Paul Hollywood – the silver-haired star of The Great British Bake Off – has opened up about the dark side of his culinary celebrity, saying he might have been happier had he never joined the hit cookery show.
“I thought I’d spend my life making baguettes, muffins, croissants,” says Hollywood in the new issue of Radio Times. “I might have been happier if I had.”
The 47-year-old star recently split from his wife of 15 years amid rumours of a relationship with his fellow US Bake Off judge Marcela Valladolid.
“Maybe fame has caused a problem,” says Hollywood. “But it’s not fame as such. To nail it to that would be foolhardy. It’s the perfect storm, a blend of everything. One in two marriages fail. I don’t see those people written about in the papers every day.”
And while it might come as a surprise to the scores of women who tune into Bake Off to watch a seemingly rampant Hollywood flex his muscles and grin at the contestants, “the real Paul Hollywood is shy,” he says, and likes “nothing better than going home, putting on slippers and a dressing gown, having a cup of tea and watching telly.”
“One day I’ll disappear and hide in a corner of Britain,” he continues. “I’ll own a bakery in a village, live above it, have a big garden because I like mowing. I want to get up when I feel like it, let people queue for my products and when they’re gone, shut the shop and think about tomorrow. Creating magic – that’s my dream. And I’ll do it.”
Read the full interview with Paul Hollywood and his fellow judge Mary Berry in this week’s Radio Times magazine, on sale now
The Great British Bake Off returns to BBC2 on Tuesday 20 August at 8pm