Tanya Bardsley says RHOC has been explosive as she opens up on feud with Dawn Ward

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Tanya Bardsley has had her hands full the last few months. The Real Housewives of Cheshire star has been homeschooling her three boys Rocco, 11, Renz, seven, and four-year-old Ralphi, who in our chat she compares to “wild animals”. Now, finally getting a break from being a full-time mum, Tanya is back for the new series of the show and jokes, “It’s so good to be away from my kids!”

The 39-year-old is married to Burnley FC striker Phil Bardsley, 35, and the couple live in a five-bedroom home in Cheshire with their boys and Gabriella, her 18-year-old daughter from a previous relationship.

Tanya comes from humble beginnings and hasn’t always led the glamorous life she has now. She admits she was a “single mum with no money” before she met Phil.

“When I was crying because I couldn’t afford to buy Gabriella some birthday presents, I wish I could have told her [younger self], ‘Don’t worry, life’s going to get better’,” she says.

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And taking the positives from her experiences, the WAG reveals she’d love to tour the country and inspire other single mums with motivational talks – when restrictions allow.

Here, Tanya spills to OK! about life at home and why it’s one rule for her and another for her husband when it comes to the possibility of signing up for Strictly Come Dancing …

Hi Tanya. Did you enjoy being at home with the family over lockdown?

Me and Phil didn’t argue once. We had a lovely time. We only really argue when he’s stressed at work, or I’m stressed at work and we didn’t have any of that, so we had the best time ever. We had a couple of the kids’ birthdays and we played pass-the-parcel, musical bumps and musical statues.

Were you excited to have date nights again when restrictions were lifted?

I just like going out for dinner and not having the washing-up to do. Even with takeaways you’ve got to get rid of the boxes… My perfect night is me and Phil going for a Chinese while the kids are at my mum’s.

You said you couldn’t have Botox during lockdown. Have you had any since?

That was the first thing I did. As soon as I could get Botox I was straight in – and my nails as well.

Do you want more cosmetic surgery?

I’m happy at the moment. Well, a woman’s never happy, is she? But I’m learning to love myself and not criticise myself.

You’ve admitted to having been a single mum with no money. Does that make you more appreciative of the life you have now?

Yeah, I will never, ever forget that and I’m just more empathetic to other people. Single mums get in touch and it’s lovely, but heartbreaking as you want to cuddle them and tell them it’s going to be all right. I also have lots of success stories from people who have read my book [Just A Girl Who Got It All] and say their life has changed, which is just lovely.

How has the show changed your life?

I was married to a footballer, anyway, so it was always this sort of life. But when I go on a night out, I get collared and pinned up on the wall by people going, “We love you Tanya!”

Is it always such a positive reaction?

I always get a good reaction, which I’m so grateful for, otherwise I’d cry. I’ve experienced trolling once, but there are so many things you can do – edit the bad comments and stuff like that. I had one person say when I was pregnant that they hoped Ralphi died. It was pretty difficult and it took me aback, but you have to think that it’s their problem, not yours. They’re actually disgusting and need help.

Did you respond?

I didn’t to that one. I know most of them do it because they want a little bit of attention, so the worst thing you can do is bite back.

Have you ever been approached to do a show like Strictly?

No, I’ve not, but I’d love to in the future when my boys get a little bit bigger. They’re full-on at the moment with their football.

Which would you most like to do?

I like dancing. Something like Dancing On Ice scares me, though, because it’s just knives on boots. I’m the most accident-prone person in the world, so I’d definitely chop my own nose off with my skate. I’d love to do the jungle, even though I get scared if I hear a noise in the garden.

You’re not worried about the Strictly curse?

I’d do it, but I wouldn’t let my husband do it. I’m so jealous – so there’s not a chance I’d let him.

What’s on your bucket list?

I want to do a tour for single mums, but Covid has mucked everything up. I’m also 40 next year and have told Phil I want to go to Hawaii. When I turned 30 it bothered me, but with 40 I just think, “F**k it!” I can’t wait to be in a care home and my kids have to wipe my bum…

Are you happy to be back filming again?

It’s so good to be away from my kids! They’re normal little boys and when we couldn’t go to the park or anything, it was hard. Little boys are like wild animals and need to run around.

What’s in store this series?

We all came in saying, “Ah, I’m so glad, we’re all so grateful for each other,” then at the first dinner party – boom! [Laughs] We also have a new housewife, Lystra Adams. I absolutely love her. No matter what I say about her, it won’t sum it up. She walks into a room and she fills it.

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You previously said you’d reached out to co-star Dawn Ward in a bid to bury the hatchet. How are things between you now?

I said that – then we had the reunion and it all blew up. Now I’ve decided she has her life, I have mine and let’s just stop arguing and not see each other. With Covid, that’s actually going really well, as I’ve not seen her yet.

Can you rekindle your friendship?

I think we’re a bit past it, but you never know.

Hanna Kinsella revealed to us that she’s pregnant. What advice have you given her?

I said stick to one and don’t eat for two, otherwise you’ll be stuck with it. It’s so exciting. I can’t wait to see a little baby. We needed good news and that was the best ever.

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