Presenter Gabby Logan talks about the effect her young brother’s death had on her life, and how she feels blessed with her own children
Glamorous and immaculate with her cascade of blonde hair and trim figure, she prides herself on her healthy diet and regular exercise, and the bicycle propped up in her kitchen and the cross-trainer in her garage are clear proof of her ultra- conscientious regime.
“For me a family’s like a big machine, and when one cog goes wrong, then everything else can come off the rails,” declares Logan, mother of twins, eight-year-old Reuben and Lois, with her husband, former Scotland rugby player, Kenny.
“So I try to be fit and mega-organised because I don’t want to get ill. I want to make sure I can keep everything up and running smoothly.”
This is the sensible, practical approach of a woman who has good reason to know the true value of the day-to-day contentment of family life.
Logan’s brother, Daniel, collapsed and died aged 15 in 1992, when Logan was 19 and living in London. The reason was later discovered to be congenital heart disease, devastating her parents, football manager, Terry Yorath, her mother Christine, and their three remaining children, Gabby and her brother and sister.
Logan, who has supported heart health charities since gaining a national profile, and who takes a food supplement MegaRed Omega-3 Krill Oil (which scientific studies have shown supports a healthy heart), is open about the effect her brother’s loss had on her, how it’s shaped her own parenting.
““When you lose a sibling the family loses its identity in a way, its shape goes. It’s incredibly hard for everybody to come to terms with. Now I’m a parent myself I have a perspective on what my parents must have gone through,” she says.
“You think you have reached the bottom of the well of grief when you are crying tears for your brother, but I don’t even want to try to imagine how far down that grief would go if it was your child.
“I was always determined and hard-working but when Daniel died it made me think, ‘you never know when things are going to change, so you have to go out and make the most of life’. I was determined then to take every opportunity. I wanted to make my life worth something.”
She’s certainly succeeded. In the years since, she’s established herself as one of the best known faces on TV, has won the prestigious Sports Presenter of the Year award three times, and was seen most recently on BBC as a presenter during rugby’s Six Nation’s competition following a role co-hosting on ITV’s celebrity diving show, Splash with Olympic swimmer Tom Daley.
While her career path has been relatively smooth, though, becoming a mother proved a significant challenge. At one stage she feared she might never have a child after failing to conceive naturally, and it was only after IVF that she had twins. She also suffered a near-fatal haemorrhage giving birth to them - yet despite all that, she admits she still has not completely lost her desire for one more child.
“The twins are wonderful and we feel very blessed that we have them,” says Logan, 40. “But I love babies, and I still can’t fully accept that I won’t ever have any more.
“I think it’s unlikely to be honest especially at my age. I wouldn’t go through IVF again so we’re just leaving it up to fate to decide. I have a lovely life and wonderful marriage and family so I certainly won’t feel deprived if it doesn’t.”
This family seem to be involved in a dizzying round of after-school sport and social activities, with the twins “always on the go”, and Logan rejects any notion that her loss might mean she’s more protective than any other mother.
“No, not at all. I don’t want them not to have experiences or even disappointments because that’s what life’s about and that’s how you learn.
“Daniel’s memory is very much alive, though, and we talk about him in the family because he’s still part of it. I remember my mum was amazed when Lois was only about four and she was having a conversation about Daniel with her.
“Lois said: ‘it must have been the hardest thing in the world for a mum to lose her child’, which made mum cry of course. Being open about it, I think, allows them to understand a little bit more and not feel things can’t be talked about.”
Another thing Logan is open about talking about is the often taboo topic of finding a life balance when you’re a working mum.
“I absolutely love working and can’t see myself stopping and Kenny and I have a great partnership where we share everything including caring for the children equally.
But personally, I don’t think you ever do get a balance - there’s never enough time. You just have to make peace with the fact that you can only do the best you can and not be too hard on yourself.”
She’s also philosophical about competing in an industry where ageing is not seen as a selling point.
“Plenty of older people watch TV and they don’t necessarily always want to see people who are 30 years younger than them. They want to see their peers, so I definitely think there’s a place for women of a certain age in this business and for men, come to that.”