The Apprentice star Karren Brady has revealed how a potentially fatal illness changed her life for ever.

The 44-year-old businesswoman was treated for a brain aneurysm seven years ago.

She told Hello! Magazine: “I would never have done The Apprentice had I not gone through the experience.

“It made me realise that life is short – and fun – and that you should try new things. I really believe in life-long learning. The moment you think you know it all is when you don’t know anything at all.”

Her husband, Paul, said the illness changed his wife considerably. He said: “It made her softer and she’s less likely to get so fraught about the unimportant things that used to wind her up”.

Karren, who started her working life at Saatchi & Saatchi when she was 18 and is currently vice-chairman at West Ham United, said she now regrets going back to work within days after giving birth to her daughter Sophia 17 years ago.

She said: “I regret that, but I didn’t understand then.

“In those days, there was no such thing as flexible working or a work-life balance. It is absolutely essential that you take time off when you have a family. I just didn’t know that then and nobody told me that it was OK. I was still trying to prove myself so I carried on working.”

Karren said she now liked nothing more than staying at home and cooking for her family. She said: “We rarely go out and I love to cook. We do a lot of Friday night dinners and Sunday lunches. A slow-roast lamb is my speciality, or a king prawn curry on a Saturday night.”