Sky News host Kay Burley says menopause is 'tricky' to handle on TV

Sky News host Kay Burley says the menopause is ‘tricky’ to handle on TV and hot flushes leave her ‘looking like she’s walked through the shower’ as she admits to feeling ’embarrassed’ by suspension over breach of Covid rules

  • Sky News host, 60, from Wigan, has requested low temperature in her studio
  • Says hot flushes leave her looking like she walked through the shower
  • Also admitted to feeling ‘very embarrassed’ about 6 month suspension from Sky for breaking Covid rules celebrating her 60th birthday in London in December

Kay Burley has revealed going through the menopause is ‘tricky’ to handle while working on TV and claimed hot flushes leave her ‘looking like she’s walked through the shower’.

The Sky News host, 60, from Wigan, has requested the temperature in the studio where she presents her breakfast show is permanently set to low. 

Speaking to The Times, the mother-of-one said: ‘The menopause is tricky. Especially for being on the telly. If I have a hot flush, the ladies need to come in during a break and try and sort my hair out. It looks like I’ve walked through the shower.’

She also admitted to feeling ‘very embarrassed’ about the incident which led to her being suspended by Sky for six months on full pay for breaking Covid rules while celebrating her 60th birthday in London in December.

Kay Burley has revealed going through the menopause is ‘tricky’ to handle while working on TV and claimed hot flushes leave her ‘looking like she’s walked through the shower’

The night saw her visit a restaurant with nine other diners – who sat at two separate tables to comply with the Rule of Six – and then use a different restaurant’s bathroom after the 11pm curfew. 

It also resulted in the suspension of two of her regular guests, Sky’s political editor Beth Rigby and reporter Inzamam Rashid, for three months. 

Kay, who was ‘not keen’ to talk about what happened, said she prefers the term ‘sanctioned’ and insisted she thought they were being Covid-compliant.

‘I was very embarrassed that I dragged… well, my colleagues found themselves in a position where they were unhappy and in the spotlight in a way that they didn’t want to be,’ she told the publication’s Times2 section. 

‘We thought that we were Covid-compliant. We weren’t. I apologised publicly. I was suitably sanctioned and we move on.’

Kay denied she took any guests back to her Kensington flat, and said she didn’t know anything about the rumour that bitter Sky colleagues tipped off the press about her celebrations. 

Kay (pictured in March 2020) also admitted to feeling ‘very embarrassed’ about the incident which led to her being suspended by Sky for six months (on full pay) for breaking Covid rules while celebrating her 60th birthday in London in December

When the birthday party was exposed by Guido, Kay revealed she was taking a break from work after an internal review carried out by Sky into her birthday celebrations found that ‘Covid guidelines were breached’.

She released a statement saying: ‘I have today agreed with Sky News to step back from my broadcasting role for a period of reflection.  It’s clear to me that we are all in the fight against Covid-19 and that we all have a duty to stick firmly by the rules.

‘It doesn’t matter that I thought I was Covid-compliant on a recent social event. The fact is I was wrong, I made a big mistake, and I am sorry.

‘Some dear friends and colleagues – some of the most talented and committed professionals in our business – have been pulled into this episode and I regret this enormously.

‘I was one of the founding presenters on Sky News. No one is prouder of our channel’s reputation, the professionals on our team and the impact we make. I very much look forward to being able to continue my 32-year career with Sky when I return.’

Beth Rigby (right) also broke lockdown rules to attend the 60th birthday party of Sky anchor Kay Burley and was suspended herself for three months before she returned earlier this year in March to her political editor role

Kay, who joined Sky’s rolling news channel in 1988, claimed she reason she ‘loves her job’ so much is the reason she’s still there after over 30 years. She previously hosted an afternoon live show but was moved to anchor the breakfast programme in 2019.

She told how she wanted to keep her brain ‘active’ during her suspension, which was why she worked at a local food bank and vaccine hub – describing it as ‘quite an experience’, though the time went ‘slowly’.

