m so much more confident. My trainer Tyrone pushes me, and our workouts are way harder and longer than anything I’ve done before. And the sweating! I love sweating. I look forward to working out now, and I never thought I would say that.”
Binky aims to be in the gym four or five times a week and also uses Fit, an app that you can link up to the TV to work out with different personal trainers in your living room. She focused on high-intensity cardio until she hit her goal weight, but now it’s about toning so she’s incorporating some yoga and Pilates.
The scariest thing for me is thinking about being on my own, and how am I going to meet someone again when I have a baby?
Is she happy with her body?
“I am, I just don’t think I’ll ever be fully happy. As a person I always want to do better, but it’s more for my head. I love getting up and having a routine, going to the gym and smashing out a really good workout.”
She has spoken before about her struggles with anxiety and says regular exercise helps keep it in check.
“I still suffer, and when I do I go to the gym. It gets me going and I do rely on it quite heavily.”
Work helps too, and Binky has never been busier. Within weeks of India’s birth in June 2017, she was talking about setting up a “mummies’ retreat”, where new mothers could go with their babies to recharge their batteries, eat healthy food, focus on wellness and meet other women in the same boat.
It sounded like a pipe dream, but a year later, she’s made it happen. Mummy Tribe launched in April, and Binky says it’s been the most rewarding project she’s ever worked on.
It’s also helped to take her mind off all the sadness at home.
“It’s what I needed,” she says. “And seeing these mums so happy that they’ve come along is amazing.”
While she’s been developing Mummy Tribe and working on clothing lines with In The Style, a jewellery project with Philippa Herbert and a range of homeware, Binky has put India into nursery two days a week. It’s a decision she was “mum-shamed” for on social media – another example, she says, of modern mothers not being able to do right for doing wrong.
“It was ridiculous. I have to make money – I don’t rely on anyone else to make it for me. Besides, it’s really good for India. She loves it. I want her to be with other kids, and I’ve seen a huge change in her since she started.
“It means I can kind of get my life back. I can structure my jobs around the nursery hours in those two days a week.”
She also made a brief return to Made In Chelsea last month for BFF Louise Thompson’s engagement party. MIC original Binky left the series last summer after six years, saying then that she was looking forward to being “away from the drama”.
What’s your favourite platform?
Instagram. I’m such a mummy and fitness stalker.
Funniest on Twitter?
Donald Trump? Ha ha, he’s mad.
Favourite on Insta?
My PT Tyrone @Bethefittest.
Best for style/travel/interiors?
Louise Thompson and Rosie Fortescue for style, Laura Ashley for interiors, and I’m always looking at Bali for travel.
Are you on Facebook?
I am, but it’s personal so it’s just for family and friends.
How to take the perfect selfie?
I take a million pictures! You’ve got to know your angles.
How did it feel to be back?
“Ha! Same old. A lot of waiting around. But it feels like a very different show now. It used to be very easy and fun and chilled, whereas now everyone’s trying too hard to make it like it was back in the day.
“I watched an episode last week and I was just like: ‘Ahh, this has been done a hundred times!’ Like, cheating, lying, best friends falling out – we’ve done it!”
Sounds like she wouldn’t consider going back…“I will never say never,” she says. “The door
is always open, and of course it was lovely to see some of the old cast and the producers and camera guys.
“But I’ve grown out of it, I think. I can never slag it off because I wouldn’t be here today in this position if it wasn’t for Made In Chelsea. I have had the best years since doing it.”
Having India made her reassess everything, though. And while she never expected to be a single mum, she clearly has good, loving support and a head that is firmly screwed on.
“I’ve grown up,” she says. “Before India, I was going out, floating around. I didn’t really have any ambitions. I was just young and now I am driven to make sure I am a success.
“For both of us.”
- For more information about Mummy Tribe, visit Themummytribe.co.uk.
- Hair: Dino Pereira using Kiehl’s Since 1851 Magic Elixir.
- Make-up: Aimee Adams using IT Cosmetics.
- Styling: Lynne Mckenna.
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