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New Woman 2003

New Woman magazine interview - October 2003

She loves KissFM. He loves Radio4. She's young and beautiful. He's 37 and, erm, ginger. So what on earth keeps Billie Piper and Chris Evans together? She talks exclusively to NW's Simon Cage about the relationship everyone wants to know about.

"It was a bit like Little Red Riding Hood and the Big Bad Wolf," laughs Billie Evans, née Piper, throwing her ultra-blonde hair over her face so all you can see is the grin. "But i liked that. I found it sexy. I don't care what anybody else said, the whole thing was sexy."

We're tucked up on the hottest day of the year in the Tiffany Library in London's Covent Garden Hotel (which Billie likes so much she's already had the curtains from downstairs copied for her house) and we're obviously talking about her famous get-together with her media-mogul husband Chris Evans. She's wearing nothing in particular: A pair of trousers, a camisola-type top and a Missoni-esque long stripey scarf tied round her neck. But most of all she's wearing a huge grin. It's a Cheshire Cat-type grin, the sort that you feel would still be there even if she left the room. It's the grin of a cat that got the cream. The next day at the photo shoot it's the same. She comes striding into the studio 15 minutes late ("I'm so sorry. I hate being late.") but with that million-dollar smile a-blazing. She's dressed casually in jeans and a skimpy top but adds a touch of what we'll soon describe as "killer Billie" by completing her outfit with the sexiest of high heels. It's kisses all round and everyone's instantly at ease in her company. During the shoot we learn that she loves her music loud (Sean Paul's a current favourite) drink diet coke like water and absolutly adores dressing up - and the skimpier the frock the better.

It's hard to believe this is the same girl who three years ago was Britain's pop princess, hitting the number one spot with nice-but-ultimately-whatever dance numbers. Then she met multimillionaire Chris Evans - 16 years her senior - and, after a whirlwind romance that was portrayed by the tabloids as more of a kidnapping than a bona fide affair, the pair married in a dress-down affair (sarong and sandals!) in Las Vegas. Now, on the brink of 21, she's back with an amazing sexy new look and a promising carrer as an actress. Starring oposite James Nesbitt in the BCC's upcoming The Miller's tale and snogging heart-throb Orlando Bloom in the movie The calcium Kid out next year, she's already well on her way. Oh, and yes, she's still crazy in love.

So how did it feel when Chris Evans started pursuing you?

"I loved it! It was so sexy. I really fancied him. He's so charming and so engaging, you never know what he's going to do. I met him on TFI first and I'd heard through other sources that he liked me, so you think about it for days. I just used to watch TFI a lot and I used to think, "I get it". I could understand why he only had beautiful girlfriends. But those early days were so much fun, it was like a fairytale."

How did it feel getting a Ferrari filled with roses?

"I couldn't really feel the Ferrari because I'm not really into that stuff but the way it stopped me in my tracks, I loved that. It was like, "Look, I know we've only been out once, which was last night, but we've got to get together". I love people that are straight down the line and I hate all that mind game bollocks. I need to know or go because I can't hang around waiting for answers."

How soon did you think about you and him as a marriage thing?

"Well, he mentioned to me on the radio show when we first met that he wanted to marry me and he said we'd do it for charity but being a girl I didn't take it light-heartedly. I kinf of went "Yeah, ha, ha... Ohhh... He wants to marry me! He said it!" Yeah, I did think about it straight away. I just think everything's such a temporary arrangement these days and I hate that. And I hate searching for boyfriends. I hate the whole single thing. It just makes me feel really needy and competitive and a egomaniac."

So he was a perfect find?

"It was perfect. Everything was going ahead us but what we had was so right and was so going to work because we really wanted it, both of us. It was instant and those things very rarely happen so you can't just let them go and you can't think about it and weigh things up. You've just got to go with it."

Is he a good lover?

"Chris? Oh, of course! Yeah."

Did he open your eyes?

"To what?"


"Yeah, I suppose so. [Giggles] Yeah, he's definitely shown me things I didn't know existed. [Giggles some more] I love it!"

Has he suggested anything where you've said, "No, dirty dog! Get off me!"

"No, I'm game for a laugh."

