I'm a Celebrity's Arlene Phillips reveals pregnancy at 47 was confused for menopause

Arlene Phillips gave birth to her daughter, Abi, at the age of 47 in 1991

Arlene Phillips recalls pregnancy at 47 on I'm a Celebrity
(Image credit: Getty)

Arlene Phillips has shared candid details on her having a baby at 47, revealing she initially confused her pregnancy symptoms for the menopause. 

The former Strictly Come Dancing judge opened up about the personal journey on last night's episode of I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out Of Here!, admitting it "hurt so much" to be pregnant later in life. 

Arlene gave birth to daughter Abi, in 1991, ten years after welcoming her first child, Alana. At the time, she was 47 years old and expecting to soon enter menopause.  

Speaking with her fellow campers in the aftermath of I'm a Celebrity's return following a disastrous storm, the British choreographer recalled the pain she endured while pregnant—as well as the ageism she faced as an older mother. 

"‘Why it hurt so much, was because, having a baby naturally at 47 and thinking it was the menopause for four, five months… [and] “I can’t be pregnant, why am I so sick?”’ she said. 

I'm a Celebrity 2021 line-up includes Arlene Phillips

(Image credit: ITV)

Unfortunately, her suffering didn't end after she gave birth. Arlene revealed that she was subject to constant discrimination when she went in public with her new baby, sharing one upsetting memory she "can never forget."

"When I went to a mother and baby class in Primrose Hill my obstetrician came up and whispered—I can never forget this—he kneeled down and said, “Have no fear, it will get better—because you really should be a grandmother, so you’re going to have to find ways to understand how to be a mother again,”’ she said. 

Arlene Phillips and daughter Abi

Arlene Phillips and daughter Abi 

(Image credit: Getty)

Arlene also admitted she was "absolutely dreading" the school run with Abi and "having to explain, 'No, I’m her mother not her grandmother.'"

Now 78, Arlene is both the oldest of the I'm a Celebrity 2021 contestants and the oldest person ever to participate in the show. She's also a real grandmother to Lila and Emme, the two adorable daughters of her eldest child, Alana.  

Her courage in sharing her ordeal was praised by her fellow campers, who seemed unanimously impressed by the dancer's honesty. 

"Arlene was talking about the fact that she always felt a little bit self-conscious at school with her daughter because she was an older mum," said Saturdays star Frankie Bridge. 

"It just blows my mind that that was ever an issue for her. The fact that she's here, she's 78, going through all of this with us, she's still dancing around and I imagine back then she was exactly the same. I get where she's coming from but I don't think she's got anything to worry about."

Emma Dooney
Lifestyle News Writer

Hailing from the lovely city of Dublin, Emma mainly covers the Royal Family and the entertainment world, as well as the occasional health and wellness feature. Always up for a good conversation, she has a passion for interviewing everyone from A-list celebrities to the local GP - or just about anyone who will chat to her, really.

Emma holds an MA in International Journalism from City, University of London, and a BA in English Literature from Trinity College Dublin.