Asked whether her charity work was intended as a form of penance for her wrongdoing, Kay said she didn’t see it as such, adding: ‘If people want to interpret it as that, then that’s up to them. I wanted to keep my brain busy.’ 

She added that she sees herself as ‘incredibly privileged’ to be in the situation she is, having come from a ‘poor’ background, and is keen to help other people if she can.

‘We had free school meals. We didn’t have very much money. We lived in a council house in Wigan,’ she told The Times. 

‘I’ve been lucky to be able to pull myself up and live a very comfortable lifestyle now and I feel that, you know, it’s my job to send the elevator back down, if I can.’  

Kay Burley: The no-nonsense news viper who ‘hated being married’, got in a punch-up outside Naomi Campbell’s trial and was branded ‘a bit dim’ live on TV

By Amie Gordon for MailOnline

Kay Burley is the no-nonsense news viper who relishes holding MPs to account – but has not been without her own share of controversy in a broadcast career spanning more than three decades. 

The ambitious anchor has risen up through the ranks of the broadcasting world and boasts ‘more hours of live TV than anyone else’, but regularly divides opinion with her forthright attacks on politicians.  

The 60-year-old seldom talks about her personal life though did once admit she had ‘two successful marriages’ – but ‘hated being married’.   

From left: Tony Blackburn, Peter Marshall, Derek Jameson, Andrew Neil, Alastair Yates, Rupert Murdoch, Penny Smith, Bob Friends, Kay Burley during the launch of Sky TV on February 5, 1989

By her early 20s, Miss Burley had already divorced her first husband, Steve Burley, whom she met aged 17, on a local newspaper in Wigan, and married when she was 19. 

She moved to Sky when she was 28 and, three years later, met her second husband, football agent Steve Kutner. 

By the age of 32 she was pregnant with their son, Alexander, but the pair split when he was one. 

The mother and son remain close and in her Twitter bio she describes herself as, ‘Sky News founder member. Animal lover. Mountain climber. Impossibly proud mum.’ 

She had a relationship with former Political Editor of The Sun newspaper, George Pascoe-Watson for five-and-a-half years but they separated shortly after he left newspapers for a job in PR in 2009. 

In December 2017 Miss Burley was joined at Piers Morgan’s birthday bash by her date for the night, British Airways pilot Jonny Knowlson, with whom she was spotted enjoying a night out at the Tate Modern two months earlier.

In 2008, Miss Burley clashed with a photographer during the scrum outside a London court ahead of a case involving Naomi Campbell

Jonny, who at the age of 30 was 27 years Kay’s junior, met the newsreader when she employed the help of four ‘strong, capable’ British Airways pilots to help her overcome her fear of flying earlier that year.  

In 2011 Miss Burley turned her hand to writing fiction, publishing her debut novel First Ladies; ‘ an irresistible cross between The Thick Of It and Jilly Cooper’ in which ‘the glamorous worlds of glossy magazines, TV and politics are laid bare’. 

In an article for the Daily Mail last year, Burley said it was ‘nonsense that wrinkles are a better look for a mature woman’ as she spoke about how she’d treated herMiss self to a facelift for her 50th birthday. 

She admitted to ‘dabbling’ with Botox and fillers, as well as having a lower facelift, brow lift and bags removed from under her eyes. 

The fracas happened as they waited for supermodel Naomi Campbell to arrive to face charges for assaulting airport police

She added: ‘Women, especially those in the public eye, are always more harshly judged than their male counterparts.’

The 59-year-old was born to parents Kath and Frank in Wigan, Lancashire at the start of the Swinging Sixties and has often praised her late parents for giving her an upbringing ‘full of love.’ 

She said the family had no money but her parents were ‘amazing.’ 

Miss Burley began her journalism career at the Lancashire Evening Post and Chronicle, aged 17 before moving into broadcast as a reporter on Granada Reports in 1981 as a researcher for Richard Madeley and Judy Finnigan. 

By 1985 she’d been offered a reporting job at TV-am before moving to Rupert Murdoch’s Sky in 1988 where she was at the helm of the fledgling Sky News. 