You got married six months after you met. were your parents like, "Steady on, love"?

"I didn't tell them."

Did they not think he was too old?

"I don't know, I never really asked them. I was just being a bit selfish at the time. I didn't care about anybody else, which can be a bit dangerous but I've got really close friends and I knew that they'd forgive me if I just took off. I didn't tell my parents when we got married in Vegas because it was just for us, not anybody else."

But didn't you grow up wanting a big do?

"I think I did before, but then when I met him... There's too much stuff to think about when you have that big wedding thing. We wanted it to be just for us and because we want to be together forever. We wanted to have a right laugh and not worry about Uncle Barry who's threatening to beat up little John or Mum who's just crying the whole bloody time - all that crap."

And you didn't want the whole dress-up opportunity?

"I don't feel like I need to dress up or impress. I don't want my carrer to dictate how I should appear or behave".

So when you're coming through an airport...

"Who really gets off a plane and looks like Posh Spice? No one except for Posh Spice. She does look great. That's maintenance. Personally, I can't bear spending an hour to get ready to go to the shops. I only wash my hair once a week."


"I know! I can't be bothered. My hair doesn't get that dirty, it just gets matty and I quite like that. I'm a dirty crack whore. Sometimes Chris says it's like waking up with Rod Steward cause my hair is so bushy and big in the morning."

How do you feel when you look back on the pre-Chris pop days?

"It was fun. It was a really good time, but I'd had enough by the end of it."

Was it going a bit wobbly towards the end? Collapsing in toilets and drama?

"I was only 17 and everyone else could go out and I couldn't see why I couldn't. That made me rebellious, so anything I did, I did it twice as much, Was I getting out of hand? Not really. Not anymore so than anyone else in London. Because everybody had seen me grow up and be really young and squeaky clean, to see me go out, I suppose it did panic people."

Do you ever think about your ex, Ritchie Neville?

"No! I don't think about him at all. That whole thing was so uninspiring. It's just something that happened. The only thing I can take from a relationship is that he defently opened my ears to music but that's really all I got from it."

What do people in your little village think of you and Chris?

"We just muck in with everyone else. We're very much into the village scene, so we do cricket, we do fêtes, we do Christmas trees... I like being involved".

Sound like a 45-year-old's life?

"I think it's acceptable at any age, it doesn't mean you've lost your edge, I like being a girl and I like taking part in that stuff, baking cakes for the fêtes, it keeps my feet on the ground. Our jobs are so extraordinary and so silly, you need that leveller."

So what's your rutine?

"I'm an early girl. I like to go to bed early and get up early. About quarter to seven. I've got a treadmill at home and then I'll start studying and then I do the housewife thing. We only do breakfast at weekends really - if we've been out the night before it's obviously a full English."

How often do you get pissed?

"At the moment, never, because of work and stuff. I don't drink when I work because my attention span is so short anyway. But when I'm not working, I guess just the weekends."

That's rubbish!

"Ok, when we first got together we drank loads. He was like my party friend and I hadn't really been out and had a good time and met any interesting people. He had this whole life that he wanted to share with me and so many mates that he wanted me to meet, and a lot of that involved going out and meet these really eccentric people and just having a great time."

A psychologist would say that if you're drinking heavily then you're avoiding something

"I was just drinking as much as students drink but I don't drink to try and forget things. It's just social and for a laugh and if at any moment I feel dark or upset about something then I just stop."

Weren't there stories about you two having fight every time you went out drinking?

"I don't know. Were there? We've had differences but we never argue or row about anything. It's so avoidable, having an argument with someone you live with."

Does he ever feel like your dad?

"No, but there are things that he does that I just don't have enough patience for right now, like he reads a lot and I like to read but I could never finish a book. And when I'm in the car I love listening to KissFM and when I'm with him we listen to Radio4, which sound grandad but it's really interesting! It gets you all cultured. You go to the pub and you're like, "Do you know, on Radio4 today..."

Have you still got friends your own age?

"Yeah, well, actually my friends range from mid-20s to 50s. I don't go out as much as I used to but I think when you marry someone and you live with them, you don't feel the need to go out as much as you used to because you're not on the pull. Also, you start to appreciate being at home."

