To look at Kirsty Gallacher you could be fooled into thinking she’s a pretty face without the goods to back it up. Is she a bimbo that got lucky? Never.
This is one star that’s worked hard to get where she is and she has it all. She’s intelligent, flawlessly pretty and charming to go with it.
She’s just returned to Sky Sports News where in September, possibly alongside former GMTV star Ben Shepherd, she will host the brand new entirely sports driven breakfast show. And she knows she’s the girl for the job.
“To do a job like this you need to be clued up on absolutely everything going on in the sports calendar,” she says. “And I am. I’ve always been a sports fan – but I’m more than that. I genuinely get excited about sport.
“I decided last year I wanted to get back into sports. It was a no-brainer to me. I’ve done lots of bits and pieces but nothing like this where I can get my teeth into something and be a permanent feature.
“It’s quite an American idea having a Daybreak style show but just for sport – but it’s going to be a huge deal for the channel. It’ll be a challenge, I’m sure. But one that I’m more than willing to handle.”
Recently the star faced a huge challenge covering the funeral of close family friend Seve Ballesteros – with images being filmed at the funeral capturing her father, former Ryder Cup captain Bernard Gallacher, and mum Lesley visibly upset.
“That was pretty much as hard as it’s going to get for me,” she reveals. “Seeing your parents crying is hard at any time but when you’re live on air and trying to hold it together was a real challenge. I got through it by blanking it out until we came off air. But Seve was a close family friend and my parents were very upset. I was a mess when shooting stopped.”
Kirsty’s definitely aware there’s a big challenge ahead of her with the new breakfast show.
Married to rugby player Paul Sampson, the pair have two young children, Oscar, four, and Jude, one. So Kirsty will be hands on – doing housework and the cooking when she’s home – despite the pressure of the big new job.
The only person that will feel the sharp edge of the sword when Kirsty starts getting up at 3am for work is hubby Paul. “He’s likely to find it different,” she laughs. “I’ll come in and got to bed when the children go up to sleep.
“But it’ll be well worth it. Sky are putting a lot of time and effort into the show with a brand new studio – I have the easy part doing the job I do.”
The prospect of such early starts doesn’t seem to phase her in the slightest – she admits she’s even taken advice from Daybreak host Christine Bleakley. “She told me it was tough at first but she quickly settled down and got into the routine of things so I think I’ll be fine,” she says nervously.
The star’s refreshingly honest about pretty much every subject.
Kirsty clearly hates being deemed a celebrity (“There’s more to me than some reality star,” she quips), fears she’s over the edge at 35 and the thought of people seeing her sexy shoots in FHM and Arena of yester year makes her queasy.
“I woke up with flu on my birthday when I turned 35 and felt severely depressed,” she admits. “Really depressed. I know it’s not that old on paper – but in my head it was near to 40. And that wasn’t good. I got really down about it for a while. Then I realised I was being dramatic and silly.
“The truth of my ‘sexy shoots’ is I hardly did any for the men’s magazines. They just come back to haunt me and I just want to hide. I did less than a handful that seem to get rehashed all the time. I think I was slightly misadvised early on when it came to those shoots. I slightly regret peeling off.
“But I’m glad I never revealed too much. I never went topless and I always made sure I was dressed in more than just a pair of knickers.
“I think I’ve moved out of that genre these days anyway – men don’t seem to find you sexy in that business once you have a family.”
And for somebody so fearful of her age, she seems thrilled to have a face that still moves.
“I’ve not had botox, fillers or anything else put in my face,” she admits. “Everything moves and as you can see I have wrinkles around my eyes. Lines everywhere. Why would you want to freeze everything and look weird?
“I’m happy with the way I look but I do worry about HD TV now – and how I’m going to look. You can see every wrinkle. Everything. Put it this way, I’ll be in and they can pile make-up on until everything I covered.”
Kirsty, who’s presented shows such as Soccer AM, Gladiators and The Games, is very conscious of being seen as a role model to young women when she’s pictured in magazines. She doesn’t want airbrushing galore.
“If I know I’m going to be on a beach in a bikini I panic like everyone else and work out more,” she admits. “I don’t want girls and women thinking I’m unachievable. I’m not. I’m the same as any other woman. I have a line down my stomach from my pregnancies and cellulite. Fortunately I escaped stretch marks because I covered myself in Bio Oil all the time. It works a treat.
“I work out doing circuit training. But I get bored easily – I can’t just go running. I need to change things up lots.”
After the birth of her first son Oscar, Kirsty was diagnosed with post-natal thyroiditis and her overactive thyroid gland made her drop from her usual eight and a half stone to just below seven stone.
The pictures at the time clearly still shock her. Fortunately the condition didn’t return following the arrival of her second child. “It was shocking for me to see those pictures,” she says seriously. “I had no way of stopping it. I was very seriously ill.
“I ended up going to the Cromwell hospital to a specialist and had some treatment and fortunately I managed to shake it off.
“I was petrified the second time round that it would return but it didn’t. I was knackered, had mood swings and the weight loss was just terrifying. And there was nothing I could do. Thankfully after Jude arrived I was fine. I would consider having another child – but not for a while. I’m very career focused for now and really want to make a go of the Sky Sports gig.
“I just hope the thyroid condition will never return again. I don’t know how I’d be able to cope with that again.”
These days the star balances work commitments with friends and family around her. Her sister Laura – who once upon a time dated comedian Russell Brand – is extremely close to her and she considers 12th in line to the throne Zara Phillips as one of her best friends. She’ll be attending the wedding in July between Zara and rugby player Mike Tindall – who she affectionately refers to as “Tinny”.
“I see her and Tinny all the time,” she reveals. “They’re an amazing couple and I’m very much looking forward to their wedding. We hang out at each other’s houses and she’s an amazing person. They both are. Very grounded and very nice indeed.
“I’m a very normal person away from the studio. I’ve never been the person falling out of nightclubs in front of the cameras. And I wouldn’t want to be either. I’m too old for that now anyway!
Kirsty presents Sky Sports News, Channel 405