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Last Updated: Friday, 17 August 2007, 12:53 GMT 13:53 UK
Katie Hopkins' guide to family life
Katie Hopkins
Talk about confused morals....she sacrified her chance to become Sir Alan Sugar's Apprentice in the interests of family, only to be caught dallying with married men. Here, Katie Hopkins sets the record straight.

Everyone has a view on the family - how best to run a home, often against the competing pressures of work. Whether it is a critique on your mother-in-law, or the fact that your ex-husband is as useful as stairs on a bungalow, we have a right to an opinion.

And since everyone else appears to have had an opinion on my life and the way I choose to live it, I feel compelled to have my say. To all those who sat in their armchairs pontificating on the state of my affairs (and there have been many) I would advise that if one stands too high upon the moral high ground, someone will look up and catch you wearing no knickers.

Society is an unforgiving beast. Because I work full-time, I am a heartless mother. A father who gives his all to the office, on the other hand, is commended for his dedication to providing for his family.

Because I am a single mother of two daughters, I must have led a promiscuous lifestyle. A father in the same spot would be offered sympathy and support. As a woman who has strong opinions and a wilful way, I am "ruthless", "reckless" or "selfish".

Demands for apology

Such attitudes tend to be excused in men; in women they are seen as weaknesses. And since emerging in the public eye, I have been asked many times by many people to apologise for my approach to life.

My own husband left me when his secretary offered to sit behind his desk instead of in front of it

But I haven't apologised for any of it. In fact, I celebrate it. I celebrate the fact that we are all complex and different and that we have a choice. I believe it is not my behaviour that offends, but my brutal honesty. I am incredibly proud of my life and my family and incredibly passionate that we live in a society that is more honest and open than ever before.

If you have had a view on my life; if you are one of the armchair high and mighty, then you must have a view of what is right and wrong. What is the best way to build a family? What makes up the model environment in which a child can learn and grow? What sort of family would make Britain altogether better?

It's a debate that's been bubbling furiously in other sectors - in politics, where MPs are discussing the merits and drawbacks of marriage versus cohabitation; among youth workers, who see at first hand the sometimes disturbing results of broken families.

The family units that are the building blocks of our society have been changing in the way they are put together. As families fracture, regroup and rebuild along new lines, our society has a greater diversity of family arrangements than ever before.

Broad opinion

I have witnessed a broad spectrum experience this week, as I have been on a journey to discover what makes a modern British family.

Single father (posed picture)
'Single dads are often pitied, while mums are scorned'
I have been to visit a group of single mums in Bristol and a "multi-dad" in Derby who claims 18 children by at least five partners.

I've canvassed opinion from my friends, my parents, and politicians - specifically Iain Duncan Smith, who has compiled a policy report on social justice, and the schools minister Jim Knight.

And I have been both surprised and reassured by what I have learnt from these people. Surprised because everyone, without exception, continues to respect the institution of marriage.

We hear a lot about "Broken Britain" and society's alternative values, but clearly the tradition of committing to spending your life with one other person still holds sway.

And I too believe in marriage and continue to respect it. But people will inevitably, and rightly, ask how I square that opinion with my well-documented affairs with married men.

Crockery flying

I have cohabited three times, been engaged twice and given birth before settling down to marry the father. I am a divorcee with paperwork pending and have spent the last two years as a single mother of two girls under three. Finally, I am cohabiting again.

Mothers with children
The modern dilemma for many: juggling the school run with a career
Cohabiting allows you to road-test your potential victim without the encumbrance of life-long commitment. Yet all that attractive freedom and flexibility is also part of the problem.

There is something transient about the relationship that makes it less durable when times are tough. When the kitchen crockery comes sailing over your head during a real humdinger, you are less likely to help sweep up and more likely to pack up and go. Which is what I did.

So, I am clear that I want to be married. I know that children do better if they have Mum and Dad around to look after them and it is a lot more fun than going it alone.

My discussions this week have reassured me that despite holding marriage as an ideal, we acknowledge that things don't always work out the way we plan.

Proud and resolute

I live my life by my heart and not my head. Marriage is a political ideal but the reality sometimes is that the least you can do is to make sure you are in a healthy and stable home environment.

Politicians are in danger of making "the family" centre stage, whilst behind the scenes, the real issues of class, economic background, education and childcare continue to go unresolved.

I stand by my decision to live my life in the way that I have. I am delighted that my children are as happy to see me leave for work, as they are when I come home. And I am proud that when I became a single mother, I decided that I would make myself completely independent.