Isn't it boring going out when you're not in the pull?

"Oh no! I love going out with the girls sometime for a great bottle of cheap wine and just talking about... Well, it usually ends up with sex talk, doesn't it?"

So what's like being loaded?

"It's a weird one because we don't use it like other loader people do. We don't do all the designer clothes and the cars. Chris has got a collection of cars but it's just his hobby. We just spend it on holidays and have a great life. We can eat out when we want to and we don't have to think about the small things like getting in a cab and worrying about the meter. But I would never buy clothes that are really stupidly expensive, like jumpers for three grand. I love a bargain! I love that feeling of "I got this and guess how much it cost". It's more interesting than "Oh, I went to Sloane Street and look how much I spent on these shoes."

How did you get the part in The Miller's Tale?

"I auditioned. I audition all the time. When anything's offered to me on a plate, when works's concerned, I get a bit like, "Why? I never think I deserve anything really."

Why "when work's concerned"?

"Because when I got together with Chris it was very instant and big and he was saying, "Look, I really like you, do you want to go out?" I liked that. But where work's concerned, I feel like I need to work for it to get it or I won't be able to feel it. I'm into feeling things. When I got this part, I cried."

And you've got a love scene with Orlando Bloom in The Calcium Kid!

"I'm his love interest. Oh, Orlando is sweet, really sweet. It's funy, he's sexy on film and in pictures and stuff, then in real life he's just so nice that you don't instantly go, "Ooh, sex appeal!" You just go, "Handsome and really nice.""

Does Chris not get nervous about you doing love scenes with a younger man?

"That's the advantage of going out with a man and not a boy. I think boys in their 201 are a nightmare to go out with because they are so insecure."

Are you insecure?

"I'm not insecure anymore. But I think I get a bit funny about things."

Are there ex-girlfriends issues?

"Oh, no. Only in jest! I don't really care. The ex thing never really bothers me at all. I'm me and he didn't marry them so that kind of says something."

Do you worry about your appearence as much as you did when you first met him?

"That was the thing I liked about him. With other people I'd been out with, I worried about all that straight away but with him I didn't care because I knew he didn't care about it. I'd been so groomed since I left school and I didn't know whether that was actually me so I just went the other way and put on loads of weight. I ate stuff that I would never normally do and bought big clothes sizes. He just said to come out and have a great time and not worry about that stuff any more."

Did you worry when you started putting on weight?

"Well, I'm a girl, so I started to think, "I'm putting on weight..." but I don't really care because right now I'm loving this curry!" I'd cared about all that for so long."

Do you get cellulite?

"Yeah. Everyone's got cellulite. We all talk about it too much and the more of an issue you make it, the more it completly highjacks your thoughts. When you see this girls on TV they look great but do you know how hard they have to work at that? It's a complete lifestyle. You can't look like that without really putting yourself through something weird and girls should realise that. It's like I say to my sisters: "Look at those girls on TV. They can't eat what you're eating now. They work out for four hours a day! Just because you put some weight on doesn't mean you're not a success." The more you starve yourself, the more your personality suffers, I think. And what about the new magnums? Don't tell me you're not going to want one of those!"

What's Chris getting for your 21st?

"Who knows? We're having a big party. Huge. And I'm going to know everyone who's at the party. Great music, great company, great snacks and a bit of snogging."

Will you ever go back to music?

"I don't know. Never say never, right?"

What do you do in the evening?

"We watch films. We rarely watch TV because it's all crap, apart from my husband's shows of course. Sofa or bed and we'll watch anything."

Are you snuggly people?

"Yeah, we are."

Are people like, "Get a room"?

[Laughing] "Sometimes!"

Is it still hot as it was at the start?

"Completely! It's a really hot relationship. You've got to work at these thing tough and want it to work out. It's easy to say: "It's not working any more, you're actually a bit boring, let's get a divorce."

It's funny when celebs go on about it so much and then seperate...

"I think sometimes people stress it so much because they're not really sure and they need other people's opinions. It's like, "We're really right for each other...Aren't we?"

And you don't need other people's opinions?

"No, not where love's concerned. You either love someone or you don't."