The TV shopping queen has just published a memoir, Shop Girl, about her early life and an homage to her mother, who died suddenly from meningitis when Mary was just 16. Soon after her father left her to look after her 14-year-old brother alone, dying shortly afterwards.
Mary revealed she was prompted to confront the pain of her past when Kirstie Young interviewed her on the long-running Radio 4 programme.
Mary Portas (Ian West/PA)
The TV presenter and entrepreneur revealed: “She asked me about my childhood and I realised that there was still this pain deep down inside of me. I’d picked all these pieces of music that were heightened times of my life, but when it came to expressing them, I had to tell the story.
“I started to feel this pain and anger towards my father and all the stuff that had happened.”
Mary had therapy for six months after the programme.
“I liked little Mary Newton in the end,” she said. “Because I was always in trouble, I thought I was a bad person. But I’ve just realised that I’ve got to like her, scruffy little thing that I was.”
Mary Portas and Melanie Rickey (Westminster Council)
Mary now lives with her wife, fashion journalist Melanie Rickey, and their two-year-old son Horatio, who was born to Melanie by IVF and Mary’s brother Lawrence is his biological father.
Mary said: “Mel’s made a huge difference to my life, she’s wonderful.
“We’ve just had the nicest time. Horatio has Mummy (Melanie) and Mama (Mary) and he knows that Daddy is Lawrence. We wanted a child that was genetically linked to part of the family. He was a wonderful little gift.”
Mary’s latest series Mary Portas: Secret Shopper is on Channel 4, Tuesdays at 8.00pm.