To all those that have had an opinion on me, I challenge you to take a look at your own life. I challenge you to question some of the truths of your own relationship. And I dare you to imagine what life would be like if you lived like you wanted instead of the way you thought you should. If I have offended people's sensibilities, then maybe they are just a little too sensible.

Katie Hopkins presents the 5Live Report on Sunday 19 August at 1000 BST


Below is a selection of your comments.

I admire Kate's spirit and agree with much that she says, especially about the unequal treatment of men and women. I'm less happy with her last paragraph. Living as you think you should rather than as you want is often the result of consideration for others and takes courage in a society where too many are brutally self-interested. Yet it seems that in many ways Kate doesn't live just as she wants herself and is very considerate of her children. I'm just a bit worried for any kids of those married men!
Roger Brown, Carlisle, Cumbria

Kate cant you just go away? You were the most nauseating, shallow, manipulative and odious of all of the people on the Apprentice 2007, and I don't personally understand why anyone wants to give you time of day, let alone space on the BBC website - let alone me wasting my time now! People, just don't bother with her!
JRA, Fulham

She says: "And since everyone else appears to have had an opinion on my life and the way I choose to live it..." Everyone? I have never heard of this woman, have no clue who she is, and have no opinion on how she chooses to lead her life. That should be her own business.
Ian, Putney

Katie, in the scheme of things the past is just the past. Best just settle down with someone nice now and try and enjoy the rest of it with the job, the partner and the children. Otherwise what is there really but more anger and hassle. As for the Apprentice you made the right decision for the children and yourself/parents.
Hugh O'Daly, Sheffield

This woman played the game, she thought she was a certainty to win. The only reason she chose her family, was because Alan Sugar had realised she had no intention of moving to Brentwood. Considering she was already earning a six figure salary, if her children were so important to her, she would not have left them for nine weeks to do the apprentice would she? Katie is very calculating, she was in it to find fame. Unfortunately, as horrible a person she seems to be, she is still achieving her goal as this interview with the BBC proves. I find the comments made above about people making a lot more of her snidey comments because she was a woman, quite laughable. I do not remember any of the guys making remarks that were quite as horrible as hers, or openly admitting to intentionally stealing someone else's partner. Go back to the eighties Katie!
Richard Fountain, Bishops Stortford

Thought you were great on the show and liked your article - best of luck.
Ann, Kingston upon Hull

Katie, Katie, Katie!! How nice to hear from you again. Whatever any one say, you brought us great television on the Apprentice. I think you're one of those people who come across worse than they really are and now you probably feel you have to put on that character that's been created for you. I love your quick wit and the arsenal of jibes. I'm sure you're doing your best for your girls the way you know how. Katie, it was impossible not to judge you on the program, but any reasonable person will know that what we saw was the edited version of events and some of it was contrived. I don't necessarily agree with your views, nor would I want to be in competition with you, but I commend you for the sheer guts you display and you always make me laugh. Good luck
Dunni Apanpa, London

Katie feels compelled to have her say: the BBC feel compelled to let her have it. Why? Does anyone care what this reality TV flop thinks about anything? Does nobody remember her anti-northern, homophobic assertions about her fellow competitors; is this a person whose opinion we ought to value? Or even read?
Chris, Cambridge

Katie, what a girl. Brutally honest with her heart on her sleeve. I think the one big thing that she has got right is that a lot of people live their lives the way the think they should and not the way they want too. Good girl, Katie, keep doing what you do.
Darren, Worthing

It often struck me whilst watching The Apprentice that when any of the guys said nasty or underhanded comments they were seen as loveable rogues, yet quite the opposite for the women. I'm not surprised this point was raised, and it does seem that many of us love to judge what others are up to.
Spencer Payton, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Brash and offensive are just two words that spring to when this woman's name is mentioned. Her stance on her career and self advancement seems to me to be completely at odds with what one would expect from a caring and loving mother. Besides, she did not win the Apprentice so why elevate her to a position which in my view, and doubtless many others, is undeserved and will only go further to boost her disgraceful conduct as a single mother.
Chris Watkins, Bath

Whatever one's own views on marriage - and personally, I think that a broken home where children receive real love and care is infinitely preferable to a loveless or abusive family with two parents - there can be no doubt that Katie Hopkins is right when she observes that women are judged far more harshly and negatively than men in similar situations, particularly single mothers. No wonder so many women in our society have often been conditioned to suffer in abusive marriages, regardless of the risk to their own safety and that of their children.
Alex S, Durham, UK

What a good idea! Let's all live like exactly how we want and to hell with how our actions affect anybody else. This is the perfect advice to any potential mistress. How very sad.
Cat, London, England




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