Kay Burley presents to camera outside the Lindo Wing of St Mary’s Hospital on July 22, 2013 ahead of the birth of Prince George 

Miss Burley quickly moved up the ranks to become its leading reporter, breaking the news of Princess Diana’s death in 1997 and was live on air in 2001 when the Twin Towers in New York were attacked.

The 9/11 coverage earned her a Bafta, which she ‘keeps in the loo’. 

She was handed a plum new gig in September 2018 when she was given her own show in her name, which 12 months later moved to the prime time morning slot and was rebranded Kay Burley @ Breakfast. 

The agenda-setting gig  – set up at the crux of Britain’s Brexit negotiations and the general election – is filmed live in Westminster and sees Miss Burley joined by a host of politicians and critics.  

Last year Miss Burley admitted she ‘found it difficult to resist’ being ‘sucked in by the aura’ and charisma of political figureheads including Boris Johnson, Bill Clinton and Tony Blair. 

But sitting in the hotseat at Sky has led to Miss Burley accused of her fair share of controversies. 

Then-Prime Minister David Cameron meets Miss Burley during a reception to celebrate the achievements of women in the media at 10 Downing St on May 16, 2013 

In 2008, Miss Burley clashed with a photographer during the scrum outside a London court as they waited for supermodel Naomi Campbell to arrive to face charges for assaulting airport police.

The newscaster was apparently hit in the cheek by a camera – and was then seen with her hand around a photographer’s throat. 

The bust-up happened as 100 journalists fought to get a view of the model at Uxbridge Magistrates Court in North-West London.

There were suggestions that the photographer, Kirsty Wigglesworth from the Associated Press agency, had bumped into Miss Burley.

The same year, Miss Burley was deluged with criticism when she asked the wife of Suffolk serial killer Steve Wright, ‘Do you think if you’d had a better sex life he wouldn’t have done this?’ 

Miss Burley admitted she ‘found it difficult to resist’ being ‘sucked in by the aura’ and charisma of political figureheads including Bill Clinton, Tony Blair and Boris Johnson (pictured together here in 2019)

In 2010, she had to apologise for joking that Catholic US Vice President Joe Biden, who had ashes on his forehead to mark Ash Wednesday, had a ‘bruise’ that he’d picked up from ‘walking into a door’.

Labour MP Chris Bryant later told her, ‘You seem to be a bit dim, if you don’t mind me saying.’

Miss Burley hit back: ‘That’s the first time anyone’s said on TV that I’m dim and it was water off a duck’s back. There’s a photo of Chris Bryant on the internet in his underpants that he took for a gay website. One can judge who’s the most dim.’ 

In September 2019, she had an awkward stand-off with Brexit Party MEP Lucy Harris when she was accused of not being impartial and of having voted Remain. The conversation turned heated when Miss Burley accused Ms Harris of being over-the-top by saying Remainers wanted 15 referendums until they got the result they wanted.

Just two months later, Miss Burley provoked a slew of Ofcom complaints after she was accused of a ‘cheap stunt’ for empty-chairing Tory chairman James Cleverly on her show.

In 2011 Burley turned her hand to writing fiction, publishing her debut novel First Ladies; ‘ an irresistible cross between The Thick Of It and Jilly Cooper’ in which ‘the glamorous worlds of glossy magazines, TV and politics are laid bare’

Miss Burley showed an empty chair and claimed that Mr Cleverly had refused to appear – but he insisted he had not agreed an interview with her and was in the process of another interview.

The presenter repeatedly showed the empty chair and reeled off a series of questions which she had intended to ask him, sparking a raft of complaints from viewers. 

Speaking to The Times, she said they’ve since ‘kissed and made up’ after meeting for lunch to smooth things over.

At the height of the pandemic, Miss Burley tore into cabinet minister Michael Gove after he appeared on Sky News to defend Dominic Cummings for breaking coronavirus restrictions. 

She added: ‘What people see here is that there’s one rule for you… and another rule for them.’

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